Fastest mopar car

Fastest mopar car DEFAULT

Almost a decade ago, Chrysler joined the automobile world and is catching up fast with General Motors (GM) as the biggest brand. Creating a partnership with Fiat in 2011, they now refer to themselves as Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. Currently, they have connections with Alfa Romeo, Maserati, Ferrari and Lancia. Throughout its almost one century long past, Chrysler has teamed up with other impressive names including Dodge, Jeep, Eagle, SRT, De Sota, Fargo, Plymouth, Ram and Valiant to name a few. Mopar is the easy to remember term used when talking about Chrysler’s extensive list of partners, so if it’s a Jeep, a Dodge or Ferrari, at the end of the day it’s still a Mopar.

Despite their competition – Ford and GM – not being big risk takers, Chrysler thrives on this. It is as a result of their clever risk taking strategy that we have the mega powerful 707hp Dodge Hellcat for example. Thanks to them, we have an exciting car history that has helped shape the amazing automobiles of today. The modern SRT vehicles that we all admire, the 1990s Viper, the 1950s futuristic style cars and the 1930’s aerodynamics are some major examples of Chrysler’s chance taking victories.

The current Mopars on the market are the fastest to date and no doubt the next range will be even faster, so to make out the top ten list more exciting, we look back over Chrysler’s lifespan, selecting the most memorable cars of its time.

10. 1955 Chrysler 300


The Chrysler will always be regarded as one of the first sports cars in the USA. Back in its day, it really looked the part on the outside and took the lead in the NASCAR racing competitions. It included a 331 cubic inch V8 engine, delivering 300hp and top speeds of 127mph. In the 1950’s this was a truly exceptional car. The following model in 1956 amazed with its potential, reaching 140mph with its 354 cubic inch engine. This car will always be an absolute legend!

9. 1968 Dodge Dart LO23


Dodge and Hurst only ever produced eighty Dodge Dart LO23 models and America fell in love with them. Despite not being spoken about today as often as their competitors such as the Ford Thunderbolt, or the Corvette ZL-1, this car was incredible. Hurst produced the Darts LO23 in 1986 and quickly underwent a revamp. A V8 engine was fitted and many parts were either removed or recreated using different materials in an effort to reduce the weight and therefore increase speed. Their efforts paid off, with the modified version reaching 535hp. To emphasize the seed of the Dodge Dart LO23, the quarter mile run was achieved in 9.0 seconds.

8. 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona


Fetching up to six-figures today, the 1969 Dodge Chargers Daytona are epic vehicles that took the lead on the racetrack many times. They had the ability to reach up to 200mph, using a 440 cubic inch V8 engine. The awesome aerodynamics and the stunning spoiler ensured this car was an absolute top performer. The excessive length of 19ft wasn’t practical for the public however, so these cars became difficult to sell. That counts for nothing today though as they are considered extremely collectable and have a mass of people desperate to get their hands on one.

7. 1970 Plymouth Hemi ‘Cuda

1970 Plymouth Hemi 'Cuda; top car design rating and specifications

The newly designed 1970 Plymouth Hemi ‘Cuba instantly made a name for itself as one of the top performing cars of its time. With the 426 cubic inch Hemi V8 engine, this vehicle boasted 425hp and a torque of 490 lb.-ft. Completing 0.25 miles in just 14.0 seconds and going from 0-60mph in less than 6.0 seconds, this car was unbelievable. Sales for the 1986 Plymouth Hemi ‘Cuba were not great as it had an unrealistic price attached to it. This high price extends into today as well, with some selling for over $1 million.

6. 1978 Dodge Lil’ Red Express


Economic and environmental issues of the 1970’s challenged the survival of the muscle car. Gas price hikes, insurance premiums rising, and a whole load of new laws and regulations were now being applied to cars. Cleverly, Chrysler took advantage of a loophole which prevented trucks from being penalized the way cars were. So, in 1978 the world said hello to the 1978 Dodge ‘Lil Red Express. This truck will always be remembered for reaching 0 to 100 mph quicker than the Ferrari 308, the Porsche 928 and the Porsche 911.

5. 1986 Dodge-Shelby Omni GLH-S


Thankfully recovering from financial difficulty after the production of the K-Car and Dodge Caravan, Dodge teamed up with Carroll Shelby and together they created the Shelby Omni GLHS. At thirty years old, this car has never been forgotten. It has been rumored that Shelby came up with the ‘GLHS’ letters in the car’s name to be an abbreviation of ‘Goes Like Hell S’more.” And it certainly lived up to its name sake thanks to its 2.2 liter turbocharged engine, delivering 175 hp and 175 lb.-ft. of torque. This car had unbelievable traction and was quicker in the quarter mile run than many famous competitors such as Mustang, Corvette and Camaro.

4. 1996 Dodge Viper GTS


The hefty 8.0 liter, V10 engine and beautiful bodywork made the Dodge Viper GTS the launch of a lifetime. This supercar had no traction control, no roof, no brake anti-lock system and no airbags. In the 1990’s this was the iconic car that everyone dreamed of owning. It cruised the quarter mile run in 12.0 seconds and went from 0-60 in as little as 4.0 seconds. The top speed of this machine was 187mph and it boasted 450hp and a torque of 490 lb.-ft.

3. 2004-2006 Dodge Ram SRT-10


Squeezing the mega V10 engine – that previously belonged to the Chrysler trucks and then the Dodge Viper – the Dodge Ram SRT-10 was pure power. It had a top speed of 150mph, reaching 0-60 in under 5.0 seconds. Coming with a transmission with six gears, it delivered 500 hp and proudly had a 525 lb.-ft. torque. Even today, this 2004-2006 Dodge Ram SRT-10 remains one of the fastest trucks of its kind.

2. Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT


Leading the way in the production of muscle cars, hatchbacks, trucks and supercars what were Chrysler to do now?

Well, they had already dominated the NASCAR racing competitions, so the next thing on their list was to make a spectacularly speedy Jeep – the Grand Jeep Cherokee SRT. They certainly took the world by a storm with this creation, helped by the inclusion of the mighty 6.2 liter Hemi V8 engine. This SUV took only 4.6 seconds to go from 0-60mph which is very fast considering its 5,300lb build. The 2011 Grand Cherokee SRT came with 475hp which is pretty impressive too. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has hinted on the new upgraded Hellcat-powered model which is said to sport a 707hp. We can’t wait for its release!

  1. Dodge Charger and Challenger SRT Hellcat


The Dodge Hellcats will always be worthy of a place on this list. This supercar was released in 2015 and its 6.2 liter Hemi V8 engine allows it to achieve 0-60 in just 3 seconds. Unbelievable! Despite the affordability of this car, it has all the features of a six-figure supercar. The quarter mile takes only 10.8 seconds and it reaches a mind-blowing top speed of 200mph. The Dodge Charger is officially known as the fastest sedan in the world. In production for roughly a year, the Dodge Challenger costs $62,000 and the Dodge Charger comes at $65,000. It’s no surprise that the waiting list for ownership is showing no sign of reducing.

Nikola Potrebić
About Nikola Potrebić

Despite driving a piece of junk, Nikola still manages to survive the harrowing experience called "A road trip in a Yugo," day in, day out. On the other hand, precious few things move him as muscle cars do. Especially those from the bygone golden era, which makes him wonder why wasn't he born a few decades earlier? Well, at least he's been given the opportunity to enjoy the likes of the Pontiak Aztek, Chrysler PT Cruiser, Fiat Multipla, and other lovely millennials, right? Come to think of it, I'll stick with my Yugo. Thank you very much!


Even automakers that never really cared for performance had to have one or more of the fastest and most powerful specimens in their midst. Someone has to be the number one, doesn’t it?! Performance oriented car makers such as Dodge, Plymouth and other Mopar divisions have had numerous such examples. And for more or less any given period of time at that. Although this wasn’t the usual business model, Chrysler’s subdivisions sometimes stepped out of conventional car maker’s comfort zone and delivered something out of the ordinary. However, looking back at the golden age of American performance cars, one might say Mopars were doing that on a regular basis. Being smallest of the Big Three, they simply had to take more risks than Ford or GM. Sometimes they failed miserably, but more often than not, Mopar gave us performance cars that would become the future icons.

And Mopar’s portfolio is the best place to look for some of the fastest and most powerful American classic cars. One would easily be able to compile the list of 10 such cars by going through FCA’s current lineup. Although Challengers, Chargers and even the recently axed Viper are some of their best such examples, we’ll dig a little bit deeper here. Current FCA performance car’s 40 or 50 year older predecessors wouldn’t be able to cope with them, but precious few cars were able to cope with classic Mopars back then as well. This is why we’re bringing you the most powerful and fastest Mopars of their time – not just a bunch of current Hellcats and Vipers.

