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Blasphemy! HPP Builds Challenger-Based Daytona And Superbird Replicas

Posted in Car Accessories, car modifications, Cars, Chrysler, Conversion Kits, Design, Dodge, General, History, Plymouth by Kurt Ernst | July 30th, 2010 | 25 Responses |

I could look the other way when Mr. Norm’s used the new Dodge Challenger as the basis for their Sox & Martin Hemi ‘Cuda tribute car. The ‘Cuda and the Challenger were siblings, after all, and the Plymouth brand has since gone to the great scrap yard in the sky. I just can’t do the same thing with Heide Performance Products, who have recently announced kits to convert your new Dodge Challenger into a Dodge Daytona or Plymouth Superbird. This is wrong on so many levels that I don’t even know where to begin.

The original Daytonas and Superbirds were street legal race cars, sold in sufficient quantities that Chrysler could campaign them in NASCAR racing. Dodge began racing the Daytona in 1969, and Plymouth followed in 1970 with the Road Runner Superbird. Both cars featured an aerodynamic nose and a huge “basket handle” rear wing, which helped the cars stability at speed. The cars were so fast (capable of 200 miles per hour) that NASCAR was forced to change the competition rules for 1971. Both cars were restricted to an engine displacement of 305 cubic inches, which made them uncompetitive with cars from Ford and Chevy. Production of the original Dodge Daytona ended in 1969, and the Plymouth Superbird was killed off in 1970.

MotorAuthority tells us that the HPP kits start at $16,395 for the ugly ass basic kit, which includes a new front fascia with pop up headlights, an aluminum hood, the basket handle rear wing, new taillights, 20” wheels, a new instrument cluster, a retro shifter and HPP floormats. HPP also offers engine upgrades (including three different blower kits) and coilover suspensions. If you check “yes” next to every option box, your $16,395 will soon top out at $41,461. That’s a lot to pay for ugly, if you ask me.

I’d have no problem if HPP used the new Dodge Charger as the basis for the new Daytona / Superbird, but the Challenger just looks too good in stock form. The HPP body kits are the automotive equivalent of putting a fat suit and pancake makeup on Angelina Jolie; unless that’s your particular kink, it’s just not right, and I certainly don’t want to see the pics. I’ll give HPP this – the original Daytonas and Superbirds only had two doors, and the new Charger is a four door sedan. That’s still not justification enough in my book, but your mileage may vary. Am I right or wrong about the HPP kits?

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25 Responses

  1. aaron says:

    In the words’ of Dr. Phil, what were you thinkin’! Why wouldn’t they use the charger platform for this? challenger is the wrong body guys!

  2. ds440 says:

    Can someone explain to me why there is always some dude who wants to put a Daytona/Superbird wing on any kind of Mopar? Whether it’s a ’68 Roadrunner, a ’74 Duster, or an ’86 Caravan…. inevitably some Mopar ‘enthusiast’ just has to pop-rivet a big-ass wing on. For some reason it offends me….both as a Mopar fan AND an industrial designer.

    • muscle car says:

      ds440 , does industrial designer mean something ? are you jealous you didnt come up with the idea first maybe. it dont look bad at all. by the way, industrial designer as in toilets , out houses ? what maybe.

  3. Kurt says:

    ds440, on the plus side, Chrysler pulled the plug on the PT Cruiser before someone could “Superbird” it…

  4. skandolis says:

    sorry but the charger is a ewwww 4door, and just my 2 cents but those look right, not worth the price tag, but still very nice, i’m a mopar fan from way back,
    i’ts nice to see some homage paid to the daytona/superbird.

  5. [...] too long ago Kurt wrote an article on the Daytona and Superbird replicas that were being built by Heide Performance Products (HPP) and [...]

  6. [...] Products), a company that you may remember brought us their interpretations of the classic Plymouth Superbird and Dodge Daytona. Well this year HPP is back at SEMA, but this time they’ve jumped on the GM bandwagon with [...]

  7. DOUGLAS HAMNER says:

    I like the comment of the guy who said this should be on the Charger platform instead. The Challenger sits on the Charger platform ROFL!

