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?