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Detroit Auto Show Highlights


 11.1.05.   There’s two things we all remember about the Dukes of Hazzard – Daisy Duke and the Dodge Charger………maybe that’s three things!

Now, more than 20 years on she’s back looking as good as ever, as young as ever and full of muscle. We’re talking about the Charger here, of course.

Launched at the Detroit Motor Show, the all-new Dodge Charger carries forward many of those styling cues from the past and it retains the legendary performance.

All-new Dodge Charger

Under the hood there’s a 5.7-litre HEMI V8 engine loaded with 340bhp and 390lb ft of torque. It can go from zero to 60mph in just six seconds – no figures available on how fast it goes, you’ll just have to try it out for yourself.

For those who do not fancy jumping ravines and blasting out the air horns, there is also a 3.5-litre high output V6 offering 250bhp and 250lb ft of torque.

Featured on both models is a five-speed automatic transmission with AutoStick which gives the choice of fully automatic or manual shift selection.

Unlike its predecessor, a fairly utilitarian model aimed at young buyers, the new Charger bristles with advanced technologies such as MDS, a system which seamlessly alternates between high fuel-economy, four cylinder mode on the V8 engine when less power is needed.

There’s also a bunch of other stuff for safety reasons including electronic stability programme and emergency brake assist. The Duke boys would have soon unwired that lot.

The Dodge Charger was one of few stars at a somewhat muted Detroit Motor Show normally dominated by high-energy razzamatazz. Chrysler apart there was little to set the heart pumping.

The somewhat insensitively named Chrysler Firepower caught the eye, a grand tourer concept car with a 6.1-litre version of the HEMI(R) V8 with 0-60 acceleration of less that 4.5 seconds and a top speed of 175mph.

Chrysler Firepower concept

Ford’s idea of fun, the Shelby GR-1 concept, looked at how the company’s lineage of performance project cars will continue in the future. A fairly dramatic front-engined, two-seat, fastback supercar with a 605bhp V10 engine.

It also showed a road-tested version of the Ford GT suspension with a stunning new polished-aluminium surface finish.

Ford Shelby GR-1 concept

On the finished product side there was, of course, the Chevrolet Corvette ZO6 scheduled to go into production in the autumn. This moves GM into uncharted territory in terms of performance and handling.

Corvette Z06 and racing version on display

Elsewhere at GM, budget brand Saturn also moved into uncharted territory with the Sky, a two-seat convertible aimed at improving the badge’s somewhat anonymous face.

Saturn Sky roadster

This is America and Detroit would not be Detroit without a fair sprinkling of sport utilities the sized of small houses.

More modest among these was the fun-looking Jeep Hurricane concept which looks like a cross between a go-kart and a Wrangler. Jeep also had the Gladiator concept, a cross between a pick-up and…..well, a Wrangler.

Jeep Hurricane Concept

Ford’s SUV concept offerings were the Fairlane, reviving an old name in a vehicle which did a pretty good job of impersonating a Range Rover, while the unfortunately-named SynUS looked something like a security van for hot rod enthusiasts.

It's a Ford Fairlane - but not as we know it!


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