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Singing the Late Model Mopar Hallelujah Chorus
As an editor, part of my job is holding Ma Mopar to account when they do something boneheaded, like locking up PCMs to prevent performance mods or some such thing, but not this month. We just had an incredible weekend with the Team MoparMax race car, the Maulin’ Magnum, and I need to shout out to the world about what amazing cars the Imported from Detroit people make these days.
As you may know, the Maulin’ Magnum is a 2007 Dodge Magnum SRT8 street/strip car for which I'm crew chief and Alex Rogeo is race driver. We started out early last year as a bone stock factory car, added a CAI and cat-back exhaust, and ran a few laps at test and tunes at local tracks. And then things got interesting.
We made the car a project vehicle and test bed for late model Hemi mods. We started with a 50 hp nitrous oxide kit from Nitrous Express. Then we upgraded the rear end with Driveshaft Shop Level 5 axles, OS Giken limited slip and Richmond 3.55 gears. We wrote this all up in these pages for your benefit. We got a lot of positive feedback and discovered that there was a good demand for information and test results for performance mods on these late model cars.
We expanded our racing efforts and ran races in three series in two states. We upgraded the 50 shot kit to a 150 shot with window switch, fuel pressure safety switch and purge valve. We took the nitrous kit off and installed a Magnuson supercharger, which still resides atop our engine today (you can have it when you pry it from our cold dead fingers). OK, now we’re moving. Then we upgraded the factory torque converter, then the NAG1 transmission and the valve body, and we learned and shared what we learned with you. Then we upgraded the driveshaft. Now nothing from the flex plate to the rear tires is stock and everything we did is (or will be soon) in these pages for you to read.
So, there we are at the last NHRA Summit Series race weekend at Auto Club Famoso the third weekend of September. We raced for points at Vegas this year, so this was a standalone race. More importantly, the Div 7 ET Finals are at Famoso this coming weekend and we wanted to gather data on the car and track as we hadn’t raced there since July.
The car is as consistent as the US atomic clock in Boulder, CO, and as fast as get out now too. We ran 12.1x in 100 degree heat all weekend long. In fact, we added 90 pounds of weight back into the car to make sure we stayed under the 12.00 second limit for our Sportsman class. The Magnum was running 12.1 seconds in the quarter mile at a DA of well over 4000 feet at a race weight of 4490 pounds. In good air, we’ve run 11.6s all day long with fantastic predictability.
OK, so our late model SRT Mopar is fast, big deal, lots of late models are made into race cars, right? Ah, but as they say on infomercials, “wait, there’s more!” We installed a trailer hitch on the Maulin’ Magnum and we hook up a 5x8 trailer loaded with race and pit gear. The Magnum tows this 1,000 pound load 500 miles round trip to Las Vegas and will do this 13 times this year. And 200 miles round trip to Bakersfield, CA to race at Famoso a half dozen times. And we drive it to car shows, to get groceries and run other errands. And let’s not forget all of the day trips to run Thursday nights at Irwindale Dragstrip.
We’ve got 53,000 miles on the car, maybe 15,000 of them towing a load in temperatures up to 117 degrees across the Mojave in summer. We arrive at a track, swap the tires, convert the car to race mode and hit the strip and go rounds. And did I mention that we’ve never had the valve covers off? The whole long block is as it was when it rolled off the assembly line.
Here we have a four door street car, with full interior complete with nav system, stereo with subwoofer, moonroof, eight way heated seats, etc. It can turn the street tires into smoke generators at 60 mph just by flooring it, handles so well that we drive BMWs and Audis on the nearby Angeles Crest mountain roads crazy, stops quicker than all but a handful of cars. It eats up highway miles in smooth comfort (OK, the new exhaust is pretty loud, but we’re OK with that), tows a heavy trailer, and has proved it can win races and make final rounds. It can haul a small mountain of stuff inside and does, as we usually have it chock full of luggage and coolers while the trailer is full of pit gear. And it runs in the 11.6-12.1 ET range at the track.
We’re about to be one of maybe as many as 200 Sportsman racers competing in the divisional finals. But I know that we will be the only of maybe 500 race cars there this weekend that hauled the race trailer itself. And will have hauled it with the stereo bumping and the A/C blowing cold. Let’s see a Mustang or Camero do all that our magical Mopar can do. Mopar or no car baby!