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Wednesday, July 25, 2018


Dodge Brand revealed at the Chelsea Proving grounds in Michigan the 2019 Dodge Scat Hellcat Redeye Widebody, the Challenger Red Eye.   Impressive vehicles in part thanks to new fascia, interior upgrades, seating enhancements, new  air management for the engines and others enhancements to the design of the front and rear to allow for exceptional handling and drive.

All Dodge vehicles are designed with performance in mind. Customers want to see the engine and hear the exhaust of the Dodge Charger, Challenger, and Durango SRT.  After a FCA event in Milan it is known that Dodge has a future. That future is in performance.  Steve Beahm head of Dodge introduced the new Challengers at the Chelsea event.

Steve Beahm said no plug in or electric drives are being considered.  He said with the North American markets concentrating on SUV’s and Trucks they will further develop the Durango and Journey Brands.  Already the SRT Durango is a great looker and performer with the  Apache 6.4 liter Scat Pack V8 putting to the pavement 475 horsepower and 470 foot pounds of torque. I look forward to other versions of both Durango and Journey or new SUV models. Steve said they would look at possibility of adding another SUV.

Chris Cowland, head of Dodge’s powertrain development stated it is well know what electrification can do for the vehicles but the DNA of their customers is what Dodge is presenting today in their products. Sales are exceptional with the Dodge Brand.

With Maserati and Alfa plans for using electrification for performance enhancement all divisions of FCA will be looking at the results.  In having Alfa and Maserati testing many new architectures and powertrains Dodge will get to see where if any of their developments could be used by Dodge in the future.

If Dodge ever goes to electrification many have said that it would be ideal for a new Viper?  Alfa’s upcoming 8C and Maserati are building some performance vehicles using electrification.   Just a rumor.

The photos I took show off the 2019 Dodge Challenger models.  The press releases from Dodge stated that the Challenger SRT Hellcat and Challenger R/T Scat pack get upgrades and options their customers have asked for. Steve Beahm stated “The Dodge Brothers would be proud that we’re leveraging the power and performance of this proven engine to bring a Demon-possessed Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye to an even wider high-performance enthusiasts audience.”

Last years record setting introduction of the limited-production Dodge Challenger SRT Demon.  Dodge states the Demon was determined to be the mot powerful muscle car ever. Dodge is back to performance engines. No electrification for this Brand.  Using the most powerful engine- the supercharged HEMI Demon V-8.

“With 840 horsepower, a 9.65 quarter-mile time and Guinness World Record certification that it’s the first production car to lift the wheels at launch, the Dodge Challenger Demon earned a place in the record books,”  said Steve Beahm.

The Challenger SRT Hellcat gets a boost in horsepower and torque thanks to Demon. The engine that the Demon had is the same in 2019 Hellcat SRT.  717 horsepower and 656 foot pounds of torque. The Challenger SRT  Hellcat gets standard the After-Run Chiller.

All models get the newly functional, dual snorkel hood that is distinctive Dodge design themes from previous muscle cars. That includes the 1970 Dodge Dart Swinger and the 1971 Dodge Demon.

"We designed the SRT Hellcat Challenger’s new dual-snorkel hood to focus on another key historical Mopar design element and pay homage to our past with a modern interpretation that looks even more sinister," said Mark Trostle – Head of Performance, Passenger and Utility Vehicle Exterior Design, FCA US LLC.

Heat is the enemy of any high-performance powertrain, so Dodge//SRT engineers looked for more ways to keep the intake air as close to the optimum temperature as possible.

One key to the engine’s imposing power output is air – and plenty of it. The new, low-restriction, dual snorkel hood is fully functional and sealed to the air box.

When combined with the Air Catcher headlamp and an inlet near the wheel liner, these three sources give the SRT Hellcat Redeye’s high-output engine an 18 percent greater air-flow rate than last year’s SRT Hellcat engine (1,134 cubic feet per minute).

The revised air inlet path on the new dual snorkel hood results in an intake air temperature reduction of 4 degrees Fahrenheit.


The innovative,  SRT Power Chiller™, standard on the Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye only, diverts the air-conditioning refrigerant from the interior cabin to a chiller unit mounted by the low-temperature circuit coolant pump. Charge air coolant, after being cooled by ambient air passing through a low-temperature radiator at the front of the vehicle, flows through the chiller unit, where it is further cooled. The chilled coolant then flows to the heat exchangers in the supercharger.

The SRT Power Chiller™ lowers the intake air temperature further on the Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye, resulting in improved performance.

