It’s SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) week! So we thought we would celebrate with one of the recent Mopar concepts we caught up recently with, that made huge headlines at SEMA a decade ago, this year. That vehicle, of course, is the 2009 Dodge Challenger 1320 Concept. While you can now go to a Dodge dealer and pick up a drag strip-oriented version of the Challenger with the same name, the first time that moniker was used was on the 2009 concept that really shook up the performance capability of the newly reborn modern-day Challenger.
Starting off its life as a 2009 Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak, the 1320 Concept already had drag racing in its DNA before the project started. For those of you who don’t know about the light-weight, stripped-down, race-only, special-order Dodge Challenger that pops up every couple of years, its the same overall car that NHRA Leah Pritchett won the SamTech.edu NHRA Factory Stock Showdown Championship, last year.
At the time, the Mopar Underground team wanted to go for a street-legal design, that would take the Challenger back to its roots during the early 1970s, but updated with the latest technology at the time. That vehicle, the Dodge Challenger 1320 image vehicle, named for the 1,320 feet on a quarter-mile drag strip, featured Mopar’s 426 cubic-inch, all-aluminum, HEMI® V-8 crate engine that generated 556 horsepower. The engine was equipped with unique Mopar-designed valve covers and a dress-up kit. Mopar’s long-tube headers and exhaust system allowed the cubic inches to breathe. Electric cutouts allowed the exhaust to bypass the muffler system, which exited through custom side pipes for some additional rumble at the dragstrip.
Power was put to the ground thanks to a 6-speed manual transmission through a custom Dynatrac rear housing with Mopar Dana 60 internals and a selectable, ARB locking differential. Dodge Charger Pursuit police wheels, widened in the rear, were strapped with Mickey Thompson street-legal drag radials to provide extra grip at launch. The four-corner, adjustable coil-over kit provided by Mopar as an option for the Dodge Challenger was also included. The system improved the handling of the vehicle under extreme loads from the 556 horsepower and 540 lb.-ft. of torque 426 HEMI engine.
The Mopar Underground team then painted the 1320 Concept in an eye-popping Acidic Hue paint, which is a nonmetallic yellow. The team then highlighted the menacing look with matte black graphics and 1320 decals on the front quarter panels featuring a drag racing “Christmas Tree”.
Other exterior features included several carbon-fiber components from Mopar’s design team and Seibon International. Those included a custom bulged hood with a massive scoop (with design cues from the 1968 Dodge HEMI Dart’s scoop), custom front spoiler, as well as a custom grille panel and headlamp surround bezel.
The interior was equipped with the bare necessities. Gone were the rear seat, center console, and stereo system in order to reduce the vehicle’s weight and maintain the 1320 Concept’s no-nonsense theme. A pair of performance bucket seats from the Dodge Viper, a sport steering wheel from the Challenger SRT8, and a Hurst shifter with a custom ball knob put the driver at focus for these drag strip monster.
While the 2009 Dodge Challenger 1320 Concept never made it to production, it led the way for vehicles like the supercharged 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon and the naturally-aspirated 2019 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack 1320 to be built and showed Dodge/Mopar’s passion for the drag strip never ended after 1974 when the original Challenger was discontinued.
2009 Dodge Challenger 1320 Concept Image Gallery: