The project is the brainchild of a couple of members of Chrysler’s Mopar Underground SEMA design team – a group of in-house, automotive enthusiasts who donate their spare time to SEMA project vehicles – and Michigan-based auto supplier, Quality Metalcraft (QMC).
SR 392 Roadster
It seems the team wanted to demonstrate that the 6.4-litre HEMI crate engine could be used in vehicles other than traditional muscle cars. The team’s mission statement was “to redefine the classic hot rod with a more functional urban and industrial attitude to create a distinctly ‘Detroit’ roadster” – whatever that means!
After several design variations were discussed, QMC stamped and performed the initial assembly on the reworked Shadowrods body, then fabricated and fitted the revised hood, hood side panels, lower rocker panels and doors to the body.
With the car’s extremely low stance, Shadowrods was asked to build a custom frame using a unique, “staggered-truss” concept. For the final build of the SR 392 Roadster, QMC turned to long-time concept- and show-car builders, Wheel to Wheel Powertrain of Madison Heights, Michigan.
As you can see, the roadster is finished in gloss black with a one-piece hood/grille incorporating the familiar Chrysler “egg-crate” design. The SR 392 definitely helps to illustrate the potential aftermarket appeal of the mighty new HEMI motor, and in spite of its diminutive size, this one-off roadster, which appears to run with open headers, will no doubt grab plenty of attention when the ignition key is turned.
Over in the GM camp, the company seems to have had a similar idea (hopefully, not the result of F1-style industrial espionage). They’ve built a similar, low-flyer concept from a heavily modified, steel, three-window coupe body, but in this case, powered by GM’s much-lauded 2.0-litre Ecotec four-banger, which has been turbocharged to produce 500 horsepower and runs on either E85 Ethanol or pump gas.
Chevy Ethanol Coupe
It seems GM may have missed a trick, though, as the company also launched its new Anniversary 427 crate engine at the show. This is a limited-edition, all-aluminium big-block based on the legendary ZL-1 engine, which, you have to say, would have been a great, traditional hot rod engine to have dropped into their coupe. Alongside this motor was a more affordable GM Performance Parts ZZ427, a regular, production crate engine that features most of the same, high-performance components of the Anniversary 427, but uses a cast iron cylinder block.