1957 DeSoto Adventurer

The DeSoto brand is all but forgotten now, but as an affordable alternative to the Chrysler badge it had a lot to say back when it was still in the business. In 1956, they introduced a limited-production high performance Adventurer that would stand shoulder to shoulder with the mighty Chrysler 300. More so, the Adventurer would become the first American car ever to feature 1 horsepower per 1 cubic inch of its motor. A feat that would later be claimed by Chevrolet, but only because DeSoto let them by failing to properly advertise Adventurer until 1959. No wonder the Chrysler brass decided to discontinue the division in 1961.

DeSoto Adventurer

The car that managed to achieve the aforementioned feat was the 1957 DeSoto Adventurer. It came with 345ci version of the Firedome Hemi V8 which, as you can imagine, produced 345 horsepower. Only some 1956 and 1957 Adventurers would receive this specially bored and stroked (square 3.80 inch) version of the original 341ci V8 engine. The engine itself, however, wasn’t enough for that kind of output, hence Adventurer was further motivated by dual Carter WCFB four-barrel carburetors. Thanks to that, the DeSoto Adventurer was easily able to top out 140 mph. It’s true that successive model would deliver 350 horsepower, but it needed the 361ci wedge headed TurboFlash engine in order to do so.

DeSoto Adventurer Rear View

All 1957 DeSoto Adventurers – and there were 1,950 of them produced (1,650 hardtops and 300 convertibles) – featured the same paint scheme; either white or black base with gold trim. They also had factory installed air condition, and optional features like power windows, power six-way seats and a stereo. Prices started at $4,272 (close to $37,500 in 2017 dollars). Although somewhat expensive for a bottom tier car, it was still much more affordable than the cheapest Chrysler 300C which started from $4,929.

DeSoto Adventurer White

1958 Chrysler 300D

DeSoto Adventurer would lose its Hemi V8 for 1958 model year – a fate that would avoid Chrysler letter series cars for another Earth’s cycle around the Sun. 1958 Chrysler 300D was the last of the letter series models powered by a FirePower Hemi mill. 392 cubic inch engine was good enough for 380 horsepower in its base form, but delivered 10 ponies more if ordered with world’s first ever electronic fuel injection. Bendix Corporation’s Electrojector system, however, proved to be highly unreliable. Given the fact it was a new technology ahead of its time, one can’t really blame them. Anyway, most of the handful (likely 21) of Chrysler 300D’s ordered with this highly expensive option were later retrofitted with basic dual four-barrel carbs, so any 1958 fuel injected Mopar (including the 300D) is quite a find these days.

Most of Chrysler 300D’s were ordered with standard TorqueFlite 3-speed automatic, but there were those that had the manual trans instead. Precious few of them actually. Although power output was raised by 5 hp compared to Chrysler 300C, styling remained mostly intact. Shorter tail-lights, “300” badges on wheel covers and slightly revised leather interior pattern were some of the few changes. Biggest change, however, was the adoption of the new, more aerodynamicbubble windshield. This, together with a few more ponies motivating the Hemi powerplant, helped Chrysler 300D set then new Class E record of 156.387 at the Bonneville salts. What makes 300D even more exclusive are its low, ’58 recession-driven production numbers. Only 619 coupes and 191 convertibles were built.

Chrysler 300D

1968 Dodge Dart Hurst L023

Although not initially intended as a performance car, the Dodge Dart had more than few high output versions throughout its lifespan. The 1968-only limited offering of L023 code Hemi-powered Hurst-reworked Dart was the most powerful of them all. Only 80 Darts have been fitted this way, and there’s a good reason for that. They were powered by the second gen 426ci Elephant Hemi powerplant and it’s not that easy stuffing an elephant into a compact car such as Dart. These no warranty disclaimer specials were intended for drag racing and were very much capable of achieving a healthy 10-second quarter mile run. All this was possible thanks to 425 advertised horsepower and Hurst Dart’s feather weight. In truth, however, 3,000-pounder handled more than 500 horsepower.

Everything from carpets to heaters, sound deadeners, stereo and even horn was scrapped in order to save on weight. Even the L023’s doors were dipped in acid to thin out the steel. Windows were made out of plexiglass, while the fenders and hood were made out of fiberglass. It was one hell of a machine that no manufacturer could ever be ashamed of. And Mopar was deservedly proud.

Dodge Dart Hurst L023

1969 Dodge Charger Daytona and 1970 Plymouth Superbird

The Dodge Dart Super Stock was one hellishly fast and powerful drag racer, but the Dodge Charger Daytona and its successor, the Plymouth Superbird, were on another level entirely. They were both built for the sole purpose of dominating the NASCAR. And they did. the Charger Daytona won a total of 6 races in 1969 and 1970, while the legendary Superbird managed to win 8; all during the 1970. Both specials were offered with 440ci V8s, but could have also been ordered with a 426ci Hemi Elephant mill.

Dodge Charger Daytona

Only 503 Daytonas were built, 70 of which were ordered with the Hemi. The Superbird, on the other hand, was produced in more than 2,000 copies as homologation rules were changed for 1970. Instead of a minimum of 500 homologation models, manufacturers had to build two per each dealership they possessed. In Plymouth’s case, this meant 1,920 units. Records vary, but it’s believed that there were 135 Hemi and 716 Six Pack Super Commando Superbirds. The rest were 4-barrel Super Commando-fitted.

Unlike their role models, the Dodge Charger and Plymouth Roadrunner, the Daytona and Superbird featured a much longer chassis due to their downforce-creating sheet-metal nose cone, which replaces the conventional grille. They were also graced by ludicrously large 23-inch wing spoilers. Being made for NASCAR, both the Dodge Charger Daytona and Plymouth Superbird featured a heavy-duty suspension. Who knows what their records would have been like hadn’t NASCAR banned them both (together with the Ford Torino Talladega and Mercury Cyclone Spoiler) from competition due to their extreme performance on the track. Having an aero car on the track was simply unfair toward other drivers.

Plymouth Superbird

1970 Plymouth Hemi ‘Cuda

The First 426ci Hemi-equipped Plymouth ‘Cuda’s were built in 1968. 50 or so limited Hurst-reworked super stock drag racers have been given more or less the same treatment as the L023 Dodge Dart. However, it was the third generation of the Plymouth Barracuda that has finally accepted the Elephant as general population-available option. Add to that a substantial facelift that finally established the Barracuda as a car on its own and distinguished it from the Valiant, and you can see why some of them sell for seven figures. As far as Mopars go, the Hemi ‘Cuda has actually set the record in that respect. In fact, no less than four Hemi ‘Cuda convertibles sit atop the list of the most expensive muscle cars ever sold at auctions.

The story about the 426ci Hemi V8’s performance is already boring but here we go again. It delivered 425 horsepower in brochures only. In real life, the Elephant yielded more like 500 ponies. It wasn’t only performance and new design that made the Hemi ‘Cuda what it was. Mopar’s High Impact colors were part of that image as much as anything else. And the ‘Cuda came in colors such as Sassy Grass (Go Green), In Violet (Plum Crazy), Tor Red (Hemi Orange) and Moulin Rouge (Panther Pink) among others. Crazy enough names, but it could have been even wackier hadn’t some of them been rejected. Names like Gang Green, Catch Me Copper, Unforeseeable Fuchsia and my personal favorite, the Statutory Grape.

Plymouth Hemi Cuda

1978 Dodge Lil’ Red Express

If one vehicle wasn’t supposed to be featured among the fastest of its coevals, it’s a pickup. The Dodge Lil’ Red Express, however, wasn’t your run of the mill pickup. It wasn’t only one of the fastest and most powerful Mopars of its time. It was actually the most powerful American vehicle for 1978. Faster than that year’s Corvette even. At least from 0 to 100 mph. Such peculiar turn of events was possible due to emissions regulations loophole which failed to foresee mandatory catalytic converters in pickup trucks. Although every manufacturer could have taken the advantage of that situation, only Mopar had done so.

Dodge’s Lil’ Red Express draw all of its 225 horsepower out of 360ci V8 –  a modified version of the 360 police engine. Red exclusive paint and special door graphics were joined by another peculiar stylistic detail – dual exhaust with vertical stack-pipes. These chromed semi truck-inspired exhaust weren’t just for show, though. They featured Hemi style mufflers with a crossover pipe inside them. Lil’ Red Express would give birth to another rare “Adult Toys” truck; the Midnite Express. It would also carry over into 1979, but with freshly installed catalytic converter this time around. Such is the curse of the loophole. Use it and it’ll raise awareness about itself.

Dodge Lil Red Express

1986 Shelby GLH-S

Shelby isn’t a part of Mopar, but we all know what this Shelby-made subcompact actually is a modified Dodge Omni GLH. The “Goes Like Hell” Omni was one fine sports compact already, but final 500 1985 models (all black) were sold to the old dog Carroll Shelby. Newly christened “Goes Like Hell S’more” Omni’s were even meaner and faster. But we already figured that out judging by their name.

The 2.2L intercooled Turbo II 4-cylinder engine was good enough for 175 horsepower and corresponding amount of torque. Given that this sports compact only weighed around 2,200 pounds, the Shelby tuned Dodge Omni GLH Turbo 0-60 time was a feisty 6.5 seconds. It also topped out at 130 mph and achieved quarter mile drag time of 14.8 seconds. This might not seem like much, but those were the eighties. In truth, the Shelby Omni was faster than 305ci V8 F-body Camaros and Firebirds. It also had better quarter mile results than the Mustangs and even Corvettes of the day.

1986 Dodge-Shelby Omni GLH-S

1992 Dodge Viper

When it was introduced in 1992, the Viper instantly became one of the biggest automotive surprises in history. Mopars often and freely flirted with the highest performance peaks, but they never climbed that high before. Lamborghini-designed (Italians were owned by Chrysler back then) 8.0L odd-firing V10 generated 400 horsepower. It’s true that second generation Hemi delivered even more, but no Mopar was able to top 165 mph while accelerating to 60 in just 4.6 seconds before. First gen Viper weighed close to 3,300 pounds, 711 lbs of which went on already mentioned powerplant.

Viper wasn’t only fast. It was also stylish. Nothing made in America was as cool as the Viper at that point. And some time will pass still, before another one revolutionizes the market in the same way. Moreover, Dodge Viper was initially imagined without the roof, the windows, and even the exterior door handles. What’s even more important, at first it didn’t even have the airbags, traction control and anti-lock brakes. Viper was as spartan as one sports car get. And that reminisced about famous super stock Mopars of the sixties like nothing else since. Although it caught the world by surprise and paved a new way for Chrysler’s performance divisions, 1992 Dodge Viper was a Mopar through and through.

Dodge Viper

2004 Dodge Ram SRT-10

It was Viper’s 10-year anniversary when Dodge presented their second pickup truck concept fitted with sports car’s engine. Unlike the Dodge Ram VTS which never made it into production, SRT-10 actually made the cut. It did have to wait two more years, but come 2004, 500-horsepower beast was ready and available. 8.3L behemoth of an engine propelled the 5,130-pound regular cab models to the top speed of 154 mph and 0 to 60 time of 4.9 seconds. Mopar finally had a truck that made Lil’ Red Express proud.

This type of performance had its downside, of course. Fuel (in)efficiency was officially 9 mpg in the city and 15 mpg on the highway. Quad cab models which were heavier and slightly slower were rated at 9/12 mpg. By the end of SRT-10’s production run which spanned over three model years, there were around 9,500 units of this extreme pickup truck sold.

Dodge Ram SRT-10

2015 Dodge Challenger and Charger SRT Hellcat

Thanks to the Hellcat 6.2L Hemi V8, newest Challengers and Chargers represent the world’s best performance bargains. For around $65,000 you get 707 horsepower and 650 pound-feet of twist. And in all that fuss about their unparalleled performance figures, one would simply forget that they’re back. I mean they’ve been back for around a decade already, but only now they finally mean business and have something unique to offer. Something that was a sheer necessity in modern-day streamlined muscle car market.

Dodge Challenger & Charger SRT Hellcat

Both the Challenger and the Charger can achieve the top speed of around 200 mph. There haven’t been Mopars capable of completing such a feat prior to SRT Hellcat’s arrival. They’re also capable of submitting low 3-second 0 to 60 times. But that doesn’t come as a surprise for muscle cars stuffed with the most powerful Hemi engine ever. Given their huge success, Hellcats are bound to remain with us for unforeseeable time. They might even get the long sought after all-wheel drive somewhere down the line.

The Dodge Challenger & Charger SRT Hellcat are two of the fastest mopar cars ever made

Nikola Potrebić
About Nikola Potrebić

Despite driving a piece of junk, Nikola still manages to survive the harrowing experience called "A road trip in a Yugo," day in, day out. On the other hand, precious few things move him as muscle cars do. Especially those from the bygone golden era, which makes him wonder why wasn't he born a few decades earlier? Well, at least he's been given the opportunity to enjoy the likes of the Pontiak Aztek, Chrysler PT Cruiser, Fiat Multipla, and other lovely millennials, right? Come to think of it, I'll stick with my Yugo. Thank you very much!

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Hot Rod’s 5 Fastest Mopars

Vintage Road Test Results That May Surprise You

There were several reasons I wanted to do this story this month. The first was the tie-in to the other Mopars featured in the issue, coupled with my resolve to make better use of the Petersen photo archive in MCR. But Tom Shaw's coverage of the Pure Stock Drags last month also got me to thinking about the notions of stock and fast. As Tom said in his story, the fastest of the race cars participating in that annual event are now capable of running 11.50-second e.t. 's, the time at which the NHRA mandates rollbars. Getting a stock muscle car--on bias-ply tires, no less--down the 1320 in that length of time is a remarkable achievement.

It's an achievement all the more remarkable when you compare those e.t. 's to what the cars were capable of when they were new. As much as we like to think of our muscle cars as fast, they were never that fast. The top Mopars at the 2013 Pure Stock Drags, Dave Dudek's Hemi Super Bee and Rick Mahoney's Hemi Road Runner, both ran within a few ticks of each other (Dudek ran an 11.64, Mahoney an 11.69), yet both were a full second faster down the quarter-mile than the fastest of the Mopars that Hot Rod magazine tested in the '60s and early '70s.

Of course today's PSD competitors are privy to weight-reduction and tuning tricks that weren't done or even invented yet back in the day. This is by no means an apples-to-apples comparison. But if you've ever found yourself saying, "The older I get, the faster I was," this story may help jog your memories a bit.

Fifth Fastest:

'71 Cuda 340, 14.18 sec. @ 100.33 mph

"Beware the Quiet Fish," Jan. '71

"Plymouth's Barracuda is offered in many configurations," wrote Hot Rod's Steve Kelly, "but there's one that is best of all: the 'Cuda 340. What this car does is deliver a no-compromise performance exhibition at all stages, be it handling, drag racing, street riding, or cross-country junketing." On the drag-racing front, the 'Cuda "does beat a stock Z28 or Boss 302 (at least the ones we've tested) through a quarter-mile," he said, and because of the "fair amount of lead the 340 would gain on a straightaway, it should be able to keep the aforementioned pair at bay long enough to still finish first over a fair-sized stretch of road-racing course."

(Kelly, writing this in late 1970, most likely didn't know that the factories would all back out of Trans-Am in 1971. Very few privateers ran Mopar products in that season. So the dramatic battle between the 'Cuda, Z28 and Boss 302 he envisioned never materialized.)

The small-block-powered 'Cuda, Kelly said, "is a far better-driving machine than either the 440 or 426 V-8-equipped 'Cudas, and at least equals the performance you might expect from an assembly-line-stock Hemi 'Cuda. Both the larger engines cost several hundred dollars more, weight is greater, and the cost of operating is a little harder to live with than with the 340."

Kelly's tester was a Shaker-hood-equipped 'Cuda with a four-speed manual trans, 3.55 gears, limited slip, disc/drum brakes, and E60-15 Goodyear Wide Tread Polyglas tires. As tested, the car cost $3,971. It had just 1,500 miles on it when he and John Dianna took it to Lions Drag Strip "for an afternoon of thrashing." Out of the box Dianna ran 14.53 at 98.57 mph. "The air cleaner element was removed and the engine cooled; and within four more runs the 'Cuda had dropped to 14.18 seconds. From this point on, it got stuck in a top-end groove. No matter what the e.t., it ran either 100.22 or 100.33 mph. The Pure Stock record at Lions for the 'Cuda 340 class is 14.09 and a speed of 99 mph. At least we beat one end of the record. Had we gone deeper, say to the point of timing or tire pressure experimentation, we would've bettered both marks."

Fourth Fastest:

'69 Charger 500, 13.48 sec. @ 109 mph

"Showroom Racer," Feb. '69

"You've got to hand it to the Chrysler guys," wrote Steve Kelly (again). "If they race it, they also sell it. That really doesn't make them heroes, but it does help promote the image of stock car racing. When you can buy your race car, or at least the basics of one, through a dealership, you're a lot closer to racing real stock cars."

The Charger 500 was a toe-in-the-water in terms of making Chrysler's B-Body more aerodynamic for NASCAR. Lessons learned--and then some--would be applied to the coming Charger Daytona and Superbird. As Kelly described the 500's mods, "The grille, normally inset, is moved forward, flush with the leading edge of the frontal sheetmetal. This eliminates the air trap of regular Chargers. In back, the rear window is angled sharply and set in new metal stretched between the sailfins."

"You've got to hand it to the Chrysler guys. If they race it, they also sell it. "

Kelly's test car was a Hemi-powered 500. Well, actually, he tested two. The first one, with a four-speed transmission, "was 'borrowed' (by person or persons as yet not convicted) and most of the parts liberated. Due to this unexpected car loan (that's not what the police termed it), we spent most of our time with the automatic car."

Given the choice, "that's how I'd have it, anyway," Kelly said. "Four-speeds are nice, and generally a little quicker; but the TorqueFlite's the way to go on the street, and it's certainly no slouch on the track (unless the track has bends in it, and then there's no way an automatic will work there)."

He was right about the four-speed being "a little quicker," as his best quarter-mile in that car was 13.48 seconds at 109 mph. With the automatic, he ran 13.80 seconds at 105.01.

"Getting [a Hemi] into the 13s for a quarter-mile, in stock clothing, is about all one can ask for," he pointed out. "Well, we got it that far, but we had to revert to open headers in order to do so. An open-header 426 ought to catch high 12s, but this was the 3.23-geared automatic, with street plugs (N-10Y Champions), no carb rejetting, ignition at 12 degrees Before Top Dead Center on the crank, and total advance not cutting in until past 2,000. With an automatic having a sub-2,000-rpm stall speed, this is like running with one flat tire. The mere fact that it bested 100 mph in this form calls for a Purple Heart."

Things got more serious with the four-speed. The 3.54 gearset was swapped for 4.10s, and the distributor was recalibrated "to 49 degrees total, all of which were at work by 2,500 rpm." While driving at the track Kelly manually shifted both cars, though the delay in the TorqueFlite's response caused upshifts at 5,700-5,800 rpm, despite his moving the lever at 5,500. "We buzzed the stick car to six grand for each shift. The 4.10 gear brought us through the traps in high gear at 5,200 rpm, using a 29-inch-diameter tire. A lower gear would certainly help, but the 4.10 is just about the steepest you can use and still get decent street operation."

Third Fastest:

'69 Super Bee, 13.37 sec. @ 106 mph

"Six Pack for a Quarter Picnic," Aug. '69

"Stares from passers-by are guaranteed," wrote Steve Kelly (who apparently had the most fun job of all the guys at Hot Rod). "It isn't every day you see a bubble-hooded, tail-striped, hubcapless, high-sitting new coupe just arrived from the factory already in this condition."

Yes, the Super Bee he was testing, with its new Six-Pack option, was an A12 car. Remarkably, the magazine had room for just a single-page story on the Bee, with only two photos--one of him removing the air cleaner lid (with the hood already off), and a factory photo of the triple Holleys. So the pictures you see here are all outtakes from his test/photo session with Eric Rickman.

Full disclosure: The 13.37 e.t. was done after Kelly swapped the stock G70-15 rear tires with "Goodyear 8.50x14-inch series D-5 seven-inch-wide slicks, 27.4 inches tall," he wrote. On the stock tires, the Bee ran 13.56 at 105.63 mph--still good enough to make this list. "The street-tire Six-Pack runs are within .08-second of the four-speed Hemi Charger tested in our February issue [the Charger 500 at left], and the Goodyear-slick-equipped runs with the 440 were better by .11-second. And the Hemi was a lighter car, which isn't usually the case."

As with the Charger 500, Kelly preferred the TorqueFlite over the four-speed manual for driving the Super Bee on the street. "We shifted the automatic at 5,200 rpm, thus winding up with 5,500-rpm shift points, due to the lag between movement and trans action. Leaving it in Drive allows shifts at 5,000, which is too low for proper engine response in the next highest gear. Standard rear axle is a 4.10:1 Dana unit, with limited-slip movement."

"Stares from passers-by are guaranteed"

About the A12's hood, he wrote, "The fiberglass hood is not hinged, and you have to lift the whole thing off for engine access. Four pins hold it in place, and the fresh-air scoop makes a handy grab point, though it's doubtful Dodge would make that recommendation. There's no block-off for incoming air via the scoop in case of snow, hail, or flood. You're on your own then."

Kelly finished his test calling the Super Bee "one of the most surprising cars we've ever tested, and one of the most gratifying. We tested it with the same set of plugs used in street traffic for nearly 1,000 miles beforehand. Mileage figures would probably make an oil company happy, since they're between 8.08 mpg and 11.3 mpg on our result sheet. A Super Bee has a base price just under $3,150. The Six-Pack option is $462.80. You can't build it for that price."

Runner Up:

'69 'Cuda 340, 13.33 sec. @ 106.5 mph

"Barracuda on the Line," Dec. '68

Here's another instance where the car Hot Rod's Kelly tested wasn't quite "stock."

"The bright red fastback had been used in Plymouth advertising work-outs just before we got it, and work-out is an appropriate term," he wrote. "Ronnie Sox drove the four-speed machine for the ad people and sampled it in various modes, from absolute Pure Stock to semi-drag-prepared. In its final stage--and the way it stayed for our use--the 'Cuda was fitted with a Holley four-barrel, Edelbrock aluminum high-rise intake, and Hooker individual four-tube 'fenderwell' headers. The ignition was curved in a bit better to achieve maximum lead rather quickly, and the vacuum advance was blocked off in favor of centrifugal action."

In that trim, running 3.91 gears and on street tires--mounted on a set of Kelsey Hayes "recall" wheels--Sox recorded a best of 13.33 seconds at 106.5 mph. "We were impressed," wrote Kelly. "Capped up, the car ran repeated 13.70s with Sox at the wheel, with speeds in the 104 region. This is excellent for a street-legal machine (which it was with muffled exhaust)." Those e.t. 's would also keep the '69 'Cuda on this list, though it would bump its '71 brother off.

"We had the opportunity of sharing strip-driving time with Sox during his session at Irwindale Raceway," Kelly said. "Ronnie's prowess on the four-speed is hard to equal, and his biggest problem was getting the car off the line smoothly. After that it was easy. We had the starting line dilemma too, plus trying to run as quick and shift as fast as Sox--which we didn't. The Polyglas tires on the car work best when pumped up to 35 psi on both sides. Fronts were increased 10 pounds more than that to decrease rolling resistance. Best take-off procedure is to bring the rpm up to 2,500 and just roll the car off the mark. Nailing it too soon produces nothing but slow e.t. 's and tire smoke. We weren't all the way into the throttle until we were even with the Chrondek 'tree,' so that illustrates the tenderfoot method. With rpm slightly over 2,500, the ignition was fully advanced, and right-foot carpet contact produced instant engine response; no stumble or hesitation. The front end does a nice job of 'lifting' and transferring weight rearward all through initial acceleration."

Both Kelly and Sox liked the 'Cuda. "We agree with Ronnie Sox's opinion that the 'Cuda 340 held more interest and pleasure value than many other super-cars," he wrote. "This little runner is a super-car, without any doubt attached. It is also a 'pony-car,' a compact, a work-horse, and a sizeable threat on the dragstrip. The price isn't all bad, either." On the spec sheet, the 'Cuda's as-tested price was $3,652, though we're not sure that included the engine mods and headers. Sox wasn't included at that price, either.

"Four-speeds are nice, but the TorqueFlite's the way to go on the street"

The Fastest:

'63 Belvedere hardtop, 12.69 sec. @ 111.97 mph

"Plymouth 426 Super Stock," Jan. '63

In 1963 Ray Brock was Hot Rod's technical editor, and he devoted seven pages to a lengthy road test of the Belvedere and the new-for-'63 426 Super Stock engine (aka the Wedge). "Keeping within the displacement limit of 7 liters (427 inches) imposed by several racing organizations for '63, the new Super Stock Plymouth engine has 426 cubic inches," he wrote to introduce the new motor. "Two compression ratios are again used for '63, 11:1 and 13.5:1, with horsepower ratings of 415 at 5,400 rpm for the lower compression, 425 at 5,400 for the higher."

His test car, which arrived with just a dozen miles on the odometer, had the lower compression motor. "Any way you look at it, the high compression engine is strictly a quarter-mile sprinter and not designed for street driving," he explained. "Plymouth recommends that full throttle bursts be limited to 15 seconds and then only if the gasoline used is 102 octane or better. The 11:1 engine can be driven on the street without any serious consequences, but it is not recommended that they receive this kind of operation as a steady diet. Here, too, the engine is a thoroughbred designed for the track, not a workhorse for pulling a plow."