The After-Run Chiller, also an industry first, minimizes any heat soak effects, allowing the engine to stay in optimum operating temperature. When the engine shuts down, the After-Run Chiller, now standard across the Challenger SRT Hellcat model lineup in 2019, keeps the engine’s cooling fan and low-temperature circuit coolant pump running to lower the supercharger/charge air cooler temperature. The driver can track the supercharger coolant temperature on the SRT Performance Pages in the 8.4-inch Uconnect touchscreen and know in real time when the supercharger is at the optimum temperature for another run.

The 2019 Challenger SRT Hellcat lineup delivers improved performance numbers, including a new top speed of 203 miles per hours (mph), making the Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye the most powerful, quickest and fastest muscle car.

Challenger SRT Models  1/4mile elapsed time/speed       Top Speed
Redeye Widebody           10.8 seconds @131 mph                 203 mph
Hellcat Widebody            10.9 seconds @127 mph                 195 mph
Redeye                                    11.1 seconds @131 mph                  201 mph
Hellcat                                     11.2 seconds @125 mph                   199 mph

The Challenger SRT Hellcat receives a standard Tremec six-speed manual transmission, while the efficient TorqueFlite 8HP90 eight-speed automatic transmission is available.

The Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye’s supercharged high-output engine is paired to the TorqueFlite 8HP90 eight-speed automatic transmission. Internal changes to the transmission include an upgraded torque converter that delivers an 18 percent increase in torque multiplication when compared with the standard Challenger SRT Hellcat.

All Challenger interior trim levels feature standard cloth seats with available leather and Alcantara options.

Refocusing the Hellcat on its performance roots, the 2019 Challenger SRT Hellcat lineup features standard Houndstooth cloth performance seats.

Three other seat options are available:
  • Nappa leather/Alcantara with embroidered SRT Hellcat logo (available with Plus Package)
  • Laguna leather with embossed SRT Hellcat logo (available with Laguna Leather Package)  
  • Laguna leather/Alcantara with embossed SRT Hellcat logo (available with Alcantara Appearance Package)  

The SRT Hellcat interior features a signature leather-wrapped, flat-bottom steering wheel with a backlit SRT logo and paddle shifters. Red gauges with a 200-mph speedometer flank the 7-inch display screen, which features performance timers and a Hellcat logo splash screen at start-up.

Complementing the race-inspired cockpit are silver seat and console stitching, Light Black Chrome accents and a Gunmetal SRT Hellcat instrument panel badge.

The 2019 Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye has several unique interior features, including:
  • 220-mph red speedometer
  • SRT Hellcat Redeye logo splash screen
  • Light Black Chrome instrument panel badge with SRT Hellcat Redeye logo
  • SRT Hellcat Redeye logo on the key fobs

A new Satin Black spoiler is an option for the SRT Hellcat and R/T Scat Pack models. The spoiler is longer and wider giving it a great look while doing its job to hold the Challenger down on the pavement.  

“Line Lock’ is standard also on the SRT Hellcat and R/T Scat Pack models. The feature engages the front brakes to hold the vehicle stationary but allows the rear wheels free for a burnout to heat up and clean the rear tires.  The  burnout I would not use on the streets in Palm Beach or Grosse Pointe for potential tickets from the police is probable. 

Dodge’s Launch Assist is standard on SRT Hellcat and R/T Scat Pack models and helps to control wheel hop by reducing load in the driveline by up to 20 percent.

Improved Launch Control – standard on SRT Hellcat and R/T Scat Pack models. This improved system increases hold time from five to 10 seconds for optimal launch and consistent straight-line acceleration.

To enhance the looks the  wheels are 20 x 9.5-in. Brass Monkey forged aluminum wheels receive a new design for 2019.

The New R/T Scat Pack Widebody features the same fender flares from SRT Hellcat Widebody, adding 3.5 inches to the overall width, rides on sticky 305/35ZR20 Pirelli tires mounted to 20 x 11-inch forged “Devil’s Rim” aluminum wheels.

According to Dodge the performance Challengers at the track equipped with the larger six-piston Brembo front brakes, wider wheels and tires, and suspension upgrades featured on the R/T Scat Pack Widebody equate to 2 second faster lap times or approximately 12 car lengths at a 2.1-mile road course, compared with the non-Widebody Challenger R/T Scat Pack.
SRT Drive Modes and SRT Performance Pages are now standard on R/T Scat Pack.

SR/T Scat Pack models add power-bulge aluminum hood with heat extractors and illuminated Air Catcher headlamps formerly featured on SRT Hellcat to improve engine compartment cooling.

