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1962 Ghia L6.4

1962 Ghia L6.4

The Ghia L6.4 was just about as exclusive as you could get in the 1960s, as it was designed and built only for actors and other high rollers in Hollywood. The final of the 26 Ghia L6.4s ever built was built for one of the largest stars of that era, Dean Martin. Martin was not the only Rat Pack member to own a L6.4, as Frank Sinatra also owned one, as did other Rat Pack members.

Recently, one of the 26 Ghia L6.4s built, the one owned by Dean Martin, was put up for auction on eBay as Hyman Ltd. got its hands on Martin’s old L6.4. For a car of its age, the modern features are plentiful, but it still wasn’t enough for Dean Martin, as he shipped the car off to George Barris, “Hollywood’s King of the Kustomizers,” to have even more customizations performed on this already rare vehicle. This customization turned Martin’s L6.4 into a one-of-a-kind vehicle.

Update 08-19-2016: This article has been updated with new images from RM Sotheby’s Auction at Monterey Car Week in 2016.

Click past the jump to read the full review on this vehicle and see how it has held up throughout the years.

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The Pacifica Hellcat – Industry Game Changer Or Inevitability?

The Pacifica Hellcat – Industry Game Changer Or Inevitability?

What does Chrysler’s 707-horsepower minivan mean for the future of performance?

At this point, you’ve no doubt heard the news that Chrysler is cramming the supercharged Hellcat V-8 into its Pacifica minivan, while also adding AWD, performance suspension, and all the accompanying bells and whistles needed to harness such prodigious output. While it might seem a bit crazy at first blush, we should have seen it coming.

I’ll explain. These days, high-level performance is available in just about every shape and size imaginable. Sure, you still have the traditional lead-sled muscle cars and nippy track carvers – those never went away. But if you look around, you’ll also notice 200-mph luxury cruisers, hot rod SUVs, and all-electric super sedans. With that in mind, the Pacifica Hellcat actually makes sense.

Which raises a few very interesting questions – what should we expect from the competition, and more importantly, what will the future of performance vehicles look like now that the Pacifica Hellcat is a reality?

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

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Chrysler Pacifica Hellcat Test Mule Spotted

Chrysler Pacifica Hellcat Test Mule Spotted

New high-performance van already undergoing prep for production

As Chrysler gears up to release the new Hellcat-powered Pacifica later this year, our spy photographers managed to snag a shot of a pre-production mule undergoing road tests just outside FCA’s Auburn Hills headquarters. While the mule lacks a few of the aerodynamic enhancements we expect to see on the finalized design, the plus-sized wheels and meaty tires are clear indicators of the van’s sporting intentions.

For now, it looks like the tester is equipped with lightweight, five-spoke rollers wrapped in Pirelli P-Zero rubber. Our photographer also managed to catch the tire sizing – 265/40/R22, leading us to believe the Pacifica Hellcat may get larger-diameter wheels than its Charger and Challenger siblings. Looking at the slim fender gap, it’s also obvious this tester is equipped with the Hellcat’s upgraded suspension package, which means Chrysler is already looking into real-world NVH development.

Hopefully, we’ll get to see the supercharged minivan undergoing furthering testing at FCA’s Chelsea Proving Grounds soon, which should point to a timeframe for the debut of Chrysler’s latest performance model.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

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2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hellcat

2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hellcat

FCA’s Ralph Gilles Announces 707-horse Minivan!

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is building a Hellcat-powered Pacifica minivan! That’s what Ralph Gilles, FCA’s Head of Design, tells TopSpeed in an exclusive phone interview. The automaker, with the help of SRT’s engineering team, will produce the heavily modified family-hauler for the 2017 model year.

You may recall Gilles’ January Instagram post of a hand-drawn sketch showing a low-slung Pacifica-looking vehicle with low-profile tires on large wheels and pronounced aerodynamic features. The post, which has received more than 700 likes and 60 comments, started the Pacifica Hellcat rumors.

“The Instagram post was something done in pure fun over dinner,” Gilles said in the phone interview. “But it quickly turned into something else. It made the email rounds here at the office and soon ended up in Sergio’s inbox.” Gilles laughed, saying he thought he was in trouble when FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne called him into his office. “Mr. Marchionne didn’t sound amused when he paged me, but when I walked in his office, he had my sketch printed out. ‘Can you build it?’ he asked. I told him ‘absolutely.’” Gilles admitted the project requires a sizeable investment, both in cash and engineering hours.

