Sunday, August 24, 2014

September 2014 Montreal Area Classic Car Events

I’m ahead of schedule for once. You can find next month’s shows under the link at the top right, or just click HERE. Still time to get in a few shows before the season’s done for another year.

Friday, August 22, 2014

100 Years of Dodge, Part Two

For those of you who’d like more details, I’ve pasted this Dodge brand chronology directly out of a press release from Chrysler. It’s all © Copyright 2014 Chrysler Group LLC, including the photos. I haven’t added, deleted or edited anything.

The press room at the Dodge Main plant circa 1918.
Courtesy and copyright Chrysler Group LLC
John Francis Dodge is born on October 25th in Niles, Michigan.

Horace Elgin Dodge is born on May 17th in Niles, Michigan.

Horace Dodge receives Patent #567,851 for a dirt-resistant bicycle bearing. In typical fashion, he shares credit with John.

Production starts for the Evans & Dodge Bicycle Company in Windsor, Canada.

The Dodges sell their interest in the bicycle business and start what would be the largest machine shop in Detroit.

The Dodge Brothers plant featured the first ever on-site
automotive test track of any vehicle manufacturer. All of the
new Dodge Brothers vehicles were driven on the track to
ensure quality. Circa 1920.
Courtesy and copyright Chrysler Group LLC
The Dodges become a major supplier of engines, transmissions and axles to the new automobile industry. Oldsmobile and Northern were major customers.

Dodge gave up all other business, borrowed $75,000 for tooling and created the production drawings and all mechanical parts for the new Ford Motor Company. Starts shipping the first of 650 Ford cars. Dodge employs its entire shop - 135 workers; Ford employs only 12. The Dodge brothers accept a 10 percent share of the new Ford Motor Company stock for their risk.

Dodge Main plant was built to supply Ford with engines and transmissions. The property will eventually grow to 78 acres and have more than 5,140,000 feet of manufacturing and office space.

Dodge gave up all Ford business to introduce its own car - the first with an all-steel body. The first Dodge vehicle leaves the plant on Nov. 14, 1914. By the end of the year, 249 Dodge vehicles are built.

Dodge ranks as America's third best-selling automaker. The word "dependability" is first used in Dodge advertising. Dodge offers a "winter car" with a removable hardtop and snap-on side glass.

Dodge supplies 150 cars to the United States Army. General John Pershing uses these Dodge vehicles to catch Mexican bandit Pancho Villa. Lt. George Patton Jr. uses a Dodge vehicle in the first mechanized cavalry charge in U.S. history with three cars and 15 soldiers. Dodge introduces an all-new multi-disc clutch.

Dodge enters the commercial truck field, offering both civilian and military trucks built on a passenger car chassis. The wheelbase on passenger cars is stretched from 110 to 114 inches. Dodge is fourth in U.S. sales.

Calendar year production is just over 60,000 units. Dodge produces a 155 mm gun recoil system for the Allied armies during WWI.

1919 Dodge Four-Door Sedan
Courtesy and copyright Chrysler Group LLC
Dodge builds its 400,000th vehicle with a yearly total of 104,000 units. Dodge introduces a four-door enclosed sedan.

Both Dodge Brothers die of influenza - John on January 14th and Horace on December 20th. Dodge is the second best-selling car in America.

Dodge enters into an agreement with the Graham Brothers to build trucks for the Dodge dealer network. Dodge is #2 in U.S. sales with more than 81,000 units sold.

The company expands its production capacity, achieving a rate of 600 cars per day. Vehicles feature a refreshed style with a taller radiator, but an overall lower vehicle. Introduction of Budd all-steel disc wheels.

Dodge introduces the first all-steel Business Coupe. Dodge slips from third to sixth in sales.

The Dodge Brothers Motor Car Company opens its first Canadian plant in Walkersville, Ontario. The wheelbase is lengthened from 114 to 116 inches. A new semi-elliptical spring is introduced. After a major plant expansion, the Dodge Brothers Company now employs 20,000 people and produces 1,000 cars a day. Dodge recaptures third place in U.S. sales.

Calendar year production breaks 200,000 for the first time. A consortium of New York bankers buys the company from the Dodge brothers' widows for $146 million. The one-millionth Dodge is produced.

All Dodge models now have the standardized SAE H-pattern shifting. A two-unit, six-volt electrical system is introduced. Dodge is ranked fourth in U.S. sales.

A new five-main bearing crankshaft is introduced. Dodge is now seventh in U.S. sales.

Chrysler Corporation acquires the Dodge Brothers Company for $170 million on July 30, 1928. For the first time, Dodge offers a six-cylinder engine. Models are offered in three wheelbases - 110-inch, 112-inch and 116-inch.

Dodge introduces the first downdraft carburetor to the automotive industry. Dodge sells 124,557 vehicles, which is good for seventh in U.S. sales.

Dodge begins production of an eight-cylinder engine. Model year production is 90,755. First year that a factory radio is offered.