    Who cares about historical correctness, I think it looks pretty good for a retro conversion. The old Superbirds were ugly anyways, who cares if the new ones are just as ugly. It just proves they are faithful.

  8. victor says:

    I think its cool but we need to keep legend car were they belong example we have jeeps with hemie that to me was a major mistake due to there is only one place that engine belongs and its in a dodge car NOT a jeep or truck because we are stealling the legend of what use to be rare from the old school cars that made them what they are and all though this concep looks cool we are steal trying to bring back some thing that belong in the pass lets just stop its cool that the old school cars are comeing back with the new looks and let that be are legend new school but we have to draw the line some were work with the new stuff and lleave the old stuff alone and let them have there well respected class of what america use to be.
    But I am so digging the trunk lid that reel cool

  9. Wyoming says:

    I like the looks and I had one built. 686 RWHP for now and it will go over 200MPH. It ran 180.2 MPH in the Texas Mile.

  10. Mr. Anthrope says:

    I saw the very car that “Wyoming” had built. It was in a local car show in Riverton, WY a few weeks ago. What a joke, indicating only that this guy has more money than brains. A Superbird was a Plymouth, not a Dodge. It was Road Runner based, not Challenger based. This car has a real identity problem. Not really a Challenger, and certainly not a Superbird. My brother actually owned an original Superbird in 1971. This ain’t it, and never will be; even way worse than making a GTO out of a Camaro.

  11. mike says:

    Very cool, someone is having fun. Muscle cars are all about having fun and turning heads. This turns heads and looks like fun. Well done.
    I understand matching numbers and making sure everything is authentic..but something like this gives you a chance to go back in time. Let’s face it, you’ll can’t buy a new 70 Superbird or Daytona drive it off the lot and hot rod it. You can buy a new Challenger start adding parts and have fun.

  12. Mike Davis says:

    I think the Daytona/Superbird for the Challenger looks great. The latest 4 door Charger looks like a turd on wheels. This car as that vintage style look. I want one!!

    • Kurt Ernst says:

      @Mike, someone showed a Pontiac GTO Judge kit for the latest Camaro at SEMA, and that looked pretty cool at first glance…

  13. brian says:

    Well the new dodge charger looks nothing the old one . which contradicts your statement for why you don’t like the challenger turned into these birds don’t you think.Maybe if they made the charger even remotely close to the original like i don’t know maybe two doors it would look okay.

    • brian says:

      Some of todays biggest mistakes were the GTO built on an australia car the pt cruiser and the FOUR DOOR charger i don’t rember ever seeing a four door charger back in the sixty’s or seventy’s.if they are going to show homage lets do it right at least with the new camaro being the same platform as the t/a they can get away with that repop.

      • Galane says:

        GM’s biggest mistake with the new (and discontinued) Holden based GTO was in not telling anyone it existed.

        The first year of the new GTO, Pontiac introduced a nearly all new model lineup. They sent me a fancy package titled “Meet the new Pontiacs”.

        Nowhere to be found in there was the new GTO! But the new FWD turd G6 was.

        I never saw a TV or magazine advert or billboard for the GTO but the G6 was heavily flogged everywhere.

        Can’t sell what you don’t tell!

        As for building cars on other platforms, it’s been done nearly as long as cars have been built. The original Mustang was built on a shortend Falcon then the first three years of the Cougar were built on a stretched Mustang.

        Contrary to ever ill-informed hit-piece, the Mustang II was NOT built on the Pinto platform. The majority of the II’s structure is completely different from the Pinto. They share front suspension components (which were redesigned for the 1974 debut of the Mustang) and part of the floorpan under the back seat. The rear axles have some differences and the rear springs are also different.

        The Mustang II and the Pinto share far less than the original Mustang and the Falcon, and the 1979+ Mustang and the Fairmont. Some bits of the 1979 model can be traced all the way through to the 2004 Mustang. 2005 was the first truly all new Mustang, and the first one to actually look like a Mustang instead of a piece of origami or a Mazda since 1978.