SRT’s engineering team is handling the project. The Pacifica‘s chassis is being completely reworked in order to fit the Hellcat V-8, eight-speed automatic transmission, and AWD configuration. Gilles says the powertrain is borrowed from the upcoming Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk – itself a Hellcat-powered SUV with AWD.

Though the final design hasn’t been set in stone, Gilles did give us a few ideas how the high-powered minivan will look. “It’s the perfect sleeper,” he chuckled during the candid conversation. We then had our in-house designer construct what the Pacifica Hellcat might look like. There’s also more details about the vehicle past the page break.

Continue reading to learn more about the Chrysler Pacifica Hellcat.

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Chrysler Launches Cool Star Wars Commercials: Video

Chrysler Launches Cool Star Wars Commercials: Video

December 18, 2015 will be the end of the world. Ok, that’s not really true, although it might as well be for fans of Star Wars who have waited since Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith was released exactly 10 years ago. So yeah, the next installment in the gargantuan movie franchise, The Force Awakens, is a huge deal. Naturally, companies are already trying to hitch their wagons and leverage all that attention back to their brands.

Fiat Chrysler isn’t exempt from this and exactly two weeks before the most awaited movie this year opens, the automaker has rolled out an army of commercials for its sub-brands. All in all, there are five commercials that will likely be played ad naseum over the next two weeks, featuring Dodge, Chrysler, Fiat, Jeep, and Ram. Oh, and all five commercials are heavily tied into Star Wars in their own unique way.

I’m tempted to just let everyone skip through the next few paragraphs and just watch the commercials. But I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out how Fiat Chrysler really went all-out in promoting what might as well be a majority of their model range. By my count, a total of 16 models were shown across the five commercials. There were five Dodge models, five Ram models, three Chryslers, two Fiat Abarths, and the Jeep Renegade.

It’s a good strategy to hedge the popularity and hype surrounding the Force Awakens to promote your own cause, which in Fiat Chrysler’s case would be its “Year-End Blockbuster Sales Event”.

I’m not a big Star Wars fan, but I have seen the previous six movies and I’m going to check out The Force Awakens when it hits cinemas. I just hope that after spending the next two weeks drowning in these commercials, I don’t get to see them in the cinemas before the movie starts.

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Its Official: North America Won't Get The Refreshed Chrysler 300 SRT

Its Official: North America Won’t Get The Refreshed Chrysler 300 SRT

If you were hoping to plant your rear end in a refreshed version of the 2013 Chrysler 300 SRT, you might as well settle for the current model. The updated version of the 300 SRT isn’t going to be released in the United States. Between declining popularity here, and Fiat Chrysler’s intentions to make SRT a Dodge-only performance brand, it doesn’t make sense to release it here. It will, however, be released in Japan, Indonesia, South Korea and New Zealand, among other markets throughout the world.

For those of you who haven’t paid attention for the past couple years, SRT is all about performance. When you compare the 300 SRT to vehicles like the 2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat and the 2015 Dodge Challenger Hellcat, the 300 SRT just doesn’t appear to stack up to where Chrysler wants to go with the SRT brand name. Naturally the inability to have it will naturally make you want it more, so I might as well tell you what you are missing out on. In other markets, the 300 SRT will come with an eight-speed automatic transmission, a 6.4-liter Hemi V-8 that puts out 470 horsepower, and updated styling all the way around. Interested in my thoughts? Read on, then let me know what you think.

Continue reading for the full story.

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Fiat Chrysler Trademarks "Barracuda"

Fiat Chrysler Trademarks "Barracuda"

The 1964-1974 Plymouth Barracuda has been out of production for more than 40 years now, but the name has been popping up in the rumor mill with great frequency over the last six years, and Fiat Chrysler only keeps fanning the flames. The latest Barracuda-related news comes from a trademark filing with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for the name under “motor vehicles, namely, passenger automobiles, their structural parts, trim and badges.”

Chrysler enthusiast site Allpar spotted this trademark news, which was filed on June 23rd, but is quick to point out that it doesn’t necessarily mean that FCA has any plans to apply the name to a future vehicle. Trademarks are updated all the time, and the site even speculates that it could be just to maintain licensing.