1931 Dodge Roadster
Courtesy and copyright Chrysler Group LLC
Model year production is 53,264. Factory rust-proof bodies, valve seat inserts and automatic spark control are the big mechanical improvements. This was the last year a roadster body would be offered until 1949.

"Floating Power" engine suspension is introduced. Model year production is 27,555.

A new silent helical gear transmission is introduced. Models feature a new raked radiator and a longer hood. Model year production is 106,103.

An all-new redesigned Dodge model line is considered to be the most attractive of any American manufacturer. The industry-first automatic over-drive transmission is introduced in Dodge vehicles. Independent front suspension is a new feature on Dodge vehicles. The eight-cylinder engine is dropped. Dodge won't have another until 1953. Model year production is 95,011.

Dodge builds its 3 millionth vehicle. Model year production is 158,999.

Model year production is 263,647. All-steel roof is introduced.

1937 Dodge D5 7-Passenger Sedan
Courtesy and copyright Chrysler Group LLC
Dodge introduces fully insulated rubber body mounts - an industry first. Introduced safety padding on the back of seats. Model year production is 295,047.

Model year production is 114,529. The new Dodge Truck Plant opens in Warren, Michigan. The last convertible sedan is produced. This is the last year that the Dodge Brothers logo was used on Dodge vehicles.

The 25th Anniversary models from Dodge featured an all-new fastback styling with an integrated trunk, headlights built into the fenders and a V-type windshield. These models are called Luxury Liners. Front suspension with coil springs is introduced. Model year production is 179,300.

Sealed beam headlamps are introduced. Two-tone paint is available for the first time. Model-year production is 195,505.

Fluid drive and safety rim wheels are introduced. Model year production is 236,999.

1942 Dodge WC Weapons Carriers awaiting shipment at the
Dodge Truck Plant in Warren, Michigan, during World War II.
Courtesy and copyright Chrysler Group LLC
A new six-cylinder engine is introduced with higher compression and more torque. Government orders automakers to stop production of passenger cars in February of 1942 to focus on the war effort.

At the Dodge Main plant, 2,098 radar units and 5,500 Sperry Gyro compasses are built between 1943 and 1944.

The Dodge Chicago plant builds 18,413 B-29 engines during the war.

The first post-war Dodge's are introduced in the fall of 1945 as 1946 models. These vehicles are basically refreshed 1942 models.

The 5 millionth Dodge is produced. Models are called the Custom and Deluxe. Model-year production is 156,148.

Dodge is the nation's 5th best-selling vehicle, and has 6.52 percent of the market.

This is the last year for the pre-war styled Dodges. A new Dodge assembly plant opens in San Leandro, California. Dodge is the sixth best-selling car in the U.S.

The single bench Wayfarer Roadster is introduced. This would be the last roadster in the North American market. This has snap-in Plexiglas windows. The Meadowbrook and Coronet are introduced to replace the Deluxe and Custom. Model-year production hits 260,000.

1951 Dodge Wayfarer 2-Door Coupe
Courtesy and copyright Chrysler Group LLC
The first hardtop coupe for Dodge - the Diplomat - is introduced. The Wayfarer gets roll up windows. The first Dodge to drive in a NASCAR race is entered in a race in Canfield, Ohio. Model-year production hits 350,000 units.

Dodge introduces its first all-steel wagon. The final Wayfarer Roadster is produced. Model-year production is 292,000.

1952 Dodge Pickup
Courtesy and copyright Chrysler Group LLC
The "Red Ram" HEMI® is introduced late in the year. This is the first V-8 in a Dodge. Models continue to be the Wayfarer, Coronet and Meadowbrook. Model-year production is 206,000.

The Red Ram HEMI engine provides 140 horsepower to the totally redesigned Dodge line. A Dodge V-8 powered car breaks 196 AAA stock-car records at Bonneville Salt Flats. Dodge receives the first Virgil Exner designs. The Wayfarer line is dropped. Lee Petty gives Dodge its first NASCAR victory in a race in Palm Springs, Florida.

A Dodge convertible paces the Indianapolis 500. 701 replicas of this car are produced. Dodge cars finish in five of the top six places in the medium stock class of the Carrera Pan-American. The PowerFlite automatic transmission is introduced. The Dodge Firearrow Roadster concept car is introduced. Model-year production is 150,930. A Dodge wins the Mobile Economy Run. The Royal model is introduced.

The Dodge LaFemme coupe is introduced. This pink and white car is marketed toward women, and includes makeup, an umbrella and a rain hat. A high-end Custom Royal series is added. Model-year production is 273,286. A Super Red Ram HEMI is introduced. This engine produces 18 horsepower more than the standard red Ram.

An under-dash record player is available. The "Hi-Way Hi-Fi" is the first in-car personal entertainment system. Three-tone paint is now available. An industry-first, push-button transmission is offered. The D-500 performance package is now available. This features a HEMI engine, upgraded brakes and a performance suspension. Model-year production is 233,686. Last year for the LaFemme.