Brock put his money where his mouth was, entering the test car at a race being held at the Pomona dragstrip. "Our plan for the Plymouth was to see just what it would do at the local dragstrip exactly as delivered from the dealer." Well, turns out he built some wiggle room into that "exactly as delivered" concept.

"We did make a couple of concessions to this plan," he admitted, rationalizing that "the average driver would at least change gears and tires before going racing." So the 3.91s were replaced with 4.56 gears and a Sure-Grip diff. A set of 9.00x14 Casler "cheater" slicks was mounted; and to prevent axlewrap, "we removed the waxed inserts from the spring tips, installed a tall pinion snubber, and turned the front torsion bars up four turns each to help transfer weight to the rear."

Underhood changes were relatively minor: 34 degrees of total advance in the distributor above 2,000 rpm, and "the stock lakes outlets were uncapped."

Their first run at Pomona turned out to be the best: 12.69 at 111.97 mph. Additional passes were in the same ballpark: 12.74 to 12.81, with speeds consistently between 110 and 112 mph. "As the day progressed and eliminations came up, our test car was one of the 30 fastest stockers chosen for Stock Eliminator runoffs," said Brock.

When the competition became serious, Brock handed the car over to Bob McDaniels, Chrysler-Plymouth's service manager for the Los Angeles area. McDaniels "whittled away at the competition and eliminated two 409 Chevys and a pair of Dodges before he tasted defeat." He was beat by a '62 Dodge with the high-compression 413, a car that went on to win Stock Eliminator for the day.

Still, "we proved to our own satisfaction that the Super Stock 426 Plymouth has to be just about the hottest stock car available," Brock wrote. "With some more break-in mileage, a little extra attention in the engine by a sharp mechanic, a lightweight exhaust system, and a few other dragstrip techniques, the car should be capable of even more impressive performance.

"If you like drag racing and are a poor loser," he continued, "there's only one answer for you: Get a winner. We can recommend an excellent place to start. Plymouth."



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1,000HP All Motor Big Block Roadrunner - 605ci HEMI Mopar or No Car

Dodge launches the 2020 Charger SRT Hellcat: The world's 'most powerful and fastest' mass-produced car

The muscle car wars continue to heat up as Dodge fires the latest salvo with its 2020 Charger SRT Hellcat Widebody it calls the "most powerful and fastest mass-produced sedan in the world."

It's also the near twin of the Widebody version of the Dodge Challenger Hellcat coupe that made its debut two years ago, both models sharing the same 707 horsepower supercharged V-8 engine. The performance brand of Fiat Chrysler, Dodge says its latest muscle car can hit 60 in just 3.6 seconds and top out at 196 mph.

Despite increasingly stringent mileage mandates, automakers keep upping their performance game. Ford last week said its new Mustang-based Shelby GT500 Coupe will generate 760 horsepower when it comes to market later this year. General Motors will unveil the first-ever mid-engine version of its Chevrolet Corvette next month. Manufacturers as diverse as Hyundai and Aston Martin are rolling out ever more gutsy models — some turning to electrified powertrains to push the performance envelope.

2020 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Widebody

8-speed transmission

The 2020 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Widebody's 6.2-liter V-8 uses a massive supercharger to deliver 707 horsepower and 650 pound-feet of torque. The engine is mated to an eight-speed automatic that, the automaker says, can improve both performance and fuel economy.

The wheels of the Widebody sedan flare out 3.5 inches more than the original Hellcat. That provides room for significantly wider, 20- by 11-inch Pirelli 305/35ZR20, tires and makes it easier for the Charger to grip the pavement under hard acceleration. Spinning tires may look and sound great but waste time when you're looking for a fast launch.

The Charger Widebody will also get stiffer springs, larger anti-sway bars and retuned shock absorbers to allow it to handle on a track or on winding roads. And Brembo brakes will help it quickly scrub off speed without fading under repeated hard braking maneuvers.

Fast, faster, fastest

The sedan also uses four technologies, including Launch Control and Line Lock, to make it easier for even less-experienced drivers to achieve fast take-offs.

Over recent years, Dodge has been rolling out a succession of fast, faster, fastest variants based on its long-lived Charger sedan and Challenger coupe models — even as it has dropped virtually all other nameplates. The Charger and Challenger are among only three passenger-car models now built by the U.S. side of Fiat Chrysler.

The addition of the Widebody could help build demand for the more practical, four-door Charger which has traditionally been outsold by the Dodge Challenger. All told, Fiat Chrysler sold 66,716 of the coupes — in all the various configurations — last year. But that lagged behind the muscle car segment leader, the Ford Mustang. Its 10 different versions racked up 75,842 U.S. sales in 2018.

2020 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Widebody

Muscle car wars

Ford hopes to trounce the Challenger Hellcat line when it officially ships the first Shelby GT500s to dealers for the 2020 model-year. It will be the most powerful street-legal Mustang ever to roll out of a Ford plant, at 767 horsepower.

GM has yet to reveal details on the new 2020 Corvette, the first-ever mid-engine model known to fans as the "C8." But the top-line version of the 2019 'Vette, the ZR1, makes 755 horsepower and can top out at 212 mph.

More and more manufacturers are pushing into the performance market. Hyundai recently launched a sporty sub-brand dubbed "N," hoping to win over muscle car fans on a budget.

Tesla sets the pace

How far the industry can push performance is an ongoing debate. But, with increasingly stringent global emissions and mileage mandates, a number of manufacturers are turning to electrified drivelines.

Tesla helped demonstrate the potential of battery power, its Model S with optional Ludicrous Mode launching from 0 to 60 in less than 2.5 seconds. Ferrari, meanwhile, last month unveiled the new SF90 Stradale, a plug-in hybrid that will match the launch performance of that Model S, top out at 212 mph and still deliver 15 miles range in all-electric mode.

Dodge has yet to release pricing for the 2020 Charger SRT Hellcat Widebody sedan, but the coupe version starts at $72,590.


Car fastest mopar

1954 Chrysler New Yorker

The New Yorker debuted in 1940 and it was an important car in the Chrysler lineup for several decades. But the nameplate became a really hot matter in 1954 when Chrysler managed to squeeze 235 horsepower from its still-new 5.4-liter Hemi V-8 engine.

While it might not sound like much nowadays, 235 horsepower was a lot of oomph for a regular production car in the mid-1950s. Originally a test bed for the V-8 engine, the New Yorker was redesigned a year later and all other powerplants were dropped from the lineup. The New Yorker became a big hit and proved that the Hemi V-8 design was fast and reliable. A New Yorker fitted with this mill set a world record during a special 24-hour endurance race that saw the Chrysler average 118.8 mph.

Engine:5.4-liter Hemi V-8
Power:235 horsepower
Torque:330 pound-feet
0-60:11 seconds
Top speed:106 mph
1/4 mile:18.7 seconds

1955 Chrysler C-300

The New Yorker wasn’t the only Mopar that was making waves in the mid-1950s. In 1955, Chrysler introduced the C-300, the first of the company’s famous "letter cars." The fastest and most powerful production model in America at the time, the C-300 was also more exclusive than its competitors. It offered enhanced luxury and comfort, as well as sports car-like performance. Also powered by the 5.4-liter V-8, the C-300 boasted an amazing 300 horsepower thanks to a race-spec camshaft and twin four-barrel carburetors. The C-300 was sold in 1955 only, when 1,725 units were produced. The letter in the name was changed with each year, leading to the 300L model of 1965. The C-300 should not be confused with the 300C of 1957 or the 300C of 2005.

Engine:5.4-liter Hemi V-8
Power:300 horsepower
Torque:345 pound-feet
0-60:10 seconds
Top speed:128 mph
1/4 mile:17.5 seconds

1962 Dodge Dart 413 Max Wedge

The Dodge Dart started life in 1959 as a simple family car, but things changed when Mopar entered the drag racing scene in the early 1960s.

The 413 Max Wedge is the first in a long line of factory drag racers from Mopar and its name comes from the massive 6.8-liter V-8 engine it was fitted with. The high compression ratio pushed output up to 420 horsepower, while the limited-slip differential, the lightweight body, heavy-duty suspension, and the stripped interior made it ideal for the drag strip.

The package was rather expensive, but it proved popular with amateur racers that wanted to win races against owners of Ford and General Motors cars. Dodge eventually launched more beefed-up versions of the Dart in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Engine:6.8-liter Hemi V-8
Power:420 horsepower
Torque:470 pound-feet
0-60:6 seconds
Top speed:145 mph
1/4 mile:14.4 seconds @ 101 mph

1965 Plymouth Belvedere Altered Wheelbase

The drag strip wars were going strong in the early 1960s so Chrysler started working on a bespoke Hemi V-8 engine for racing. This mill broke cover in 1964, but it was followed in 1965 by one of the hottest race-spec Mopar ever built. Actually, there were two of them, as both Dodge and Plymouth built their own versions on the same platform.