Exterior badging on the R/T Scat Pack includes new Scat Pack Bee badges that face forward on both fenders, while Challenger script and R/T logos flank both sides of the grille.

Inside the performance interior of R/T Scat Pack models are front seats featuring the Scat Pack Bee logo embroidered into the seat backs; new Dark Dub Plate finish on instrument panel and console and new Liquid Titanium accents on the steering wheel, shifter and cluster bezels.

Challenger R/T extends its performance capabilities with standard Super Track Pak features, including: performance suspension, enhanced steering, 20-inch Granite Crystal painted wheels, and steering wheel mounted paddle shifters (with automatic transmission).

Performance Handling Group on the Challenger R/T adds upgraded springs, sway bars, Bilstein shocks, bushings and mounts, helping to improve performance and response during spirited driving.

For the driver looking to get even more out of the Challenger R/T model, the new Performance Plus Package adds track ready 20 x 9.5-inch forged wheels riding on 275/40ZR20 Pirelli P-Zero tires, limited-slip differential and enhanced handling balance for improved cornering performance.

Rear Seat Delete Group that removes rear seating, rear seat belts and adds rear cargo net is now available on R/T and R/T Scat Pack.

New GT rear-wheel drive (RWD) model extends its performance capabilities with standard Super Track Pak features, performance hood, splitter and seats while an available Performance Handling Group features four-piston Brembo brakes (front and rear), wider 20 x 9-inch Black Noise wheels and a larger rear sway bar for improved driving experience and reduced understeer.

New 20-inch Satin Carbon wheels available on GT and R/T models with Plus Package.

Blacktop Package features new Black Noise wheels in 19-inch on SXT AWD and GT AWD or 20-inch on SXT, GT and R/T to update this popular blacked-out look.

Triple Nickel debuts as new exterior paint offering (late availability)

New Dark Dub Plate instrument panel and console bezel finish standard on all Challenger models

New Caramel Nappa leather interior option available on Challenger SXT and SXT AWD models.

Pricing for Challenger begins at $27,295.00.

The Challenger base model has 305-horsepower Pentastar V-6 mated to the TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic transmission, the 2019 Dodge Challenger SXT is the most affordable V-6 automatic in the muscle car segment.

Dodge states that the Challenger is America’s only all-wheel-drive (AWD) muscle coupe – with class-exclusive AWD capability with front-axle disconnect on two models for 2019: SXT AWD and GT AWD.

The Challenger GT RWD model is like the other base models powered by the 305-horsepower Pentastar V-6 and features standard performance elements, including hood with scoop, splitter, suspension, steering, paddle shifters and cloth Houndstooth seats.

Challenger R/T models feature the high-torque 5.7-liter HEMI® with 375 horsepower and up to 410 lb.-ft. of torque mated to either the TorqueFlite eight-speed or standard six-speed manual transmission. At a starting U.S. MSRP of $34,100, Challenger offers the most affordable V-8 in the segment.

“The 2019 Dodge Challenger lineup continues to evolve, with new models, more SRT Hellcat horsepower and new pricing,” said Steve Beahm, Head of Passenger Car Brands - Dodge, SRT, Chrysler and FIAT, FCA - North America.

Pricing without extras for the Challenger line of vehicles:
Challenger SXT RWD                                    $27,295
Challenger GT RWD                                    $29.995
Challenger SXT AWD                                    $30,295
Challenger GT AWD                                    $32,995
Challenger R/T                                                $34,100
Challenger R/T Scat Pack                        $38,995
$1,000 Gas Guzzler Tax
on manual transmission
Challenger SRT Hellcat                                    $58,650
$1,700 Gas Guzzler Tax
Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye            $69,650
$1,700 Gas Guzzler Tax

Production of the 2019 Challenger vehicles begins in the fall of 2018 at the Brampton, Ontario, Canada assembly plant. Dodge expects dealers will receive by fourth quarter of 2018.


Tuesday, July 10, 2018


MINI USA announced in their press release the upcoming debut of the MINI John Cooper Works Hardtop International Orange Edition to occur during MINI TAKES THE STATES, the brand’s legendary biennial owners road rally.

During the rally, which kicks off Saturday, July 14, in Portland, OR, and in Orlando, FL, MINI USA will showcase this special edition MINI John Cooper Works model on both the Eastern and Western routes. This boldly-colored, limited production special edition will also be on display in Keystone, Colorado, at the final gathering events July 20 – 22.

The MINI John Cooper Works International Orange Edition will be available at dealerships across the U.S. starting in fall of 2018 at a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting at $39,900. Pricing excludes the $850 Destination & Handling fee.

“International Orange is a bold color historically used to make great feats of engineering and aerospace design stand out.” said Randy Clements, Department Head, Product Planning & Aftersales, MINI USA. “In the same way, this exclusive color makes a dramatic statement to the performance of this special MINI John Cooper Works model – one that is sure to stand out among the crowd at MINI TAKES THE STATES!”

The MINI John Cooper Works International Orange Edition features unique appearance elements, including;
  • Orange painted body and roof combination
  • Edition Specific High Gloss Midnight Black Metallic Spoiler
  • Ferric Gray 18-inch Double Spoke John Cooper Works Wheels with 205/40-R18 performance tires
  • John Cooper Works Pro Exhaust with Bluetooth controlled flap
  • John Cooper Works Chrome Tailpipe trims
  • Custom Black Side Stripes
  • Carbon Fiber Mirror Caps
  • Custom Black Fuel Filler Cap
  • High Gloss Black Door Handles
  • Custom Front and Rear Bumper Decals

The limited production special edition also includes the following equipment as standard:
  • Panorama Roof
  • Comfort Access Keyless Entry
  • Piano Black Interior & Exterior Accents
  • Heated Front Seats
  • Sirius XM Satellite Radio
  • Harman Kardon Sound System
  • Active Driving Assistant
  • Automatic Climate Control
  • MINI Storage Package
  • Head Up Display
  • Touchscreen Navigation Package

I have driven John Cooper Special edition Mini’s since the early 1960’s. We brought through Canada one special edition with the leather manual sun roof, special wheels, and interior. The power of the special edition maximized torque steer. One heck of a car then and now. Back then no safety features or all-wheel drive models. No heated seats but what a driving machine. I look forward to driving the limited production model.


Sunday, June 24, 2018



Fords purchase of the Michigan Central Train Station following the purchase of the “Factory” is brilliant. The factory brought in 125 people working on mobility originally and will grow to 220 soon.  Now with the purchase of the Michigan Train Station known as the Mobility Campus we expect great innovations to be brought to life. Hoping that what they do will make life better for people just as Henry Ford originally envisioned when he brought the $5.00 minimum pay to his workers.

Ford states the Campus will be operational by 2022. After that they hope to bring an estimated 2500 workers to the new Ford Campus to work on future transportation, fuels, Artificial Intelligence, battery powered vehicles and even autonomous vehicles will make the Blue Oval even a bigger player in the future of transportation.  The space will house office, retail, and residential housing space.

What ends up inside the station's public spaces depends, in part, on what Corktown and southwest Detroit residents say they want to see inside the long-blighted building. And the same goes for the outside of a building added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1975.

Twenty minutes to Dearborn. The  Rouge,  American Center for Mobility at Willow Run, and the Ann Arbor technology centers are close to both Dearborn and Corktown. This allows for Ford to move from campus to factories and research centers with ease. Employees at Ford are already asking if they can move to the future Mobility Campus.  The surrounding area is enticing all ages to move back to Detroit and experience the revitalization, which Ford will be playing a major role. Look at what they have done with Ford field! Ford is spending a billion to redesign the Dearborn campus and some of those funds will be used in Corktown. Ford feels Dearborn and Corktown will work together with all the other centers.

The company's goal is to establish its Corktown site at the east end of an evolving mobility corridor evoking Michigan Avenue's earlier road to the Arsenal of Democracy.
The Train Station was a place to visited years past. It was the Ellis Island for Detroit. It is in Corktown that was vibrant and a beautiful town. Being one of the oldest towns Detroit, Wayne County and Corktown are excited and see the future of the area blossoming again thanks in part to the major investments Ford has made and will make in the future.

The amount Ford paid for the Train Station is not known. Bill Ford Jr. could not give a price on renovations. The renovations will turn the Train Station in to a place where people will want to be and visit.  Look at my aerials I took for the previous owners to determine what could be done with the Train Station.

The tower of the train Station is 500,000 approximately. It was known as the tallest rail depot. During its heyday it had 200 trains a day moving people and goods around. From 1884 until 1913, the Michigan Central Railroad ran out of a depot downtown at Third and Jefferson. The railroad’s business was growing, and the company had started an underwater tunnel in southwest Detroit in 1906. It was decided another, much larger depot should be built near the entrance to the tunnel, and Michigan Central began buying up land in the city’s Corktown neighborhood just outside of downtown in the fall of 1908.