Large tail fins are now major features on all Dodge models. Model-year production is 281,359. Torsion-bar front suspension introduced, called "Torsion-Aire." The Dodge Red Ram HEMI is now 310 horsepower.

Last year for the first-generation HEMI in a Dodge. Electronic fuel injection is offered on a limited number of Dodge vehicles. All Dodge vehicles ride on a 122-inch wheelbase. Model-year production is 133,953. Dodge is 10th in sales.

Last year for the L-Head six-cylinder engine. Model line continues with the Royal, Custom Royal and Coronet. Swivel bucket seats are now an option. Model-year production is 151,851.

The slant six replaces the long-lived L-head six-cylinder engine. The Dodge Dart is introduced. The first version of the Dart is a mid-size model. Unibody is introduced on all Dodge vehicles.

Dodge introduces the Lancer compact. The Lancer is broken up into the 170 and 770 series. The lineup also includes the Dart Seneca, Pioneer, Phoenix and the Matador and Polara models. The 413 c.i.d. engine is now available. A performance version is used by drag race teams, including the Ramchargers. The Dodge FliteWing concept car is introduced.

The lineup is now the Dart, Dart 330, Dart 440, Polara 500, Custom 880, Lancer 170 and Lancer 770 models. Four NHRA records are broken by Dodge.

1963 Dodge Polara 2-Door
Courtesy and copyright Chrysler Group LLC
The Wedge Head 426 V-8 is introduced. The engine dominates the drag strip. The Dart becomes a compact car. It replaces the Lancer. The Dart is available in the 170, 270 and GT series. Other available models are the 330, 440, Polara, Polara 500, 880 and Custom 880. Dodge begins to offer a 5-year/50,000-mile warranty.

The 426 HEMI track and drag engines become available to race teams, but not for street use. Dodge celebrates its 50th anniversary. The Dart gets a new compact 273 c.i.d. V-8. The Dodge Charger concept car debuts.

The Coronet name returns to the Dodge lineup in a mid-size sedan. The Monaco is introduced as a sport/luxury hardtop coupe. The concept car Charger II is introduced. Model-year production is 550,795.

1966 Dodge Charger
Courtesy and copyright Chrysler Group LLC
The "Street HEMI" first appears in the mid-size Dodge cars. The Charger is introduced. This fastback style will only be featured in 1966 and 1967. Dodge begins the "Dodge Rebellion" performance ad campaign. The 440 c.i.d. engine is now available.

The Dodge Dart gets a new larger Unibody with a 383 c.i.d. V-8. The model lineup is now the Dart, Dart 270, Dart GT, Coronet deluxe, Coronet 440, Coronet 500, Coronet R/T, Charger, Polara and Monaco. The Dodge Deora concept, based on an A100 pickup, is introduced.

An all-new Charger is debuted, featuring iconic "Coke-bottle" styling. The Dart gets the GTS package with either a 340 or a 383 V-8. The Super Bee is added to the Coronet lineup. The model lineup is the same with the exception of the new Charger R/T and the Coronet Super Bee. The Scat Pack is introduced. 75 HEMI Darts are built for Dodge by Hurst for NHRA competition. The Daroo I and Daroo II concepts debut, as does the Charger III.

The Charger 500 is introduced with a flush front grille and a more aerodynamic rear window. The Charger Daytona is introduced with a nose cone and a large rear spoiler. This vehicle is intended for NASCAR; only 500 were produced. The Dart Swinger replaces the Dart GTS. 440 c.i.d. engines are now available with three, two barrel carburetors. Called a "Six-Pack," it was initially only available on the Super Bee. Dodge wins 22 NASCAR Grand National races.

1970 Dodge Super Bee
Courtesy and copyright Chrysler Group LLC
The Dodge Challenger debuts. A special model, the T/A is built to compete with the Mustang and Camaro in the Trans Am racing circuit. Final year of the 1968-1970 body style Charger. Convertibles are dropped from the Polara and Coronet lines. Model-year production is 503,392. The Dart Swinger 340 is a very popular model.
Buddy Baker drives a Dodge Charger Daytona to 200.447 mph. This is the first car to break 200 mph on a closed course.

A Dodge Challenger convertible paces the Indianapolis 500. Dodge mid-size models are completely redesigned. Last year for the Charger R/T and Super Bee performance models. The Dodge Diamante concept is introduced. Final year of the Challenger Shaker.

The 426 HEMI is no longer available on Dodge models. The Dart Demon is now available. An electronic ignition is offered. Dodge dealers begin selling the Mitsubishi-built Colt.

The Dart Demon is renamed the Dart Sport. New energy-absorbing bumpers are available on all Dodge models. Model-year production is 675,161.

All full-size Dodge vehicles are now named Monaco. This is the last year for the Challenger. Richard Petty wins the Daytona 500 in a Charger. Dodge celebrates its 60th anniversary.

The redesigned Charger SE is built in Canada.