These altered wheelbase cars were based on the production Dodge Coronet and Plymouth Belvedere and looks almost identical to their road-legal counterparts.

However, the floor pans of these cars were moved 15 inches forward, so the rear axles were just behind the drivers. This modification improved the weight distribution and off-the-line traction, turning them into almost unbeatable racers at the drag strip. These cars were also extremely powerful with well in excess of 500 horsepower at their disposal.

Only six Dodges and six Plymouths were made, which makes them incredibly rare and valuable pieces of muscle car history nowadays. It’s also one of the most spectacular Mopar project cars that actually made it into production.

Engine:7.0-liter Hemi V-8
Power:550 horsepower
Torque:490 pound-feet
0-60:4.5 seconds
Top speed:150+ mph
1/4 mile:10.2 seconds @ 138 mph

1966 Dodge Charger

The modern Dodge Charger may be a four-door midsize sedan, but the nameplate went through big changes in the past. Mostly known as a cult muscle car with big power in the late 1960s and early 1970s, the Charger actually came to life as a massive two-door fastback.

It happened in 1966, when Dodge introduced it as a more upscale alternative to the popular Coronet.

It was big and quite heavy, but aimed at customers that wanted a fancier interior and more equipment. But even though it wasn’t marketed as a performance car, it was available with a Hemi V-8. It eventually evolved into a full-fledged member of the Mopar muscle car community toward the late 1960s.

Engine:7.0-liter Hemi V-8
Power:425 horsepower
Torque:490 pound-feet
0-60:6.4 seconds
Top speed:130 mph
1/4 mile:14.2 seconds @ 96 mph

Read our full review on the 1966 Dodge Charger

1969 Dodge Charger Daytona

Next up on our Mopar cars list is also a Charger. But this one it’s from 1969, the year that brought the first mild update to the second-generation model. It was also unlike the road model, simply because it was a race-spec car developed for NASCAR. The latter was a big deal back in the 1960s and Detroit-based makers were fighting for supremacy with increasingly bigger engines.

But the 1960s also brought big changes to the rules that allowed modifications to the standard car bodies to make them more aerodynamic. So Dodge went ahead and added a nose come to the front fascia and a massive wing atop the deck lid.

The upgrades made the Daytona unbeatable in 1970, but NASCAR eventually banned aero cars for 1971. Plymouth built its very own version as the Roadrunner Superbird. In order to homologate the Daytona for racing, Dodge built around 500 cars for road use. These were powered by 7.0-liter Hemi or 7.2-liter Magnum V-8 engines.

Engine:7.0-liter Hemi V-8
Power:425 horsepower
Torque:490 pound-feet
0-60:6 seconds
Top speed:150+ mph
1/4 mile:13.2 seconds @ 103 mph

Read our full review on the 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona

1970 Plymouth Roadrunner

The Roadrunner was one of the coolest Mopar cars when it broke cover back in 1968. That’s because while it was as powerful as the already available Dodges and Plymouths, it was more affordable.

The idea behind the Roadrunner was simple: to offer a low priced yet powerful model in order to attract people on a limited budget in dealerships.

And Plymouth succeeded, as the Roadrunner became an instant hit. The fact that Plymouth bought the rights to the name and design of the roadrunner character from the popular Willie E. Coyote cartoon also helped. In 1970, the Roadrunner was upgraded with new styling and improved V-8 engines and joined the Barracuda in the muscle car wars.

Engine:7.0-liter Hemi V-8
Power:425 horsepower
Torque:490 pound-feet
0-60:6 seconds
Top speed:131 mph
1/4 mile:13.6 seconds @ 101 mph

Read our full review on the 1970 Plymouth Roadrunner

1970 Plymouth Cuda AAR

The Plymouth Cuda is by far one of the most iconic of the classic Mopar cars and like most of its competitors, this nameplate reached its peak in 1970. The Cuda Hemi remains the most legendary version of this high-performance coupe, but the AAR is an interesting, limited-series variant.

Launched to celebrate Dan Gurney’s All American Racing team, which used Cudas in the Trans Am championship, the AAR didn’t feature a Hemi engine, but it was lighter. Instead of the big 7.0-liter Hemi, the AAR featured the 5.6-liter V-8 in the Cuda 340. It was fitted with a race-inspired composite engine hood, a rear spoiler, and unique AAR graphics on the sides. Only 2,724 were made, so the Cuda AAR is a rare bird nowadays.

Engine:5.6-liter V-8
Power:290 horsepower
Torque:345 pound-feet
0-60:5.8 seconds
Top speed:130 mph
1/4 mile:14.4 seconds @ 99 mph

1970 Dodge Challenger R/T

While Plymouth entered the pony car market a couple of weeks before Ford launched the Mustang, stablemate Dodge didn’t jump on the bandwagon until 1970. But Dodge did it with a bang, by joining in with the iconic Challenger. Like all other Mopars from the era, the Challenger was also offered with the 7.0-liter Hemi V-8 and the even bigger 7.2-liter engine, but Dodge’s true performance model was powered by a smaller engine as standard.

It was called the R/T, which stood for Road/Track, and came with the 6.3-liter Magnum V-8 and a Rallye instrument cluster that included a 150-mph speedometer and a 8,000-rpm rev counter. The Hemi-fitted model was obviously the fastest, but the Magnum version was quite nimble thanks to its reduced overall weight.

Engine:7.0-liter Hemi V-8
Power:425 horsepower
Torque:490 pound-feet
0-60:5.5 seconds
Top speed:140 mph
1/4 mile:13.2 seconds @ 108 mph

2017 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon

This is the only modern vehicle on our Mopar muscle cars list. While FCA continues to build interesting vehicles, its lineup isn’t as exciting and diverse as it used to be. But the good news is that the Challenger was revived in 2008 and it spawned a couple of amazing models. By far the most extreme is the SRT Demon.

Essentially a drag racing version of the already impressive Hellcat, the Demon features a wide array of upgrades, starting with an all-new 6.2-liter V-8 and a 2.7-liter supercharger.

It also rides on drag-ready tires, a "transbrake" system, a Power Chiller, Drag Mode suspension setup, and Torque Reserve on Demand. The NHRA banned the Demon from competition because it doesn’t have the NHRA-certified roll cage required for cars that can run the quarter-mile in less than 10 seconds.

Engine:supercharged, 6.2-liter Hemi V-8
Power:840 horsepower
Torque:770 pound-feet
0-60:2.3 seconds
Top speed:168 mph
1/4 mile:9.6 seconds @ 140 mph

Read our full review on the 2017 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon

Quick Mopar cars Q&A

What is a Mopar Muscle Car?

A Mopar muscle car is any high-performance vehicle built by a brand that belonged to the Chrysler Corporation in the past and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles in modern times.

What Does Mopar Stand For?

Mopar is a portmanteau of the words "Motor" and "Parts." The name was first used in the 1920s on cans of Chrysler Motor Parts antifreeze. The Mopar brand was established in 1937.

What is Mopar?

Mopar is now the parts, service, and customer care organization within the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) group. The brand provides parts and accessories for all FCA brands sold in the United States, including those that aren’t American, like Fiat. Mopar also designs and builds limited-edition and concept cars.

Who Owns Mopar?

Mopar is currently owned by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, a multinational corporation established in 2014 by Fiat and the Chrysler Corporation.

What car brands are usually called Mopars

Following the founding of the Mopar brand in 1937, the term has become an inclusive word for any Chrysler-built vehicle. Back in the day, it was used for cars made by Chrysler, Dodge, Plymouth, Imperial, DeSoto, and Ram trucks. When Chrysler purchased American Motors Corporation in 1987, Mopar was extended to include vehicles by AMC, Jeep, and Eagle.

With some older Chrysler brands discontinued, Mopar is currently used to describe vehicles made by Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, and Ram Trucks. Some also include Fiat and Abarth products here, since Mopar offers parts and accessories for the Italian brands in the United States.

