CREATING A MONSTER
FROM THE MINDS OF MOPAR® (AND THE PRODUCT DESIGN OFFICE)
What do you get when you Frankenstein a 1971 Challenger with a collection of Mopar® parts, and Viper parts, then sprinkle in the minds of FCA’s Product Design Office (PDO) that includes Mopar engineers? Well, for the 2016 SEMA Show, you get the one-off ’71 Dodge Challenger “Shakedown.”
Shakedown is a unique unibody converted to a body-on-frame project car that was designed to boast Mopar parts like the 485 hp 392 Mopar Crate Motor (68303090AA), Wiring Harness and Engine Control System (77072454), and do it in a way that’s both unapologetic and unforgettable.
Shakedown was all that and more at SEMA in Las Vegas. And the ongoing Internet frenzy proves the folks at PDO and Mopar have done it once again.
“Shakedown is a cross between a modern vehicle and a historic vehicle; an older car getting a new engine transplant,” says Nicho Vardis, the Mopar Motorsports Design Manager at PDO. You may recall Vardis’ recent work, aptly referred to as Challenger SRT® Hellcat.
But, this time around, instead of setting the world on its pointed ear with the most horsepower in the land, the Shakedown project was designed to show performance enthusiasts the easy way to drop a crate motor into a project car, with factory parts.
“The Mopar wiring harness, the PCM and the PDC, those are the items critical to allowing the engine to operate properly in a historic vehicle conversion,” Vardis explained. “These parts are straight from the Mopar catalog, so that’s kind of the key. The 392 engine is a service engine from Mopar.”
Shakedown, under its custom 2-part urethane satin black finish, has a bunch of Mopar and Viper parts under the hood and in the cockpit. A Viper 6-speed manual transmission was mated to the 392, and a Viper steering wheel, Viper seats (with custom wrapping) and highlight stitching were added for driving pleasure.
And this baby is a driver, not some trailer queen.
The suspension is beefed up with coil-over Fox shocks that include remote reservoirs. Plus, fully adjustable ride height for more modern handling characteristics. But wait, there’s more! Vardis went to the SRT Hellcat parts bin and added SRT Hellcat Brembo® brakes, with 6-piston calipers in front and 4-piston calipers in the rear.
“We deleted the rear seats to save some weight, and added a half roll cage and a fuel cell in the trunk,” says Vardis. “We don’t expect to track the car but it definitely could handle it. It’s going to get driven a lot before it ultimately goes on the show circuit.”
Inside are special “Shakedown” medallions, carbon fiber accents in the doors, console and instrument panel, Mopar black-face gauges and a SRT Hellcat shifter. It’s an amazing combination of old and new.
“Shakedown is a PDO design in collaboration with Mopar,” Vardis explained. “PDO worked on the design but it’s Mopar all the way. Through and through, it is the expression of the Mopar brand.”