The compact Aspen is introduced. The car is advertised "The family car of the future." The last Darts are produced. Economy minded "Dart Lites" are produced for one year.

The Diplomat is introduced. The Coronet is dropped. The Monaco name is now used on mid-size cars; full-size models are badged Royal Monaco. T-Bar roofs are available on the Aspen.

The Dodge Omni is introduced. The vehicle is the first transverse-mounted front-wheel-drive vehicle available in North America. The Charger XE is introduced. It is a sportier model than the Charger SE, which is still offered. This is the last year for the 440 and 400 V-8. The Royal Monaco is dropped after only one year. This is the last of the C Body full-size models.

The hatchback Omni O-24 is introduced. The St. Regis is introduced. This is a new mid-sized model. The Charger is dropped, but the Magnum XE is still produced.

The Mirada replaces the Magnum. The DeTomaso package is available on the O-24. Last year for the Aspen. This is the last year for the 360 V-8. A new 5-year/50,000 warranty is offered.

The Dodge Aries K-car - an all-new vehicle that would prop up Chrysler Corporation's sales for several years - is introduced. This is the last year for the St. Regis. The 318 V-8 is the largest engine in the lineup.

The mid-year introduction of the Dodge 400 convertible marks the first time since 1976 that a ragtop was offered by a domestic manufacturer. The Dodge 400 convertible is based on a stretched K platform. The Charger returns, based on the O-24 hatchback. Based on the O-24, the Rampage mini pickup is introduced.

The Dodge Shelby Charger is introduced. This marks the return of a performance car to the Dodge lineup. The 600 is introduced. It is based on a stretched 600. The last "Slant Six" engines are produced.

The revolutionary Dodge Caravan minivan - dubbed the "Magic Wagon" - is introduced. The Daytona is introduced and features a turbocharged 2.2-liter engine with 142 horsepower on the Turbo Z. A 600 convertible is now available. The 318 V-8 is the only engine available in the Diplomat.

The H-Body Lancer is introduced as a five-door hatchback with an available 2.2-liter Turbo. This replaces the 600. The Aries receives a facelift with more aerodynamic fascias.

This is the last year for a Dodge convertible for several years. Carroll Shelby produces a shockingly fast Shelby GLH-S based upon the Omni with a 175 horsepower 2.2-liter Turbo.

The Dodge Shadow is introduced as a subcompact, available as a three-door and five-door hatchback. The Omni is now only available in the "America" package. This is a super-low-priced package that costs only $5,499. The Daytona is restyled with pop-up headlamps and a power 12-way 'enthusiast' seat with inflatable lumbar and thigh support. The Shelby Z model is introduced, featuring a new Turbo II intercooled 2.2L turbocharged engine delivering 174 horsepower. Carroll Shelby produces a very limited-edition Shelby Charger GLHS and Shelby Lancer, with a 175 horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder.

The Dynasty is introduced and becomes the company's best seller, seating up to six with available V-6 power. The last Aries station wagons are available. A long wheelbase Caravan is introduced as the Grand Caravan. A new Lancer Shelby is introduced with a Turbo II engine - producing 174 horsepower and 0-60 in 7.2 seconds.

Dodge Viper concept car
Courtesy and copyright Chrysler Group LLC
Dodge celebrates its 75th Anniversary. The Dodge Viper Concept debuts at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The mid-size Spirit is introduced with seating for up to six and offering a choice of a 2.5-liter four-cylinder, 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder or V-6 power. The Daytona is restyled with new two-tone ground effects and 16-inch aluminum wheels on Shelby and C/S models. The 2.5-liter turbo with counter-rotating balance shafts and 150 horsepower and 180 lb.-ft. torque, replaces the 2.2-liter Turbo I. The Shadow receives a styling update with flush-mounted headlights and two-tone ground effects on ES models. The Shadow also serves as the basis for the 175 horsepower Shelby CSX. This is the last year for the Diplomat and the Lancer.

The Daytona receives a minor styling update on the exterior with monochromatic ground effects and an all-new interior. Mid-year, IROC replaces the Shelby, and the Turbo II is replaced with the Turbo IV, offering a new Variable Nozzle Turbo (VNT), dramatically reducing turbo lag. This engine is only offered in limited quantities in the Daytona Shelby and Shadow ES. A 3.0-liter V-6 becomes available in the Daytona, mated to either a five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic. Last year for the Aries. Industry-first driver-side airbags are standard on all Dodge vehicles. Dodge begins sponsorship of the International Race of Champions (IROC). All drivers compete in identical Dodge Daytonas.

A pre-production Dodge Viper paces the Indianapolis 500. The Shadow is now offered in a convertible version. The Spirit R/T is introduced with the new 2.2-liter 224-horsepower Turbo III, featuring a 16-valve DOHC intercooled turbo with a Lotus Head, mated to a five-speed Getrag for 0-60 mph times in 5.8 seconds. All-wheel-drive Caravans are now available as part of the second-generation AS models. The Dodge Neon concept debuts. The Mitsubishi-based Stealth is first offered, featuring a 164 horsepower V-6, 222 horsepower 24-valve V-6 or a 300-horsepower twin-turbo V-6 with all-wheel-drive.