Ciprian Florea

Senior Editor and Supercar Expert - [email protected]

Ciprian's passion for everything with four wheels (and more) started back when he was just a little boy, and the Lamborghini Countach was still the coolest car poster you could hang on your wall. Ciprian's career as a journalist began long before earning a Bachelor's degree, but it was only after graduating that his love for cars became a profession.  Read full bio

About the author
American Muscle Car - Dodge - Chrysler, \

Since Chrysler as we know it came together over 90 years ago, it’s been Detroit’s underdog. And while General Motors may have always been known as having the largest brand portfolio of the Big Three, the company now known as Fiat Chrysler Automobiles really isn’t that far behind. Throughout its history, the Chrysler brand has been joined by Dodge, Plymouth, De Soto, Fargo, Imperial, Valiant, Jeep, Eagle, SRT, and Ram. It used to be a partner of Daimler-Benz, along with all of its subsidiaries, and since 2011, it’s been Fiat’s partner, and is now linked to Maserati, Alfa Romeo, Lancia, and Ferrari. It’s a long list, so to keep it from getting too confusing, we can lump most of them (save for the Italian and German brands) under one handy umbrella called Mopar. That name has been used as Chrysler’s original parts brand since 1937, and has been adopted by fans of the brand to cover just about everything the company makes. There may be just Plymouth, or Dodge, or even De Soto guys out there, but at the end of the day, they’re all Mopar guys.

And there are a lot of Mopar guys out there. While GM and Ford have tended to play it safe in the past, Chrysler has always taken chances. There were the aerodynamic Airflows of the ’30s, the wild “Forward Look” cars of the late ’50s, and the Hemi-powered brutes that dominated the dragstrip in the ’60s. Throw in the now-iconic Viper of the ’90s, the recent SRT cars, and the mind-blowing 707-horsepower Hellcats of today, and you’ve got one hell of a long list of icons.

Advances in design and engineering aside, no one has done “Big engine in a small car” quite like Chrysler either. The iconic Plymouth Barracuda and Dodge Challenger were specifically designed to fit the Hemi V8 under the hood. The Viper used the massive V10 engine from a Dodge Truck, and the Hellcats could be the best performance bargains on the planet. There have been a lot of fast Mopars over the years, and with FCA’s commitment to performance, it looks like they’ll only be getting faster.

We could make a list of the all-time fastest, but it would largely be made up of the current Charger, Challenger, and Viper variants, and would likely be knocked of by the next generation as early as next year. So to keep things interesting, we’ve taken a look back at Chrysler’s long and complex history, and come up with 10 models that absolutely dominated in their day.

1. 1955 Chrysler 300

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

It may look quaint today, but Chrysler’s 300 car was one of America’s first true sports cars. Stylistically, the 300 was a mash-up of Chrysler parts: front clip from an Imperial, body from a New Yorker, and rear quarters from a Newport. But beneath it all, it was designed from the ground-up to dominate in a new racing series called NASCAR. With its 331 cubic inch, 300 horsepower V8, the 300’s top speed of 127 miles per hour earned it the tag line “The world’s fastest stock car.” For ’56, it became the 300C, got an optional 354 cubic inch engine, and could reach a then-mind-blowing 140 miles per hour. It was more than enough to make Chrysler’s 300 cars legends.

2. 1968 Dodge Dart L023

1968 Dodge Dart advertisement

While the muscle car was taking America by storm, manufacturers were also fighting a brutal covert war on the country’s drag strips. And while casual racing fans may know about straight-line legends like the Ford Thunderbolt and Corvette ZL-1, the Dodge Dart L023 has been nearly (and unfairly) lost to time. Largely built by the performance company Hurst, L023s started life as base-model ’68 Darts (above), but got modified 426 Hemi V8s, fiberglass fenders and hood, plexiglass windows, acid-dipped doors (to thin the steel), and lightweight bumpers. Everything that could be spared – from carpeting to the horn – was removed to keep weight down. These flyweight Darts cranked out upwards of 535 horsepower, and could run the quarter mile in the low nine-second range – an astonishing feat for cars of the era. They were rare too; Dodge and Hurst built just 80 of these brutes.

3. 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona

Dodge Charger Daytona

Nearly 15 years after the 300 dominated NASCAR events, Chrysler launched a crash program to build another unstoppable stock car. Powered by a 440 cubic inch V8 (though a 426 Hemi was available too), the Daytona dominated on the track with its massive aerodynamic front overhang and ridiculous 5 foot tall rear spoiler, becoming the first NASCAR stocker to hit 200 miles per hour on the track. Unfortunately, the 19 foot long Daytona (and nearly identical 1970 Plymouth Roadrunner Superbird) were sales failures, with some dealers getting desperate enough to lop off the nose and spoiler and convert the cars into base Chargers and Roadrunners. Today, they’re some of the most sought-after muscle cars ever built, and change hands for six-figures.

4. 1970 Plymouth Hemi ‘Cuda

Plymouth Hemi 'Cuda

After a comprehensive redesign for 1970, the Plymouth Barracuda had become one of the most formidable performance cars in America. As the performance-oriented ‘Cuda, the car was a bruiser with any of the available V8s under the hood, but it truly became a legend when it was optioned with the 426 cubic inch Hemi V8. With 425 horsepower and 490 pound-feet of torque on tap, the big car could scramble from zero to 60 in under six seconds, and run the quarter mile in 14 seconds. Due to its high price, the Hemi ‘Cuda was never a strong seller in its day, but today, well-preserved examples (especially convertibles) can fetch upwards of $1 million at auction. Not bad for a ’70s Plymouth.

5. 1978 Dodge Lil’ Red Express

Dodge Lil' Red Express

By 1973, safety and emissions regulations, the oil crisis, soaring insurance rates, and a recession all conspired to kill the muscle car off. But while the feds were busy regulating cars to death, some genius at Chrysler noticed that none of the new laws said anything about trucks. Enter the ‘Lil Red Wagon: Launched in 1978 as part of Chrysler’s “Adult Toys” lineup (oh, the ’70s…), the truck came from the factory with side stacks, an oak-paneled bed, and graphics on the doors. It was also the fastest American production vehicle from zero to 100, beating the contemporary Porsche 928, 911, and Ferrari 308 to the mark too.

6. 1986 Dodge-Shelby Omni GLH-S

Dodge-Shelby Omni GLH-S

The ’80s were an incredibly tumultuous time for Chrysler. In 1980, it was on the verge of collapse, but after a loan from the U.S. Government, and the success of the K-Car and Dodge Caravan (the world’s first minivan), the company was flush with cash again by mid-decade. With money to spend on performance, it partnered with legend Carroll Shelby to rebuild a performance lineup, and its most memorable result was Shelby Omni GLHS. While GLHS sounded like a perfectly tech-focused, very ’80s name for a rival of the Volkswagen GTI, in reality, the former Texas chicken farmer Shelby called it that because it stood for “Goes Like Hell S’more.” It went like hell because it had an intercooled 2.2 liter turbo that put 175 horsepower and 175 pound-feet of torque to the front wheels and stuck to the road like glue. The “S’more” part came because the limited edition hot hatch could roast contemporary Corvettes, Camaros, Firebirds, and Mustangs in the quarter-mile.

7. 1996 Dodge Viper GTS

Dodge Viper GTS

Calling the Viper a sensation in the early ’90s would be an understatement. Its launch was the biggest automotive story of 1992; a spiritual successor to the ’60s Shelby Cobra (Shelby himself had a hand in building the car), the Viper had a massive V10 engine, a gorgeous body, and little else – no traction control, airbags, anti-lock brakes, windows, or even roof. In 1996, the Viper grew up and became a true home-grown supercar, with the gorgeous GTS coupe at the top of the heap. It borrowed its styling cues (and paint scheme) from the iconic Shelby Daytona racers, and its 8.0 liter V10 cranked out 450 horsepower and 490 pound-feet of torque. Zero to 60 came in four seconds, a quarter mile passed in 12 seconds, and top speed was 187 miles per hour. It was more than enough to make it the poster car for a generation of ’90s kids.

8. 2004-’06 Dodge Ram SRT-10

Dodge Ram

The Viper’s V10 was already based on Chrysler’s truck engines, so in a stroke of brilliance (or madness, depending on how you look at it), it crammed the now 500 horsepower engine under the hood of a Dodge Ram 1500 truck, modified the suspension, and called it a day. A six-speed manual transmission delivered 525 pound-feet of torque to the rear wheels, and sent the truck from zero to 60 in under five seconds. With a top speed of over 150 miles per hour, it’s still one of the fastest pickup trucks ever built.

9. Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT

Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT

Chrysler had already done NASCAR specials, big-block muscle cars, hot hatches, fast trucks, and supercars, so why not make a ridiculously fast Jeep too? Launched in 2011, the Grand Cherokee SRT has a 475 horsepower 6.2 liter Hemi V8 that took the 5,300 pound SUV from zero to 60 in 4.6 seconds. It’s hard not to love the all-out insanity of the current SRT, but we’re hoping that FCA makes good on replacing it with the 707 horsepower Hellcat-powered version it teased last year.