As for the rumors of a next-gen Barracuda, they started popping up about the same time as the Challenger’s arrival, and most recently as an SRT-badged replacement for the Dodge Challenger. Of course, that never happened and most likely won’t, especially with the SRT brand being folded back into Dodge.

Either way, only time will tell, but with the strong streak that FCA has been on recently, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see a Chrysler Barracuda sports car hit the road in the near future.

Continue reading for the full story.

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Chrysler Plans To Bring The 300 SRT Back

Chrysler Plans To Bring The 300 SRT Back

When the Chrysler 300 received a facelift for 2015, the SRT trim level was dropped for the U.S. market. But plans are afoot to bring the trim level back, and this raises a few questions. For starters, the SRT trim level for the 300 was originally the result of SRT being made into its own division, a bit like AMG is to Mercedes-Benz. But it has now been rejoined with Dodge, and so an SRT product from a division other than Dodge is seemingly something that shouldn’t happen. Not to say that it’s impossible to wrap your mind around, but still an unexpected move.

Chrysler replaced the SRT with the 300S, a 363-horsepower version of the car, with a 5.7-liter V8. It falls well short of the 470 horsepower produced by the 2014 Charger SRT8, Dodge’s performance version of the platform, but it’s currently the only performance option for the car. Of course, Chrysler could simply swap the 5.7-liter engine in the 300S out for the 6.4-liter unit from SRT8 products without changing the badging. But whatever the approach, we’re happy so long as there’s a faster 300, and the whole thing is likely to get shaken up again with the new generation in 2018, anyway.

Continue reading to learn more about the Chrysler 300 SRT.

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Fiat Chrysler Plans 20 New Models By 2016

Fiat Chrysler Plans 20 New Models By 2016

In a move that would see an expansion to challenge the likes of General Motors Co., Toyota Motor Corp., and Volkswagen AG, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is looking to invest $55.5 billion to expand the Alfa Romeo, Jeep, and Maserati lineups, with 20 new models hitting the road by 2016 to attract customers around the globe. The new models would include two new Alfa Romeos and the Maserati Alfieri.

According to a report from The Detroit News, CEO Sergio Marchionne hopes to boost sales by 60 percent to seven million cars in 2018, following a boost in sales to over five millions cars this year. The automaker expects increased demand in worldwide markets including Brazil, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and North America. 

The Detroit News also reports that FCA is adding over 1,000 new workers to the Italian plant building the Jeep Renegade in order to help meet demand. 

So far, the automaker hopes to cut debt by raising $5 billion with a separation of the Ferrari brand and the selling of a 10 percent stake in the unit on a stock market later next year. 

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles was created last year through the merger of Fiat S.p.A and Chrysler Group, and is represented by numerous brands, including Dodge, Lancia, Ram Trucks, Abarth, Mopar, and SRT.

Click past the jump to read more about Fiat Chrysler’s new 20 models.

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Revised Chrysler 300 SRT Will Not be Offered in North America

Revised Chrysler 300 SRT Will Not be Offered in North America

SRT is no longer a separate brand and has returned to its position the tuning arm for all Chrysler vehicles. Having showcased its most recent creations — the astounding Challenger and Charger Hellcats — SRT is now focusing on refreshed versions of the Jeep Grand Cherokee and the Chrysler 300. Both vehicles are up for a facelift in 2015, which means their beefed-up siblings will arrive shortly after. However, while the Grand Cherokee SRT is scheduled to continue in a similar form, the 300 SRT is reportedly being phased out as a North American model.

That’s the word from Auto News, which claims the high-performance sedan will no longer be sold in the United States, but will continue in select right-hand-drive countries overseas.

The news is not exactly shocking, as Fiat-Chrysler’s five-year plan makes no mention of the 300 SRT beyond 2015, which signals the nameplate’s demise. However, it’s surprising to see the sedan continue outside North America, which basically means outside its main market. An awkward decision if you ask me, but since Auto News quotes no actual sources, we’ll have to wait for an official confirmation on those plans.

Note: 2013 Chrysler 300 SRT8 pictured here.

Click past the jump to read more about Chrysler 300 SRT.

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2014 Chrysler 300S by Mopar

2014 Chrysler 300S by Mopar

Never one to miss a chance to peddle its wares at the SEMA Show, Mopar will roll into Las Vegas with more than 20 highly modified vehicles, ranging from the small Fiat 500 to the recently launched SRT Viper.