By spring 1910, about fifty acres of property for the depot had been acquired with about three hundred small, wooden-frame homes being bought or condemned.  The city paid more than  $680,619.99 ($14.75 million today, when adjusted for inflation) in condemnation proceedings on Aug. 6, 1915, to acquire the land for the depot and the land in front of it for a park. The idea was part of the City Beautiful movement of the time, which called for grand public buildings at the end of dramatic vistas. The park was named Roosevelt Park in honor of President Theodore Roosevelt, who had died in January 1919, and the landscaping was more or less completed the following year. Construction on the station began after permits were obtained May 16, 1910. The steel framework of the building was in place in December 1912.

Michigan Central Railroad was a subsidiary of the New York Central Railroad, which was owned by rail tycoon William Vanderbilt. For the new station and office building — one fitting for the growing city it served — the railroad turned to the architects Warren & Wetmore of New York and Reed & Stem of St. Paul, Minn. The architectural firms had teamed up on the Grand Central Terminal in New York. Charles A. Reed and Allen Stem were known for their designs of railroad stations, while Whitney Warren and Charles D. Wetmore were considered experts in hotel design, which explains the hotel-like appearance of the building’s office tower.

The depot was to be formally dedicated on Jan. 4, 1914, but a fire that started at 2:10 p.m. on Dec. 26, 1913, rendered the old depot unusable and forced MCS to be rushed into service early to avoid a disruption of service. And rushed into service was an understatement: Newspapers reported at the time that within a half hour after officials were certain the old station was doomed, arrangements were made for trains to start using the new one. At 5:20 p.m., the first train left the new station for Saginaw and Bay City, Mich.; an hour later, the first train arrived, having steamed in from Chicago.

The Michigan Central Railroad saw hard times in the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s and the Detroit Riot’s led to decay of the Corktown community and the Michigan Central Train Station.  Cars were replacing trains and train transportation fell. 400 Plus train stations were sold in North America and train transportation fell continually. Penn and Amtrak went bankrupt their assets were sold. Billionaire Matty Moroun and his company purchased the bankrupt MCS for expansion of their trucking businesses and the operations of the Ambassador Bridge. Offices for commercial clients could fill the structure.  It never was done so the MCS was vacant and vandalized for 15 years.

On Oct. 3, 2003, Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick’s office announced he had selected the building to be renovated into the city’s new police headquarters. The waiting room was to become a public space with a restaurant and police museum, and the building, now nearly 100 years old, was found to be structurally sound. In his State of the City address on Feb. 24, 2004, Kilpatrick challenged Detroiters to “dare mighty things”.   

The Moroun’s have tried everything to develop the “Historic Designated” Michigan Central Train Station. The Morouns offered to the Federal Government the Jewel for Homeland Security offices.

If Michigan Central Station cannot be the centerpiece of the city’s rebirth, it should not stand solely as a testament to its decline.

The Moroun family has spent a lot of money in recent years cleaning the depot up, doing asbestos remediation and adding landscaping and architectural lighting. Seeing it lit up at night is truly a breathtaking sight. It instills hope for both the city, and for saving this architectural marvel.

If the Michigan Central Train Station were to be restored, it would be making a bold statement about the city’s future and preservation of its past. And it’s not like other grand train stations — such as Union Station Kansas City and the Nashville Union Station in Tennessee — have not been resuscitated from abandoned eyesores to gleaming city treasures. But finding the will and the hundreds of millions of dollars such a resurrection would require are formidable challenges in a city with Detroit’s economic and social challenges. Bill Ford Jr., the Ford family and Ford Motor Company are making this dream come true.

Governor Snyder, Mayor Duggan and Wayne County’s Warren Evans gave great speeches at a rally of nearly 5,000 people. Media, TV, cameras every place we looked. The Mayor even recalls when Detroit City Council voted to tear it down! Fortunately they did not have enough money to go forward.

The success Ford did with the Rouge and other buildings show me that they will do nothing but a first class renovation of the Michigan Central Train Station. It is rumored that Ford will keep the train tracks. If so maybe some trains will be coming to MCS?

Bill Ford Jr. stated at the press conference that "Mobility makes freedom and progress possible," challenging the attendees to imagine new ways of the poor and elderly getting groceries and health care, and people without cars getting to work. "Ford wants to be a leader in reimagining cities … that should be the point of technology, to make the world better." Stated just as Henry Ford would have envisioned.

Ford announced that the History channel would present “revival of Detroit” documentary July 1.  The history channels moderator stated the following. “There's an important symbolic value in restoring the station, because of what it represents and has represented in Detroit's history. I think the goal is to make Detroit once again the Silicon Valley of the 21st Century and have the station be the spark that helps make that possible," said Gillon.