Challenger Convertible to Bow at SEMA

October 20, 2008
GOTCHA. Or at least Florida-based Coach Builders Ltd., an aftermarket cabriolet converter firm, according to Carscoop, got us, prompting a feverish double-take at the evil green, uber-'70s bad boy with a dropped top and the HEMI 6.1-liter from the Challenger SRT8. Make that a Vortech-supercharged 6.1-liter HEMI, which Carscoop says will belt out 425 to 560 horsepower and a tarmac twisting 510 pound-feet of torque.

Looking like a grinning Grinch who stole your Civic, Coach Builders Ltd.'s creation will make its grand public debut at SEMA rolling proudly on Foose 22s and sporting SRT nomenclature on its muscled rear haunches. This conversion makes the Challenger look arguably better, accentuating the car's long hood, shapely rear, and planted stance.

The cost of the conversion starts at $16,000 and rises if you want more bling like the show car's custom wheels, paint, and KW coil-over suspension kit. This lands the modified Challenger in the $58,000 neighborhood, quite a bit steeper than the Mustang convertible or the upcoming Camaro convertible.

What's not known is the types of structural bracing employed by Coach Builders Ltd. after chopping the Challenger's top. Great looks are one thing, but cowl shake like the old '80s-era Ford Fox platform (Mustang GT Convertible) would be unacceptable in this day and age. The Challenger platform is no doubt a great place to start, sharing structural lineage with the stout last-gen Mercedes E-Class, so we have high hopes. But even modern convertibles use additional structural bracing and frame stiffening to keep shake and flex in check, especially where stiff suspensions and huge wheels are involved. Regardless, we can't wait to hear comments from a first drive.--Colin Mathews

Coach Builders Ltd. Challenger Convertible

Coach Builders Ltd. Challenger Convertible

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