1992 Dodge Daytona IROC
Courtesy and copyright Chrysler Group LLC
The Dodge Viper is now for sale to the general public, almost identical in design as the concept vehicle, with an 8.0-liter V-10 with 400 horsepower and a six-speed manual transmission. The Daytona is restyled with new exposed flush-mounted headlamps and the introduction of the IROC R/T, featuring the 2.2-liter turbocharged and Intercooled Turbo III 224 horsepower engine from the Spirit R/T. This is the final year that this engine and the Daytona IROC R/T and Spirit R/T are available. The Dodge Caravan and Grand Caravan feature an integrated child safety seat - a segment first. The Dodge Shadow introduces a new 3.0-liter V-6 option.

The Dodge Intrepid is introduced along with the Chrysler Concorde and Eagle Vision. The all-new LH platform vehicles with their "cab forward" shape represent a new era in vehicle design.  The Intrepid is available with dual airbags, two V-6 engines, including a 214 horsepower 3.5-liter 24-valve, SOHC and traction control.
The high-performance Spirit R/T is dropped. Last year that the Dynasty is available. The Dodge Viper GTS concept is introduced along with the Venom concept.

Traction control is standard on the Intrepid. The Intrepid offers a flex-fuel V-6 that can run on a mix of gasoline and methanol. Last full year for the Shadow. It will be built until mid-year 1995. The Shadow convertible is dropped. 10th Anniversary of the Caravan.

The Neon is introduced, available as a two-door or four-door with a standard 2.0-liter, 132 horsepower engine. The Dodge Stratus brings the "cab-forward" design to the mid-size class. The Dodge Avenger coupe, built off a Mitsubishi platform, is introduced to replace the Daytona.

The Dodge Viper GTS Coupe is available for sale late in the year with an 8.0-liter V-10, 450 horsepower engine. The new Dodge Viper GTS Coupe paces the Indy 500.
The Dodge Grand Caravan is all-new and features segment-first dual-sliding doors.

A Dodge Stratus wins the SuperTouring Car Championship. The Dodge Copperhead and Sidewinder concepts are introduced.

The Dodge Intrepid is redesigned, with even more dramatic style and a standard 2.7-liter V-6, 200 horsepower engine. The Dodge Durango is introduced, bringing V-8 power and seven-passenger seating to the mid-size utility segment. A new Dodge Neon R/T is introduced for SCCA racing, featuring a 2.0-liter, 150 horsepower engine. The Dodge Viper gets standard dual airbags. Dodge introduces the Durango R/T model with a 5.9-liter V-8 engine.

Dodge introduces the Power Wagon and Charger concepts. 15th Anniversary of the Caravan.

The Maxx Cab and Power Box concepts are introduced. An all-new Neon is introduced, available now only as a four-door with 132 horsepower. A high-performance version with a supercharged four-cylinder is also shown as a concept vehicle.

The Super 8 concept debuts. An all-new Dodge Stratus Sedan is introduced, with an available 2.7-liter V-6, 200-horsepower engine. An all-new Stratus coupe, replacing the Avenger coupe, is introduced, still based on a Mitsubishi platform. An R/T version of the Neon is launched with a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder SOHC, 150-horsepower engine. A new RS Caravan and Grand Caravan are introduced, featuring new styling, a removable center console and power up-and-down liftgate.

The Razor and M80 concepts are introduced. The new 2002 Dodge Ram 1500 is introduced.

A big year for Dodge concepts. The Dodge Magnum, Kahuna and Avenger concept cars are all introduced, as well as the Tomahawk, which is a Viper V-10 engine-powered motorcycle. A new Viper is launched as a convertible, featuring a larger and more powerful 8.3-liter V-10 with 500 horsepower. Neon receives a freshening, with a more prominent cross-hair grille design. The SRT-4 is launched, featuring a 2.4-liter, 215 horsepower Intercooled Turbo. The Stratus coupe receives a minor freshening.

The Slingshot concept is introduced. The SRT-4 receives a horsepower bump to 230 horsepower and the addition of a limited-slip differential. The second-generation Durango is introduced on a unique platform, now offering HEMI V-8 power for the first time. The Stratus Sedan receives a minor freshening. 20th Anniversary of the Caravan.

Gen III Viper SRT-10 coupe is revealed in Detroit. Caliber concept unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show. Dodge Magnum is introduced, bringing back rear-wheel-drive and HEMI V-8 power in a four-door wagon. Engine choices include a 2.7-liter V-6 with 190 horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 with 250 horsepower or 5.7-liter V-8 with 340 horsepower. Magnum SRT8 is revealed. Final year for the Dodge SRT-4 and Stratus coupe. Dodge introduces the industry-exclusive Stow 'n Go seating and storage system on the Grand Caravan, where the 2nd and 3rd row seats fold into the floor.

