Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Steve Saleen's SMS 570 and 570X Challengers Revving Up for Year-End Debut

Steve Saleen's new project, the SMS 570, can be looked for by year's end. It's based on the 2009 Dodge Challenger R/T. (Photo courtesy of SMS)

ORANGE COUNTY, California — When Steve Saleen's street-legal SMS 570 Challenger and 570X Challenger arrive at the end of 2008, they will carry sticker prices ranging from an anticipated $55,000 to $80,000.

The SMS 570 Challenger will be based on the 2009 Dodge Challenger R/T and use the existing R/T engine. The uplevel SMS 570X Challenger will use the block of Chrysler's 5.7-liter Hemi engine. But, says SMS spokesman Axel E. Catton, "Everything else is new, including the differential." The cars will be equipped with an SMS Supercharged 5.7-liter Hemi. Catton says the supercharger holds a "Saleen patent." More details about the supercharger are expected this summer. SMS said in a statement that the modified engine will deliver "respective power ratings from 500 to over 700 horsepower."

Saleen's new company, SMS (which stands for Steve Mark Saleen), issued an image of the SMS 570 Challenger on Monday. More images will be released over the summer. Catton said Saleen will not be able to get his hands on the 2009 Dodge Challenger R/Ts until September or October, thus making a late 2008 launch a distinct possibility.

Steve Saleen left Saleen Inc. in May 2007. His new company, SMS, will develop and produce performance versions of Dodges, Chevrolets and Fords, as well as supercars. SMS in a separate deal delivers technical support for CHAMCO, the U.S. importer of Chinese vehicles. SMS is said to be CHAMCO's technical arm.

What this means to you: When you combine Steve Saleen and Dodge Challenger you get the pairing of two powerhouse automotive icons. — Anita Lienert, Correspondent

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