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Thursday, 27 January 2011 18:14

The Rich Evans Designs-Mopar Kit for Dodge’s Challenger

Written by Rich Evans
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We unveiled our made over 2010 RT Challenger at the Mopar booth at SEMA in November, 2010 (see cover photo). This is one of the coolest and most interesting projects I have ever had the pleasure to work on. Collaborating with the Mopar team has been a blast. A hard part was going through Mopar catalogs and deciding which parts and accessories to use.

This is a two-part article on how the project developed and to run through the steps and procedures required to build the car itself but also fabricating the parts supplied in the kit.

It started back in July when I teamed up with Mopar to develop a kit to turn the 2010 Challenger into a Mopar–Rich Evans build. A ‘more modern muscle car’ was the look we were going for and we wanted to able to install all my body parts within a two-hour period. I had about three months of work to do on this project to get the original car ready for SEMA 2010.

I was able to utilize some Mopar parts and create some new body parts for the Challenger, so Mopar guys can modify their own Challengers. I built most parts out of polyurethane, but the scoops and wing are made out of fiberglass. The front-lower spoiler and rear-lower spoiler and the wing will be factory mounted. The left and right rockers will require three drill holes and the left- and right-rear wheel wells will need three screws as well. For the scoop you’ll have to drill four holes. That, plus the parts, is all it takes to bring a stock Challenger to a whole other level.

Of course it takes a lot of work to get the kit to the point where installation is this simple. I received the car in July from Mopar, as promised. Mopar supplied the core parts, starting with the 451-cid HEMI® All-Aluminum Gen III Engine Assembly. The engine kicks out more than 550 horsepower, ramping up the already-formidable speed and performance of the Challenger.  Also supplied were: the Front Strut Tower Brace ($359, P5155002) Rear Strut Tower Brace ($505, P5155751) Suspension Kit ($1,750 P5155152) Shifter ($550, P5155277) Cat Back™ Exhaust System ($1,190, P5155283) Cold Air Intake System ($390, 77070029) Engine Cover ($362, 82212222) Header ($1,195, P5155235) and a Vented T/A Style Hood.

The sponsors on this project include Katzkin® Leather, BFGoodrich® Tires, House of Kolor, Scosche Audio Systems, Stitchcraft Interiors, MPG Caliper Covers, 3M, JB Composites—who is helping me create the body kit—Curtis Speed Equipment (supplying the wheels), Vegas Fuel Energy Drink (the energy drinks I need to get this project done) and Grant Steering Wheels (supplying the coolest steering wheel on the planet, with my design).

The Rich Evans Designs parts I’m supplying are a lower front spoiler, left and right rocker, left and right rear flare, rear bumper lower spoiler, rear wing, hood scoop and insert, fiberglass headliner, grill insert, bumper inserts, one-off Rich Evans designed wheels, the steering wheel made by Grant, strike kit for the outside exterior of the car, interior modifications done by Stitchcraft interiors using Katzkin® Leather.

So this is a great project and there’s definitely a lot involved here.    Mopar dropped off the 2010 RT Challenger, which was silver in color with black graphics on the hood (see first photo). I had some fiberglass parts I made a few years back and I started off with them as a basis to bring a modern muscle look to this Challenger. It saved time to modify some of the parts that I already had designed. Instead of using foam and Bondo™ and shaping them, I cut these parts up, lengthened them a little bit, so I can make new plugs. I take the plugs and make molds for polyurethane parts so they’re a little more durable. This way they’re easier to make, I can make more, and they’ll be less expensive for the public.

I’m going to start with the lower balance and build off of the stock balance. I’m going to use that for reference and give it my style, curves, I want to make sure that it fits right in factory mounting points. That’s the key to this, making it easy for the consumer.

I’m going to cover this quickly here, but this takes some work and a lot of skill. If you’re going to attempt to make any body parts or molds or plugs, start with something small so you can get a process down and you can move from the smaller to bigger projects. The more you build parts the better you’re going to get.

I’ve got the front spoiler done, I’m going to move to creating the scoop. I’m modifying a scoop that I’ve used on another project so I’m going to take some fiberglass and lay it down on the hood so I can get the right radius. I Bondo™ it down to the hood so I have a flange. That way I don’t have to remake that whole scoop I can just make the mounting point and make a new flange for it so it fits the Challenger hood. From there I’m going to shape it and pull another mold.

Getting past the scoop and the lower balance, we’re going to move towards the rear spoiler and the left and right flares and then work our way up towards the wing. On the rear spoiler we use the same process as on the hood. We take some masking tape and figure out how high we want to go with the rear flare. We don’t want to go beyond the body line so we’re going to map it out with some two-sided tape which will allow us to have room in our mold when we lay the fiberglass down. Mapping it out with two-sided tape is going to save us some time and allow a better fit when we’re mounting these parts to the body.

We also want to be able to take these parts on and off. That’s the starting point, then we come with the fiberglass mat, lay it down, let it dry, we’ll pull it off, cut it, and trim it. Then we’ll put it back on and use that as our foundation. We’re going to modify the flares I have, cut them, and then we’re going to shape them. Any time you’re building a body kit it takes a lot of sanding. If you think you’ve sanded a lot, but haven’t tried this, believe me, you haven’t come close. When you start to create plugs and then molds be patient. Don’t skip any corners, think about it, simplify it, make it easier. That’s the cool part about doing it yourself.

After we’re done with the rear left- and right-flares we move on to the rear spoiler. The rear spoiler’s going to be the same set of procedures. Mask everything off, build off of the rear lower balance that’s on the vehicle so we can have the same mounting points when we pull our mold. Obviously we’re thinking about how things are going to overlap. We want tight lines so it looks factory. When you put on this body kit it looks like you could have rolled it off the showroom floor. It looks so natural.

With the rear lower spoiler done, I move to the rear wing, which will take some work. That’s going to be fiberglass. I have to make new mounting points. When you pull the rear spoiler off the factory Challenger there’s four holes. Now I’ve got to make a platform. It’s more work for me but it’s going to be easier for the consumer. The consumer’s going to be able to buy my two part wing, screw the wing to the base. Then the base screws down to the trunk lid and is ready to go. Literally, in 10 minutes you can put this wing on and it transforms the whole look of the vehicle.

I’ve got the rear lower spoiler meeting the flares, so now I want to get into the rocker panels. The same steps are taken with the rocker panels: stretch them, lengthen them, to get the full kit ready. Now I mock up all the plugs that I’ve built and study it to make sure it looks right.

From the picture you can see the full mock up of the body kit. You’re probably wondering ‘where did the wheels go?’ I just put three-and-a-half inches on the rear of the car so now it’s allowing over a 15-and-a-half inch wheel on the back. That means better traction for the horsepower you’re going to add to this; if you have horsepower and no traction you’re just going to do a Flintstones’ maneuver. This is a well-thought-out process, allowing one-hundred percent performance.  I’m using a 15 and a half-inch wheel on this and the car will take it, no problem. With the mock up out of the way, I tear it down for my paint design. I pretty much tear everything down completely. I’ll paint all my parts and pieces as you’ve seen described in the past. That way it gives the best results for your end results of quality. I’m going to use an Orion Silver, part number BC02 Shimrin 2. It’s a new product out by House of Kolor. It’s a great product to use, makes it simplified, covers better— they’ve really put a lot of time into this so I thank House of Kolor for stepping up. Visit houseofkolor.com for more information on the Shimrin 2 product.

What I’m going to do is base everything in Silver, then put the doors, fenders, hood and the backlid back on. Then I’m going to lay out my graphic design so everything lines up perfectly.

We’ll finish this project next month and take you through getting  the car to SEMA.

Visit my site at huntingtonbeachbodyworks.com to see and purchase the parts. Until then.

Read 5292 times Last modified on Tuesday, 13 December 2016 23:46
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