There are certainly differences between old school and new generation Mopar technology. Back in the day, the 440 Six Pack and 426 Hemi ruled the roost; big-inch torque monsters that idled with a lope and roared down the street in body designs that have now become iconic. Today it is the 6.1 Hemi Charger and big Viper V10 that garner respect off the showroom floor, and though they don’t bark as loud as their predecessors, they also do not leave owners wanting for horsepower. As we all know, the guys with a passion for something different are quick to figure out a way to unite the two eras to create an ‘ultimate’ road machine with classic body lines and 21st century engineering.
However, as we have discussed in the past, this is more than simply swapping out a tried-and-true 318 for something more exotic (nobody is crazy enough to do this sort of change to a real Hemi or Six Pack car now). There is always some fabrication, modification, construction, and frustration in doing anything like this. Still, for Tom Brown of Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, the challenge of that part of the job is all part of the game.
Brown’s 1971 Dodge Challenger convertible is fairly sedate when looked at from the outside; the big 17” Momo rims and custom interior are the only things that give away that the car is far beyond stock. Lift up and peek under the hood, and you immediately find the long V10 form of 488 cubic inches. Hearing just a mild rumble when the engine is fired up, the Viper mill actually sounds milder than its pre-1972 counterparts, but can take the Challenger toward warp speed.
Brown is no stranger to performance-modified cars; the Motor City region-based roofing contractor has owned everything from big-block ‘vettes to a WO-coded 1967 Dodge S/S Coronet. The end game on this latest car was to create a platform that could go the distance – in his case, the distance of Hot Rod magazine’s legendary Power Tour. The car had to be reliable, run well at highway speeds, and yet be unique enough to warrant attention over the weeklong trip through mid-America.