In its 96-year history, the Chrysler brand has built a number of concept cars that have had a certain charisma about them. But there is one concept car that fits the criteria that not a lot of people remember, let alone have even heard of before. The Chrysler SR 392 Roadster is a unique design piece that first made its debut at the 2007 Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The Chrysler SR 392 Roadster started life as the brainchild of Mark Allen (who is now the Head of Jeep® Design) and Ralph Gilles (whom everyone knows as the Head of Global Design for the Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram, FIAT LATAM, and Maserati). Back then, both were members of the company’s Mopar Underground skunkworks team. The “Underground” design team was a group of in-house automotive enthusiasts, who donated their time to build special project vehicles.
For this unique concept, the Mopar Underground team required the help of Michael Chetcuti of Livonia, Michigan-based auto supplier, Quality Metalcraft (QMC), to create one of the most beautiful concepts ever from the Chrysler design studios.
The three men saw a challenge in proving that the 6.4-liter (392 cubic-inch) HEMI crate engine could be adapted to more than just traditional muscle cars or modified upfitted vehicles. Their idea was to redefine the classic American hot rod with a more industrial attitude with more “urban” function, creating a distinct “Detroit roadster”.
Allen stated in the official press release of the car, “It was important to convey the car’s theme as an homage to Detroit – the cool Detroit with its unique artistic community, music and gritty vibe. We used durable materials and let the mechanicals show to reflect the industrial backbone of the city. We wrapped it all up in a high-gloss black-and-chrome wrapper to evoke Detroit’s cool attitude.”
Thanks to QMC, who at the time designed and built stamps for the first-ever steel reproduction of a 1927 model year street rod body, designed by legendary hot rod builder, Jon Hall. The SR 392 Roadster is based on Hall’s Shadowrods XL-27 Roadster design.
“The core design elements of this roadster speak to the grit and industrial edge of our city,” said Chetcuti. “Things like the mezzanine flooring detail and Eames-inspired seating — these take an industrial cue but are by no means ‘rat-rod.’ It is a refined and organized design throughout.”
After several design variations were discussed, a final design was approved and QMC started to work on the reworked Shadowrods body. QMC stamped and performed the initial assembly, fabricated, and fit the revised hood, hood side panels, lower rocker panels, and doors to the body.
With an extremely low profiles stance, Shadowrods was asked to create a custom frame using a unique staggered truss concept. The car was then sent to the longtime concept and show car builder Wheel to Wheel Powertrain in Madison Heights, Michigan for finishing.
Adopting the name the SR 392 Roadster, the Mopar 6.4-liter (392 cubic-inch) HEMI V8 crate motor was good for 525 horsepower and 510 lb.-ft. of torque. The SR 392 Roadster harkened back to the Plymouth/Chrysler Prowler with its retro roadster appeal, but this time featured the HEMI V8 power that the Prowler lacked.
What do you think of the Chrysler SR 392 Roadster? Let us know in the comments or in the MoparInsiders.com forums.
Chrysler SR 392 Roadster Concept Image Gallery: