photos by: the author
We Pick Our Five Favorite Classic Mopars of SEMA 2016
The SEMA Show is jam-packed full of some incredibly well-built machinery from all over the world, spanning different eras, styles and trends. While we can appreciate the well-exe3cuted import or the new lifted American pickup, our slightly biased towards classic American muscle car iron.
There was plenty of it all over the place at the 2016 SEMA Show, and while there were tons of great Chevys, Pontiacs, Fords and even AMCs at the Las Vegas Convention Center that week, but we want to take a moment to focus the top five favorite
1. Late-Model HEMI Powered ’71 ‘Cuda
When we first spotted this ‘Cuda, we simply thought it was a factory restored example, possibly packing a 440 or 426 HEMI powerplant. However, once we got closer and noticed the “392” billboard graphics, we knew something was a little off. Rather than being a ’50s-era Hemi 392, as it turns out, it’s a 6.4L borrowed from a 2017 Challenger.
With nearly 500 hp on tap, the Sublime Green ‘Cuda was actually built by Graveyard Carz, the Mopar resto specialists from the Velocity TV show. Knowing their way around a Mopar or two, they lent their expertise in recreating a modern HEMI-powered ‘Cuda that looks like it just rolled off of the assembly-line yesterday.
The Mopar 392 crate engine 392 is backed by a Viper-spec Tremec T-6060 transmission, and the ‘Cuda features over 100 components sourced directly from Mopar Restoration. The body color steelies, dog dish hubcaps and quarter panel mounted billboard callouts keep the car looking timeless, while the drivetrain brings it into the 21st-century.
2. Tony Angelo’s ’71 Demon 340
Owned by professional drifter and Roadkill Guest Host, Tony Angelo, this Demon 340 packs a pro-touring punch featuring plenty of performance hardware. Its mechanical attributes notwithstanding, the real story lies with what’s hides under the entry-level Mopar.
QA1 answered the call in the form of its complete Level-3 Handling Suspension Package; double adjustable front Stocker Star shocks, tubular K-member, dynamic strut bars, front sway bars and double adjustable rear suspension system. The kit also includes upper and lower control arms, torsion bar adjusters, tie rod sleeves and camber bolt adjusters.
It may not be an over-the-top build, but we appreciate it its back to basics approach, and the subtleness in its execution.
3. HEMI-Powered Pro-Touring ’71 “Shakedown” Challenger
Another E-body that we spotted in the Mopar Performance booth, along with the Graveyard ‘Cuda, was this sinister Challenger built by Schwartz Performance. Rocking a 392 HEMI crate engine and a Tremec TR6060 manual 6-speed, the overall execution definitely is aimed squarely at the pro-touring enthusiast.
It’s a perfect compilation of classic meets new, featuring plenty of styling and performance accessories from Mopar Performance, including a Shaker-fed cold-air induction system, Borla/Mopar catback exhaust system and massive Brembo brakes sourced from the Hellcat.
The whole car has a premium feel, including the interior that featured Katzkin leather, Viper steering wheel, IP gauges color-matching black trim and custom touches throughout the whole car. On the outside, you’ll find headlights, taillights, front splitter, wheels borrowed from a Hellcat. It’s the perfect blend of standard-issue classic Challenger, modern Hellcat and custom show car — that performs as you’d expect it to!
4. “Project Yankee” ’75 Dodge Dart
Now we had to do a double take when we spotted this import-themed ’75 Dart in the Mopar booth. Taking on what could be a new trend in compact classic muscle (Sung Kung’s EcoBoost-powered Ford Maverick was also at the show), this example had us in love at first sight. It’s a unique blend of vintage Trans-Am and Otaku, a trend in Japan.
Under the hood, you’ll find the 5.7L version of the modern-day HEMI, that has been upgraded with a custom cold-air induction kit, K&N filter, CSF Racing BOSS external oil cooler, among a few other modifications. Backing the aluminum HEMI is an A833OD manual transmission, McLeod clutch and flywheel kit, a modified 8.75-inch rearend with a Yukon 3.73 LSD and axles.
Keeping the tuner-themed Dart stuck to the pavement is a complete Hotchkis TVS adjustable suspension and adjustable shocks, working in conjunction with Baer Track4 front binders, and a complimentary set of Baer SS4 rear brakes. Wrapped in TOYO Proxes R888s, are RAYS Engineering/Volk Racing TE37V 17-inch rollers.
On the outside, is a custom aluminum chin spider, a NOS (new old stock) Direct Connection rear spoiler snd various custom bodywork by Creative Auto Lab. Inside, a Racepak iQ3S Street Dash, Cobra Classic RSR bucket seats, Caliber Customs roll bar and interior door panels and a Hurst Competition shifter make the car overall much more functional.
5. Trick Flow ’68 Dodge Dart
How about this? Two Darts in a row! While this one is a bit older and takes a different approach to the marque, it certainly was a standout in the Trick Flow Specialties booth. Equipped with a 440 ci. engine package from Trick Flow, it features cylinder heads and an intake manifold from the Ohio-based manufacturer.
With a Scat rotating assembly in the bottom end and the Trick Flow hardware up top, it’s a sure-fire recipe for a lot of performance, but the details include a Howard’s camshaft and valvetrain, AFCO radiator, Vintage Air A/C system, Schumacher Creative Services headers and a Flowmaster exhaust.
Toss in a Vortech supercharger, various Summit Racing hardware, a March pulley system and a Quick Fuel system pumping high-octane through the lines, and you have a stout street car. Improving upon the chassis with great handling and cornering prowess a full QA1 suspension kit and a Borgeson steering box.
Braking has been upgraded wth a SSBC brake kit for incredible stopping power while one-off wheels from RMR Dreamcars.
We hope you enjoy our five picks for our favorite Mopar muscle at SEMA 2016, and while there were certainly more unique and custom examples at the show, we took a lean towards the realist and drivable examples at the show. Let us know your thoughts!
Rick Seitz is the owner and founder of Timeless Muscle Magazine, and has a true love and passion for all vehicles. When he isn’t tuning, testing, or competing with the brand’s current crop of project vehicles, he’s busy tinkering and planning the next modifications for his own cars.