Dodge's 4 forgotten SRT performance cars
Four different hot engines stuffed into four mundane vehicles. Firepower where you least expected it.
Dodge's SRT performance division has had some hits and misses over the year. Whether good or bad, the Neon SRT-4 carries a reputation that makes it unforgettable. The SRT-8 Charger and Challenger are mainstays of the American muscle segment. And, of course, the paragon SRT Viper will always reign supreme in our hearts.
The current SRT lineup is the hottest it's ever been. Buyers can choose 700+ SRT horses in numerous Challenger, Charger, or Grand Cherokee flavors. A more accessible near 500 horsepower trickles down to offerings in the rest of the Fiat-Chrysler brand.
But here are four more vehicles designed and tuned by SRT in the last two decades. Like the others, they're based on the everyday interstate heroes we know. I bring you one entry at each of Chrysler's choice cylinder counts: SRT-4, SRT-6, SRT-8, and SRT-10.
Dodge Caliber SRT-4
Should this exist? Probably not. But like it or not, here it is.
That's right, the Neon isn't the only SRT-4 to come from Dodge. Unlikely as it seems, the turbo fever struck this amorphous plastic lump. Like the Neon, this Caliber is available with only a six-speed manual. No automatic to save you here. The turbocharged 2.4 liter inline 4-cylinder nets you 285 horsepower! That's quite a bit more than the same motor in the Neon, which had at most 230 hp. It's worth mention though, that the Caliber has a considerable weight handicap over the neon of a few hundred pounds. This means despite the horsepower deficit, the Neon still runs 0-60 and the 1/4 mile quicker. A bit embarrassing, considering the SRT-4 Caliber was built about 5 years earlier, and was intended to replace the Neon.
The Caliber was by no means a good car. For your money you got suspension built from spare parts and fallen tree branches, and an interior ripped from your seedy dentist's waiting room. But the inclusion of an SRT-4 trim was an honest effort on Chrysler's part to inject some fun into this malformed, wheezing commuter.
The Caliber SRT gets points for trying. Less for performance, but remember: participation counts.
Chrysler Crossfire SRT-6
Not bad, for something out of Chrysler's Dark Ages. (Image: Topspeed.com)
I present: The SRT-6. I call it that because it is the only vehicle ever made under the SRT moniker to have six cylinders. Still, make no mistake: this was made while Chrysler was owned by Mercedes, and it shows. Underneath, this is a Mercedes-Benz SLK 32 AMG, It shares brakes, suspension, and the transmission. Even the supercharged V6 is straight from AMG.
No reason to complain about that, though, when it gets you respectable handling and an ample 330 horsepower delivered to the (correct) rear wheels. I don't blame you if you've never heard of the SRT-6 Crossfire. Production numbers were incredibly low, at under 4000 produced. If you ever see one, check it out. They're pretty interesting.
Dodge Magnum SRT-8
Sleeper? Depends on how much you know. (Image: Autoblog)
The Magnum was among the first to get Dodge's SRT-8 treatment, along with the Chrysler 300. It's got a 6.1 liter naturally aspirated Third-Generation Hemi making 425 horsepower. Definitely a hot station wagon.
Under the sheet metal, these are nearly identical to the SRT-8 Chrysler 300. Appropriate, considering the base Magnum is also a 300 underneath. But what's unique to the Magnum is the practical nature of a station wagon. Here's a wagon equally qualified for grabbing groceries and blazing the tires off its 20 inch rims.
Dodge Ram SRT-10
SRT-10 Quad Cab, Yellow Fever Edition. Face of a ram, heart of the snake. (Image: Mecum)
Perhaps in a throwback to the Viper V-10's truck engine origins, Dodge dropped the massive Viper powerplant into a Ram for 2004. 8.3 liters (505 cubic inches) produces a nice, round 500 horsepower. 525 lb-ft of torque keeps the robust chassis motivated.
The first year of this behemoth was available only in standard cab, with the 6-speed manual transmission also ripped from the viper. By '05, a quad cab was added, with a 4-speed automatic. This carried through for the final year, 2006.
The massive 22-inch wheels are modeled after those found on the Viper. Their massive 305mm width tires keep all 500 thundering horsepower well-connected to the pavement, assuming the driver behaves. V-10 torque has a way of infecting the right foot, motivating it towards the floor.
Contrary to what you may believe, these Rams accelerate and handle without much drama. The weight and fat tires keep a handle on the Viper's venom. These factors combined netted the Ram SRT-10 a Guinness World Record for fastest production truck in 2004, with a speed of 154.587 miles per hour.
In the end, 2006 saw the final SRT-10 built. Less than 10,000 were produced. Look out for these, there's nothing quite like them.