Customized Dodge Challenger

This weekend, I made a quick road trip to visit my mom and on the way back, I found this customized Dodge Challenger parked on the side of the road.  This bad boy is another example of one of those things that make you go “hmmmm”…

Mom has a very supportive network of family and friends in the little town where she lives.  She is handling our new “normal” quite well, but she does not drive and she needed to go to the grocery store.  So we took care of that this weekend by going to North Augusta, SC.  Mom is now set for another couple weeks and I had a chance to finally get out on the road and clear my mind from being in lockdown.

So back to the customized Dodge Challenger.  All I can say is that somebody put a ton of money on this Challenger.  The pictures don’t do the paint job justice – it is flawless.  While it is not my cup of tea, I do appreciate the hard work invested.  The Challenger was painted probably with ChromaFlair because as you move around, the thing changed colors.  Somebody then took the time to ghost-in the Mopar logos on the quarter panels.  You can barely see an edge in the photo above.

The hood was also highly customized:  it had the Mopar logo as well.  I’m not a big fan of the color shifting paint but that paint-job did the trick:  it caught my eye.  I had to drive back to this parking lot and felt compelled to take these photos.

And last but not least, the wheels and tires.  I didn’t get out of my car, and inspect them closely, but they are LARGE.  Again, there is no telling how man dead presidents are invested in this set of wheels.  Having said all this…  I have a few questions:

    • With a wheel/tire combo like this, what effect does it have on the drivetrain.  If we go by the relationship of a lever, I would suspect this is going to load up the gearbox and strain it.
    • What effect does a whee/tire combo like this have on brakes?  Suppose you are driving at highway speed, would braking efficiency become compromised?
    • Speedo.  The speedo reading would certainly be hosed.  This is when tuning software and/or a separate box would save the day.  I am not familiar with this type of setup but there is certainly a lot of work here…
    • If you have any info on this, let me know…

Stay safe!

3 thoughts on “Customized Dodge Challenger

  1. Michael H Yount

    That’s a Hot Wheels toy if ever I saw one! You’re spot on Joe – putting on larger diameter wheels/tires has big effects on multiple things.

    1) That wheel/tire combo WEIGHS A LOT more than the stock wheel and tire. And that weight has to be rotated by the engine and its movement up and down with bumps has to be controlled by the springs/shocks. Typically you’d want more spring rate and more damping to deal with more unsprung weight. It’s rarely addressed correctly with changes like this – but we simply don’t know if they addressed it or not. If you search Car&Driver’s archives, they did a test on a VW Jetta quite some time ago where they road tested the stock 15″ combo as well as 16, 17, 18 and I think 19″ combos with tires that were close to the same compound as stock and the same overall diameter. As you might imagine – acceleration and fuel mileage suffered noticeably the heavier the wheel/tire combo got. And cornering while a bit better with the 16″ combo – wasn’t significantly better over the stockers. All that said – my rule of thumb is always fit the smallest diameter wheel you can that will fit over the BRAKES you require for your application.
    2) Putting larger diameter tires on the back is precisely like switching to a longer (lower numerically) gear ratio. Let’s just pretend this Challenger came with 3.55 gears. And say it had an OEM tire that was 27″ tall. Hard to tell how tall the over package is from the picture, but let’s just guess they’re 36″ tall. That has the same effect as if you swapped in 3.55 x (27/36) = 2.66 gears. Acceleration gets a double hit — first from the weight of the taller package and second from the gearing reduction. Fuel mileage — probably worse around town – rotating weight + static weight + less torque multiplication because of the effective ‘Longer’ gear. Hwy – if the motor has enough torque to pull extremely low rpm in top gear at 70-75 mph you might see a bit better mileage – hard to tell though.
    3) The speedo is off by same ratio — 27/36 = .75. So when the speedo reads 75mph you’re actually going 100. That’s a big error. Usually correctable electronically – programming required.
    4) Similar impacts on braking. The calipers have to act on a lever that’s roughly the distance of (averaging and simplifying for the example) the center of the wheel to the contact point of the tire/pavement. With the MUCH taller wheel/tire, that “lever” is now much longer. Which means, more pedal pressure has to be applied to achieve the same level of braking at the tire/pavement inferface as before. Can enough pressure be applied to activate the ABS — I don’t know, but it would be fun trying!
    5) Be sure the wheels are stout — LOTS more lever to act on the wheel from the tire contact point to the places where the hubs attach to the suspension.
    6) Of course, the whole car sits much higher — so center of gravity is higher – roll control changes. Higher center of gravity means not as much cornering potential as before – but we probably all figured that out just looking at it.

    Summary – if you like that look, then NAILED IT. But if you want performance improvements along with your looks improvement (subjective) — this is all going in the wrong direction.

    Reply
    1. bowtie6 Post author

      Thank you Michael. Appreciate the info…

      Jim and I covered all this when we built both his TR4 and bowtie6. It is not only a matter of bolting on stuff and then expecting things to work from there. Don’t take me wrong, the Challenger has had a lot of work done to it. But unfortunately the end result very likely compromises the original intent of the car. Handling certainly has been changed in a negative way.

      To each his own and I agree with your summary paragraph.

      Reply

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