A new Charger is introduced, marking the return of a historic Dodge nameplate and HEMI power. Viper introduces the return of the GTS. Magnum SRT8 is introduced, featuring a 6.1-liter HEMI V-8 with 425 horsepower. Dodge introduces three new concepts: Challenger, Hornet and Rampage. Final year for the Stratus sedan.

The Dodge Demon concept car is introduced. The Charger Super Bee is introduced with a 6.1-liter HEMI V-8 engine with 425 horsepower. The Caliber four-door hatchback is introduced to the compact segment in early 2006 as a 2007 model, featuring a 1.8-liter, 2.0-liter and 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine in either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. The Nitro mid-size SUV is introduced, available in rear-wheel-drive or 4x4 configurations and either a 3.7-liter V-6 with 210 horsepower or 4.0-liter V-6 with 260 horsepower on the R/T.

Challenger is introduced exclusively in SRT8 trim with a 6.1-liter HEMI V-8 with 425 horsepower, "carbon fiber" stripes and five-speed automatic. New 2008 Grand Caravan is introduced; the short-wheelbase model discontinued. Avenger sedan is introduced, replacing the Stratus sedan. Magnum receives a freshening during its final year. Caliber SRT4 is introduced with a 285-horsepower 2.4-liter turbocharged with an intercooled four-cylinder. The Zeo concept debuts.

The Circuit electric vehicle concept debuts. 25th Anniversary of the Caravan and Grand Caravan. Dodge Journey crossover is introduced, featuring a choice of a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine with 173 horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 with 235 horsepower, front-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive and five- or seven-passenger seating. Final year of the Caliber SRT-4.

Caliber receives an interior freshening. Mopar '10 special edition of the Challenger is introduced. A special Viper SRT10 1.33 edition and ACR-X are announced.

As part of one of the largest product renaissances, Dodge introduced six all-new or completely redesigned vehicles over a course of just a few months in late 2010 and early 2011. All-new Durango is introduced, featuring the Pentastar V-6 with up to 295 horsepower or 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 and 360 horsepower, four-wheel independent suspension and standard seating for seven. All-new Charger features a standard 292 horsepower Pentastar V-6 and an available eight-speed ZF automatic for a class-leading 31 miles per gallon (mpg). R/T models feature the 5.7-liter V-8 370 horsepower, with the SRT getting a new 470 horsepower 6.4-liter V-8 for 0-60 mph times in the low 4-second range. Charger features a class-leading 8.4-inch touchscreen, available all-wheel-drive with front-axle-disconnect and a new "racetrack tail lamp" signature styling cue consisting of 164 LEDs. Challenger is introduced with a new 305-horsepower Pentastar V-6 as the standard engine, 375-horsepower 5.7-liter or a new 470-horsepower 392 HEMI engine. The new '392' is launched as part of a special inaugural edition. Avenger receives new styling, all-new interior and new powertrains, including a best-in-class 283 horsepower Pentastar V-6. Grand Caravan is significantly redesigned for 2011, with new styling, all-new interior, and a new best-in-class 283 horsepower Pentastar V-6, replacing the 3.3-liter, 3.8-liter and 4.0-liter V-6 engines. Journey receives a refreshed exterior, an all-new interior with an 8.4-inch largest-in-class touchscreen and an available 283 horsepower Pentastar V-6. Final year of the Nitro SUV.

All-new Dart is revealed at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in 2012. The Dart is the first vehicle built off the new Compact US Wide (CUSW) Fiat architecture, blending Alfa Romeo driving dynamics with three world-class engines, offering up to 41 mpg and up to 184 horsepower, along with class-leading technology and safety, with dynamic Dodge style, including the signature LED racetrack tail lamps and dual exhaust. Charger offers a new 300 horsepower version of the Pentastar V-6 with cold-air induction and paddle shifters. New AVP package introduced on Journey and Grand Caravan, along with a top-of-the-line R/T on Journey.
New Rallye Appearance Group on the Durango offers R/T looks, mated to a 295 horsepower V-6. New Blacktop package on Charger offers 20-inch Gloss Black wheels, black grille and a 300 horsepower V-6. New Rallye Redline on Challenger pairs 20-inch black chrome wheels with a signature red lip and backbone. Beats by Dr. Dre is exclusively available on the Charger. Final year of the Caliber compact hatchback.