        Unfortunately for those of us who prefer a coupe style, we’ve been left out in the cold since 1995 with Ford only making semi-fastbacks and convertibles. I’d like to see someone craft a proper notchback on the 95-04 and the 05 to present Mustangs.

  14. Marti says:

    I don’t know about you guys wanting to trash the Challenger Daytona/Superbird. You like the Camaro which looks nothing like anything GM ever built. You also like the GTO which is biult on the Camaro. The Camaro is what you would call a wannabe. GM came out with it to go up against the Challenger and the Mustang. I think the Challenger Daytona and Superbird lets us remember the old days. The musclecar is something to be enjoyed and if you like this, then so be it. As for me, I am planning to have this done in both versions. I have a Hemi Orange Pearl coat Challenger R/T. I think it might look great in this color.

  15. omni says:

    This is the Challenger Dodge should of built. Back in ’69 the NASCAR guys knew the importance of a little thing called ‘aerodynamics’, but 40 years later Dodge is still building cars like they have never heard of it.

  16. Kyle says:

    I understand the desire to make your car look just like you want it to look. Why allow some new with software to determine what you like. What was Dodge’s last great design. Let’s face it the Camaro, Challenger, and Mustang had to go to 40 year old basis of designs to finally make something that we want… The only reason that I found this link was that I was thinking that a Superbird or Daytona kit would look great. IF someone wants to drop 70k+ to buy the Challenger and add the kit–I think it would be a pretty cool car.. Now if Porsche would only go retro with the 959–that would be cool.

  17. Brian Traynor says:

    I would like to get some more information on the new super bird and the daytona challenger with the srt8 package

  18. MIRANDA says:

    Dude sounds like history repetting its self ? Give it a thank! Man too cool,love it!

  19. Danny says:

    People hated the old Superbird and they hate this new one too. Carlisle had over 600 dodge challengers this year. A very large quantity modified and some stock. The car hobby is all about diversity. I saw redlinedodge.com put an amazing dodge challenger turned operating convertible on the stage and this thing had Richard Petty’s entire racing life hand painted. The owner told a story that he didn’t like big artwork but as the car came together the car became a tribute to the King. Dodge made no convertible just as Dodge did not make this superbird but people make history by doing things like this convertible and the challenger turned superbird Wyoming made. I say bravo for being brave, stepping out, and infusing excitement for all of us that can barely put it togetehr. I love old cars and can’t justify the old cars my dad had. I can afford and drive a six cylinder challenger because it reminds me of when my dad was alive and for this and those two cars I just talked about, I am eternally grateful for the memories of the greatest man that ever lived – my father!

  20. Galane says:

    I think they look pretty good. That four door “Challenger” is an abomination just as bad as the 1980′s four cylinder front wheel drive Omnis were with Mopar’s historic names slapped on.

    When is someone going to take a sawzall and welding torch to one and rebuild it with the correct number (TWO!) of doors?

  21. Chris H says:

    The HPP conversion of the new Challenger is very slick. The craftsmanship is top notch when compared to other companie kits of any sort. The reason I know the build quality of the conversions is that I get to drive conversion (Superbird 005) built on a 2009 STR8 on a weekly basis right next to (Superbird 007) built on a 2010 SRT8 (search mopar unlimited Everett/Seattle show 2013). Along with the conversions we bring a 1970 “ALL ORIGINAL” Superbird and are in the works of closing the deal on another 1970 Superbird. We garnish more than our fair share of attention at each show we have gone to this year and we hear an overwhelming approval on the overall look and idea behind these conversions, winning everything from best challenger, best modern muscle car, best graphics, people’s choice and even best of show with them. We do get the few people that will talk bad about the conversions and the choice to do that to a challenger. From my personal experience, those who talk trash about something are actually and usually jealous of what they can’t have. As stated earlier “to each their own” and the kits can be pricey when you do a full load out with all the options but well worth it, in my opinion of course. One last note, until you have seen one in person, keep an open mind of them as when you are up close and personal with one for the first time you will be amazed and overwhelmed with two, side-by-side.