10. Dodge Charger and Challenger SRT Hellcat


Even with all the legendary Mopar performance of the past 90-plus years, we’d be crazy not to put the Hellcat cars at the top of this list (seen here with the current Viper). Launched in 2015, the 707 horsepower and 650 pound-feet torque Charger and Challenger were a revelation, and proof that supercar-level horsepower doesn’t have to cost six-figures. The Challenger is a throwback to Chrysler’s drag cars of the muscle car era, using its 6.2 liter supercharged Hemi V8 to make the zero to 60 scramble in around three seconds, and run the quarter mile in 10.8. Believe it or not, the Charger sedan is slightly lighter, and as such, the world’s most powerful sedan has a top speed of over 200 miles per hour. At just over $62K for the Challenger, and $65K for the Charger, the cars have become so popular that FCA has been building them at capacity for over a year now, and there are still waiting lists. It’s usually hard to predict which cars will become classics, but we’re convinced that these two are already bona-fide legends.

Like classics? It’s always Throwback Thursday somewhere.


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These Classic Mopar Cars Will Leave Modern Sports Cars In The Dust

While it's not the biggest player in Detroit, Chrysler has played a massive part in the American automotive industry. These days, Chrysleris joined by fellow Americans Dodge, Plymouth, Jeep, and Ram, as well as becoming partners with European brands Fiat, Maserati, Lancia, Alfa Romeo, Ferrari, Opel, Peugeot, and Citroën under the Stellantis umbrella.

Updated March 2021: We have updated this list with more accurate and detailed information about these stunning classic Mopar vehicles that are loved and desired by gearheads all over the world.

RELATED: These 10 Cars Prove That Chrysler Has Always Been The King Of Muscle

However, excluding the European brands they're now associated with, many gearheads have referred to the American car brands under the Chrysler umbrella as "Mopar" cars. Mopar cars are known and celebrated by muscle car enthusiasts across the world, it doesn't matter whether it's a Plymouth, Dodge, or Chrysler vehicle. And there's certainly no shortage of Mopar cars out there to drool over. Whereas other American brands, such as Ford and GM, have sometimes played it safe, Mopar was pushing boundaries and giving the people what they wanted — cool, stylish, and overly powerful muscle cars!  So without further ado, let's check out some of the fastest and greatest classic Mopar cars!

10 1955 Chrysler 300

While there's still an ongoing argument, many gearheads consider theChrysler 300 from the 1950s to be the first-ever muscle car. This classic was built using parts from the Imperial, New Yorker, and Newport, and it was designed specifically to dominate NASCAR.

The Chrysler 300 had a 300 hp 331 cid V8 engine, which was enough to give the granddaddy of muscle cars a top speed of a very impressive 127 mph. At the time, this made it the world's fastest stock car. However, things didn't end there though. In its second year of production, the 300 received a bigger engine that increased its top speed to a whopping 140 mph — that's faster than a lot of today's cars!

9 1968 Dodge Dart L023

Pretty much all the American carmakers were involved in the muscle car war of the 1960s. Whereas the Ford Thunderbolt and Corvette ZL-1 were the cars any self-respecting gearhead dreamed of at the time and went on to become highly-desirable classics, the Dodge Dart LO23 remains somewhat forgotten. 

The LO23 received a 426 Hemi V8 engine, fenders made from fiberglass, as well as a new hood, even the bumpers were swapped for lightweight items. In order to keep the weight as low as possible,Dodge removed anything deemed unnecessary, which included the carpets and the horn. The end result was nothing short of staggering! The L023 produced an incredible 535 horsepower and managed to do a quarter-mile run in the low nine-second range. Unfortunately, only 80 units of the LO23 were built.

8 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona

Almost 15 years after the Chrysler 300 dominated NASCAR races, another unstoppable Mopar stock car arrived — the Dodge Charger Daytona. Available with a 440 Magnum V8 or a 426 Hemi, the Daytona produced between 390 and 425 hp. All that power, combined with an aerodynamic front and huge rear wing meant the Daytona dominated the NASCAR oval tracks. 

The Daytona was actually the first NASCAR race car to break the 200 mph barrier.  However, these winged warriors weren't dominating the racetracks for long. At the end of the 1970 season, NASCAR executives changed the rule book and banned all Aero cars. These days, Dodge Daytona fetch several hundred thousand dollars at auctions.

7 1970 Plymouth Hemi ‘Cuda

The Plymouth Barracuda was one of the fastest cars in America. However, the performance-oriented Hemi Cuda was spectacular as well. Fitted with a 426 cubic inch Hemi V8 engine, the 'Cuda could deliver 425 horsepower and 490 pound-feet of torque.

The 'Cuda was capable of reaching 60mph in under six seconds. Unfortunately, because it was so expensive, it barely sold back in the days. Today, however, one in good condition can fetch up to $1 million at auctions.

6 1978 Dodge Lil’ Red Express

The '70s were a difficult time for muscle cars. It almost seemed like the whole world was conspiring to destroy them. Starting with the emission regulations, the oil crisis, and the economic recession made the '70s a mess. But while the government was busy regulating every muscle car on the road, someone working for Dodge noticed that the laws said nothing about trucks.

Hence, the creation of the 'Lil Red Express, which was launched in 1978 as part of Chrysler's “Adult Toys” lineup. As unbelievable as it seems, the truck was the fastest American production vehicle from zero to 60, beating even the 911 Porsche andFerrari 308. Long live the trucks!

5 1970 Plymouth Roadrunner Superbird

How can a Mopar list not include theRoadrunner? It’s arguably the coolest Mopar car ever produced and the design process was rather simple. Plymouth decided to produce something cheap yet powerful in order to attract more people.

And as expected, Plymouth succeeded with the Roadrunner and ended up creating one of the most popular cars of that era. Plus, the fact that they bought the naming rights from the popular Roadrunner character from the Looney Toons cartoon helped a bunch. Fitted with a V-8 engine, the Roadrunner was a true powerhouse.

4 1965 Plymouth Belvedere Altered Wheelbase

Just another stunning Plymouth, what else could it be? Except it's not "just another", it's one of the hottest race-spec Mopar cars ever built. Although there were two of them, both from Dodge and Plymouth—our favorite version is this Belvedere created specifically for drag strip wars.

Although it looks almost identical to the Dodge Coronet, the wheelbase was altered and the floor pans moved in order to improve weight distribution. The Belvedere was unbeatable in almost all races, delivering more than 500 horsepower. It’s truly gorgeous.

3 1986 Dodge-Shelby Omni GLHS

Chrysler was very close to collapsing during the early '80s. Fortunately, after taking a loan from the U.S. Government and succeeding with the sales of the K-Car and Dodge Caravan—the world's first minivan—it got back on track by the mid-’80s. Finally, with money to invest, Chrysler partnered with the legendary Carroll Shelby and created something memorable: the Shelby Omni GLHS.

Even from the name, you could tell it's an '80s car. But never mind the name, as the GLHS was an extremely tech-focused car featuring a 2.2-liter turbo engine that kicked out 175 horsepower and 175 pound-feet of torque. 

RELATED: The Sickest Shelby-Modified Cars Ever Made

2 1996 Dodge Viper GTS

Saying that the Viper was a gorgeous car in the early '90s would be such an understatement. Its launch wasn't only physical, but also spiritual as the subjective successor of the Shelby Cobra. The Viper was an outstanding car by any means. It featured a huge V10 engine and nothing else — no driving aids of any kind, not even anti-lock brakes.

Borrowing styling cues from Shelby Daytona racing cars, the Viper became a true homegrown supercar. Its crazy engine delivered 450 horsepower and 490 pound-feet of torque. Zero to 60 mph only took four seconds. It was absolutely crazy.

RELATED: Dodge Viper GTS With 37 Miles Looks Set To Break Auction Records

1 1962 Dodge Dart 413 Max Wedge

We're ending this list with the memorable Dodge Dart 413 Max Wedge to remind you of the glory days of Mopar muscle cars. Although the Dart started as a family car in the '50s, as soon as Chrysler joined the muscle car war, things changed for the better.

The name of the Dart comes from the massive 6.8-liter 420 horsepower V-8 engine it was fitted with. And, combined with the extremely lightweight body, heavy-duty suspension, and stripped interior, it was truly perfect for drag-racing. If you ever fancied going against Ford owners with a classic Mopar, this is the one you’re been looking for.

NEXT: 15 Memorable Mopar Muscle Cars You Wanna See


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About The Author
Vasilii Kulev (142 Articles Published)

Vasilii Kulev is a marketing specialist during business hours and a gearhead in his spare time. He received a dual degree in Journalism and Marketing from the American University in Bulgaria. Apart from cars, his other major hobby is music, and he's working on expanding his collection of vinyl records. Vasilii currently drives a 1997 Mercedes-Benz CLK 200K coupe and loves it.

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