Charger offers a new AWD Sport model, bringing together a 300 horsepower V-6, paddle shifters and sport seats for the first time to all-wheel-drive customers.
The new 2014 Durango is revealed at the 2013 New York Auto International Show, showcasing new styling, including signature racetrack LED tail lamps, new eight-speed automatic transmission with the 295-horsepower V-6 or 360-horsepower V-8, 7-inch thin-film transistor (TFT) display, 8.4-inch touchscreen and dual Blu-ray DVD players in the second row. Charger Daytona is introduced as a limited-edition model, with unique interior and exterior styling cues. Thirty years of minivan leadership and innovation are celebrated with the launch of the special edition 30th Anniversary models of the Grand Caravan SE and SXT. At the 2013 SEMA Show in Las Vegas, two historic names are brought back - Scat Pack and HEMI Shaker. At the 2013 LA Auto Show, the 100th Anniversary of Dodge is celebrated with limited-production 100th Anniversary models of the Charger and Challenger, featuring exclusive High Octane Red paint, Molten Red or Foundry Black Nappa leather interiors, centennial badge and a unique owner's kit. 2014 Challenger Shaker is revealed with production beginning in early 2014, built off the R/T Classic with a genuine Shaker hood back returning to the Dodge lineup for the first time in 43 years. Celebrating the 45th anniversary of the Scat Pack, Dodge reintroduces the Scat Pack Club and Scat Pack Performance Stage Kits available in early 2014 on the Challenger and Charger 5.7-liter HEMI and Dart 2.4-liter Tigershark. New Charger Pursuit with all-wheel-drive delivers best pursuit-rated performance and fastest-ever AWD lap time during Police Evaluation Testing. 2014 Dart launches with the 184-horsepower 2.4-liter Tigershark standard on SXT, Rallye and Limited models.


Dodge enters the 2014 model year as America's fastest growing automaker. The new 2015 Dodge Challenger and Charger are introduced at the 2014 New York International Auto Show. The new Challenger now offers a 485 best-in-class horsepower, track-ready all-new 6.4-liter Scat Pack model, 392 HEMI® Scat Pack Shaker, all-new interior and segment-first standard TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic transmission. The new 2015 Dodge Charger - the world's only four-door muscle car - gets a new exterior with nearly every exterior body panel re-sculpted, a 300-horsepower Pentastar V-6 with best-in-class 31 mpg highway, standard segment-exclusive TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic transmission and world-class handling and refinement. Dodge unleashes most powerful Challenger ever. The all-new 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT with the 600-plus horsepower HEMI Hellcat engine delivers unrivaled performance, race-inspired interior and new technologies geared toward the driving enthusiast.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

100 Years of Dodge

The Dodge brand celebrates its 100th
anniversary on July 1, 2014.
It began with the 1915 Dodge Brothers
Touring Car, followed by a century
of ground-breaking designs,
innovative technology and 
legendary performance.
(PRNewsFoto/Chrysler Group LLC)
Maserati isn’t the only brand celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. Dodge’s centennial year began this past July 1. There’s a lot to celebrate, too, with so many models over the years, and the brand still going strong today.

According to their press release, Dodge and SRT represent the performance brand of Chrysler. "At Dodge, we don't make category cars. We make category cars nervous," said Tim Kuniskis, President and CEO of the Dodge and SRT brands. "Dodge strives to turn everyday vehicles into personal statements. Our vehicles are modern performance cars that deliver that visceral feel that reminds buyers why they fell in love with driving in the first place."

They’ve certainly put out quite a few muscle cars over the years, and still are today, with the Charger, Challenger and Viper. Of course, they’ve also put out quite a few minivans. Yet it all started with two brothers, John Francis and Horace Elgin Dodge. You can read the official Chrysler bio here. Seems they learned machining in their dad’s shop in Port Huron, Michigan, and continued to work in that field after they left home.

Like many early automotive enthusiasts, they began by building bicycles. Selling their share of that business, they opened their own machine shop in Detroit in 1900 and began making automobile parts for companies like Olds and Ford. Oddly enough, the company bio doesn’t talk about their automotive career from that point, but of course there’s always Wikipedia, which tells us they went from building parts to building cars in 1915. Both brothers died in 1920 and the company was sold in 1925 to Dillon, Read & Co., an investment bank, before being resold to Chrysler Corporation in 1928. It’s been part of Chrysler ever since.

[SOURCE Chrysler Group LLC, Wikipedia]

Friday, August 15, 2014

Hot Rods Galore at West Coast Nationals

The Alameda County Fairgrounds in Pleasanton
is transformed into Hot Rod Mecca August 22-24
as over 3,500 vintage hot rods, custom cars,
muscle cars and classics highlight the Goodguys
28th Annual West Coast Nationals. (PRNewsFoto/Goodguys)
Although it’s still summer, it’s been cold and wet here the last few days. So a press release for a car show in California perked me right up. Not that I’m going, but it’s pleasanter to contemplate than the puddles outside my door.

Next weekend (August 22 to 24) is the 28th Annual Goodguys West Coast Nationals, being held at the Alameda County Fairgrounds in Pleasanton, California. They’re expecting around 4,000 hot rods, custom and classic cars. There will also be manufacturer’s exhibits, a swap meet, live music, and even activities for kids. Sounds like the perfect opportunity to introduce family members to the rodding culture. Saturday evening they’ll be announcing America’s Most Beautiful Street Rod.

