By Nauman Farooq
Despite the downed economy and the unpredictability of crude oil pricing, the American automotive industry thinks that this is still the right time to re-introduce muscle cars into the market.
Ford never stopped production on the Mustang, and the new Chevrolet Camaro will be on sale soon enough, plus there is the new-ish Dodge Challenger.
The Challenger has been on sale since last August, and sales of its SRT-8 model have been particularly strong.
However, for some even 425hp isn’t enough, and most people who have driven the Challenger would agree that the handling and the brakes need to get upgraded.
That is where Steve Saleen steps in. Formerly known for just modifying Mustangs to a level Ford never could, he has set about to work his magic on the new Challenger under his new company SMS Supercars.
Instead of modifying the 6.1-liter, SRT-8 motor, SMS takes the more humble, 365hp, 5.7-liter, V8 from the R/T model and throws on an SMS 296 supercharger on it.
The result is 500 hp in the SMS 570, and 700 hp in the SMS 570X. The “570” in the name refers to the size of the engine and “X” refers to extreme.
The gearbox of choice to handle all this grunt is the SMST six-speed manual, and when launched right, the SMS 570X can go from 0-100km/h in about 4-seconds flat. Keep the pedal nailed to the floor and you’ll see speeds creeping into the 320 km/h mark.
To make sure the car is stable at such high speeds, SMS strengthens the chassis and beefs up the suspension. To bring this muscle-car to a quick stop are new 14-inch, six-piston brake rotors at the front and 12-inch rotors in the rear.
On top of the performance upgrades you get styling upgrades too. The Challenger gets new front and rear bumpers, a new hood with functional butterfly inductions valves and unique 20-inch rims all-around.
The best part of all this is the warranty. While most modified cars have no valid warranty left, SMS cars are fully backed, so you can have peace of mind performance motoring.
Pricing for the SMS 570 starts at U.S. $65,000 and the SMS 570X starts at U.S. $85,000, which makes it the cheapest 700 hp car on the planet, and also the best muscle-car from the 2009 New York International Auto Show.
No Canadian distributors yet, but Saleen said he is working on it.