Claremore, Oklahoma, United States
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, at least one man has reported that his 2007 Dodge Grand Caravan stalled unexpectedly on the highway shortly after being refueled. The unidentified man who contacted NHTSA regarding the issue cited as many as eight similar instances reported by other drivers.
NHTSA has announced that it will launch an inquiry into this issue, which could affect as many as 160,000 minivans from Dodge and Chrysler that were sold in 2007 (or more, if a problem is found that extends to additional models years, we'd assume). As of yet, there's no formal investigation, let alone a recall, on these vans, as the agency is merely determining if further action is needed.
Two months ago, Chrysler recalled nearly 700,000 vehicles, the majority of which were minivans, from the 2008-2010 model years to replace ignition switches after an investigation found that their weak springs and detent positions could fool a driver into thinking the car was in the "Run" position, when it's actually in the "Accessory" position.
Students and teachers at a Washington community college are up in arms following an order from Chrysler that it must destroy the pre-production Dodge Viper that was donated to the school's automotive technology program ten years ago.
The Viper in question is said to be the fourth off the production line, based on its VIN, and has had its emissions controls disabled, allowing its ten-cylinder engine to produce 600 horsepower, according to a report from Yahoo! Autos. As one of the first Vipers ever produced, the school's AT instructors claim it could be worth $250,000 in a museum, while a local news report purports that Jay Leno once tried to purchase the car, but the sale was prevented by Chrysler.
As pointed out by our friends at Autobytel, though, there are a lot of things in this story that don't quite add up. Immediately noticeable from the news report embedded below - which shows the car at South Puget Sound Community College - is that the car in question is not a 1992 model. When the Viper went on sale in 1992, it was only available as an RT/10 with a (flimsy) soft top, like the red car shown above. But the car featured in the report from KING5 News (inset image) is clearly a hardtop Viper GTS, which didn't enter production until 1996. And even if, as reported by a local newspaper, the hardtop featured is a prototype, it doesn't explain the lack of another iconic feature of the first Vipers - their distinctive side pipes. This kind of pokes holes in the school's argument that this is the fourth Viper to ever roll down the line. At best, this appears to be a pre-production Viper GTS.
The reborn Dodge Challenger might be getting a bit long in the tooth, having been on the market in its current form since 2008, but Chrysler isn't going to give up on its brutish, full-size two-door just yet. For this year's SEMA Show, the Challenger will be getting a new Mopar edition, as well as a retro-cool shaker hood on the 5.7-liter, Hemi-equipped R/T models.
As we mentioned last night, the Shaker Package will cost $2,500, but includes the Super Track Pak (new steering rack, brake linings, upgraded shocks and 20-inch Goodyear Eagle F1 Super Car tires), a $595 option on its own. The shaker hood result in a performance bump of any kind, but the blacked-out, pop-up scoop is a nifty feature that hasn't been seen on a production car since the Ford Mustang Mach 1 in the early 2000s.
The Mopar '14 Challenger (pictured right) follows the cues of previous Mopar Editions, which have included the 2010 Challenger, 2011 Charger, 2012 300 and 2013 Dart. Only 100 Mopar '14 Challengers will be produced, and they'll include the new shaker hood, Mopar's distinctive blue graphics and wheels, and whatever is pilfered from the accessory catalog.