You can find more details about the West Coast Nationals and several other events on the Goodguys Rod & Custom Association website.

Guess I’m not the only one thinking California looks pretty good right now. Apparently Martin Lundqvist from Sweden shipped his hot rod to Georgia and is driving across the States to go to the event. Now that’s an enthusiast!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Collector Car Prices vs Reality

I’m often amazed by the amount of money certain collector cars go for at auction. Not all classics by any means, but if it’s exotic, fast and sporty looking, the sky seems to be the limit. Other cars, equally appealing to me, actually cost less now, if you factor in inflation, than they did when they came off the line. And they still need work. But buy the right car, wait a few months and flip it, and it seems you’re in the money. If you had the money to buy it in the first place.

I’m not the only one that’s noticed this. I read an excellent article by Rick Carey over at Sports Car Digest earlier this week that talks about whether the collector car boom is about to go bust. That might not be a bad thing. Sure, a few people might lose their shirts, but they’re likely to be the ones that buy to invest, not because they really love something. And if prices come down, maybe more people that really love something will get a chance to buy it.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Another Unlucky Rallycross Run for Villeneuve

Jacques Villeneuve in his Peugeot 208 at the Trois-Rivieres
FIA World Rallycross Championship event.
Photo courtesy Albatec Racing Press Office.
Jacques Villeneuve must have thought his luck had finally turned when he placed in a couple of the preliminary heats for last Friday’s FIA World Rallycross Championship event in Trois-Rivieres. He and his Albatec Racing two-litre 16v Peugeot 208 were performing well for the home crowd.

Villeneuve hoped for an equally good result in the third heat, but his fuel tank came off on a heavy landing, and there wasn’t enough time to fix the car before the final heat. There’s no question that he’s capable of driving Rallycross but his maiden season has been dogged by trouble. At least his partner and team principal Andy Scott made it to the final twelve, but at the end of the day, neither had placed.

Villeneuve said, “It’s a very frustrating end to the weekend after we fought so hard in the opening two heats, to put us sixth. The fuel tank was ripped off over a jump, which has never happened before and although the team worked hard to try and repair the damage in between the heats, there just wasn’t time.

“We’ve been here before, we’ve had some bad luck in other races, but to be running so high in front of my home supporters is particularly disappointing.”

Scott added, “It’s been a tough day, where the quick turnaround between the heats really hurt us. For Jacques with a little bit more time we could have repaired his car so it’s particularly disappointing after such a strong start to the day to put him so high up the standings.

“I’m pleased to have made it into the semis, particularly after the tough final qualifying heat, but in the semi I just didn’t get a good start and I was playing catch-up all the way through. But it’s given us a good feeling as we head into the final five rounds that we’re heading in the right direction.”

Patrick Carpentier fared somewhat better in his race, finishing sixth overall in his first ever RX race. His take on the race? “I can’t explain how happy I am to have made it to the final. Before today my only aim was to reach the semis and to be in the final in front of such an amazing home crowd on my RX debut is more than I could ever have hoped for.”

You win some, you lose some.

[SOURCE: Albatec Racing Press Office, FIA World Rallycross Press Office]

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Grand Prix Trois-Rivieres Starts This Thursday

Photo courtesy FIA World Rallycross
Championship Media Office
Okay, it’s not a classic car event, but what’s not to like? And this year, the 45th edition of the GP3R (August 7-10) will not only be running the Grand Prix (NASCAR Canadian Tire and Canadian Touring Car), the first ever FIA World Rallycross event to be held outside Europe will also be running (Friday, August 8). The website is HERE if you’re looking for details on tickets and scheduling. Can’t go? They also have live web streaming.

Among other things, that means that fans will have a chance to see Jacques Villeneuve in action. Twice. “It's always a pleasure to race in Quebec, and I’m delighted that I not only get the chance to race the Supercar in World RX but also the Dodge Challenger in the NASCAR event,” explained Villeneuve. “Although it’s my home track, the rallycross configuration will be as new to me as will be to everyone else until the very first test on Thursday. I’m feeling quite confident ahead of the race and looking forward to driving in front of the enthusiastic home crowd.”

Not surprisingly, there will be also Subarus involved in the Rallycross. The Vermont-based Subaru Rally Team USA are putting in an entry with European Rallycross Champion Sverre Isachsen at the helm. After all, as team owner Lance Smith said, “World RX of Canada is nearly in our backyard and we saw it as a great opportunity to gain further experience while testing our mettle against another set of talented drivers and teams. Although ultimately built to a different series’ rule Sverre’s car was generally built around the FIA regulations, so it has not been too difficult for us to enter.”

There’s some more local talent, too. VW Marklund Motorsport is fielding four cars, one of which will be driven by Patrick Carpentier. “I already have butterflies and can't wait to try the Supercar,” said Carpentier, who admitted that he’s learnt a great deal about the sport since commentating on World RX for RDS.

Should be an exciting four days.

[SOURCE: FIA World Rallycross Championship Media Office]