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1970 Dodge Challenger "Highway Star" Rides on Viper Chassis, Coming to SEMA
Highway Star is a song Deep Purple fans are all too familiar with. And, as of early November this year, when the 2020 SEMA show is expected to take place (fingers crossed), this will also be the name of a 1970 Dodge Challenger build like no other - here's a hint: its Hellcat motor isn't the coolest feature, since that title goes to the Viper chassis hidden underneath the Golden Era styling cues.

1970 Dodge Challenger "Highway Star" Rides on Viper Chassis, Coming to SEMA

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This isn't one of those SEMA builds put together in the last few months before the Vegas event. In fact, the project has been five years in the making, with this being the "nights and weekends" type of work.

The contraption is being put together in Wisconsin, coming from Mopar-focused shop HEMI Autoworks and amateur motorsport organization Ellsworth Racing. The latter already sees two gearheads racing a 1997 Dodge Viper GTS and a 2008 Dodge Viper SRT-10, so you don't need to ask where the inspiration came from.

However, when it comes to the ingredients of this Mopar melange, the second-gen Viper (think: 1996-2002MY) frame was sourced from a total loss that had been damaged by fire, while the Challenger body was reportedly grabbed from a rusted and poorly restored car.

As the quick surfers among you may have noticed, the gallery above mixes pics showcasing recent stages of the build with a set of renderings that aim to portray the final look of the car - this project didn't need a way into the garage that is our heart here at autoevolution, but it seems it built one for itself anyway.

You see, we first came across the machine thanks to the said pixel portraits, which come from digital artist Danny Berry. And, in the Instagram post showcasing the renderings, the artist explains the said crew approached him after checking out a story on a Challenger pixel work he had previously done. Well, here is that article, which we had published back in February. And since May is autoevolution's Muscle Car Month, we couldn't have found a better way to wrap it all up.

Now, since you're still here, it means you want to know more about the brewing of this Dodge. So let's start with the "sacrifices" its chassis and body had to make in order to be married.

The Viper hardware was stretched 13 inches (behind the seats) in to accommodate the classic Challenger body. At the same time, the muscle car's fenders were widened by over 1.5 inches each. Oh, and the hood, which is built from a Challenger R/T unit, had to be adapted (think: power dome) to make sure that supercharged 6.2-liter V8 lurking underneath fits. Keep in mind that the engine is mated to a Tranzilla-built Viper T56 six-speed manual, which sends the muscle to a modded Viper diff featuring 3.73 gearing.

While the car hasn't received its final wheels yet, these will come in Viper specification, being shod in 295/30 R18 tires up front and 335/30 R18 rubber at the back.

As you can imagine, this sort of mix is a bit more complicated than a LEGO build, but the fabrication, including the frame, body, the mandatory cage, headers and exhaust (notice the side pipes that stay true to the Viper culture), among others, was completed by the said team.

And while this Challenger obviously won't steer clear of half-mile and other max velocity events, it is built with time attack, hill climbs and open road race events in mind, so it will come with a number plate.

Thus, it will feature upgrades for the Viper coil over suspension, brakes and cooling. And with modern track masters like the Viper ACR (and perhaps the rumored 2021 Challenger ACR) shining out there, the project also has to get familiar to generating downforce. So, we're talking a functional splitter, diffuser and rear wing.

The scale footprint of the vehicle should sit at around 3,400 lbs (1,540 kilos), which means it will sit just above the factory Viper.

Entering the belly of the beast, the cabin will speak of the car's racer destination, but will feature basic goodies, since the team has big road trip plans: the idea is to have this puppy driving some 1,400 miles to SEMA 2020.

And while one never wants to skip the sweet summer months, we can hardly wait for the calendar to show November 3rd, so we can see this bad boy debuting on the floor of the Vegas venue, where it will also fight other all-custom machines via the Battle of the Builds.

 
 
 
 
 

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