With the show inching closer, Mopar has revealed the first details on the models it will present in Las Vegas. It started off these announcements with a SEMA-prepped 2014 Chrysler 300S.

The 2014 300S is draped in a Phantom Black tri-coat paint combined with a set of 20-inch rollers borrowed from the Chrysler 300C John Varvatos Limited Edition painted Mopar bronze.

The 300S is further distinguished by a 13-bar, black "Gotham" grille surround, a black SRT rear spoiler and a lowering kit that drops the full-size sedan closer to the ground, giving it a more aggressive look and helping it handle a little better.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2014 Chrysler 300S by Mopar.

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2013 Chrysler 300 SRT8

2013 Chrysler 300 SRT8

The SRT8 version of the current-generation Chrysler 300 was unveiled at the 2011 New York International Auto Show and came up with a series of improvements over the base version. The most interesting part was, of course, the powerful HEMI engine, but next to it the SRT8 version also added a more aggressive exterior look, a lowered ride height, and high-performance suspension and brakes.

According to Chrysler, the 300 SRT8 pays tribute to the original 300 launched back in 1955: it is simple, features strong lines, excellent engineering, high levels of luxury and outstanding performance.

Still, despite what Chrysler may think, the 300 SRT8 looks outdated to some customers and its flaws simply stand out in the SRT lineup. The biggest flaw of them all is that very dated five-speed automatic transmission.

For the 2013 model year, Chrysler also offers a 300 SRT8 Core version, which deletes some content to help attract buyers with a tighter budget.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2013 Chrysler 300 SRT8.

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2013 Chrysler 300 SRT8 Core

2013 Chrysler 300 SRT8 Core

Alongside the 2013 Dodge Challenger SRT8 "Core", Chrysler also brought a “Core” version for the 300 SRT8 to the 2013 Chicago Auto Show. Just like the Challenger model, the new 300 SRT8 Core version is also considerably cheaper than the standard 300 SRT8: $43,995 vs. $47,995.

Just like with the Challenger SRT8 "Core" version, the new 300 SRT8 Core has also been inspired by models like Charger SRT8 Super Bee and SRT Viper. The new 300 "Core" Edition receives special badges on the front fender, a set of upgraded wheels and on the inside, seating surfaces with the same "Ballistic" cloth inserts from the SRT Viper.

The $4k difference in the car’s price is given by the lack of all those fancy features you may have been used too, as the new Core editions were specially designed "with the back-to-basics performance driving enthusiast in mind."

Hit the jump to read more about the 2014 Chrysler 300 SRT8 Core.

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Video: SRT Family Ties

Video: SRT Family Ties

The newest member in the Chrysler family is SRT (Street and Racing Technology), which was unveiled at the same time as the new generation Viper that bnow bears its name. According to Chrysler, this new extension of their brand will be responsible for the development of the most powerful performance models available.

A lot goes behind setting up an arm such as SRT. Each department has a specific use in the grand scheme of the automotive world. Today, SRT has unveiled a video that explains the essence of this newly created brand and solidifies its purpose for the company: "The SRT family of five street and racing technology vehicles represents the pinnacle of Chrysler performance. Five different ways to get your revs up - all bred from the minds of those passionate about making cars better, faster and stronger."

SRT has already wowed us with their new generationViper, but we have to wonder what other scintillating models they have in store. The next piece of this SRT puzzle comes in the form of the Barracuda, but will it be able to stand up to its German competitors? Only time will tell, but they are sure off to a great start!

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Want an SRT Viper? Your dealer must prove itself worthy

Want an SRT Viper? Your dealer must prove itself worthy

Here’s a tidbit of bad news for anyone looking to buy the new SRT Viper: The company has announced that only about 15-20% of all Chrysler Group dealerships will have the chance to actually sell the new Viper. In order to be able to sell the sports car, dealerships will have to train their staff, buy special tools, and improve their facilities.

"We’re going to open it up to any dealer who can put the money forward and the training, but it’s going to be pretty difficult to hit all of those things," Ralph Gilles, head of the high-performance SRT brand said during a broadcast interview with journalists in Detroit this month. "You’ve got to have the training, the facilities, and some history of selling Vipers and SRTs in general."

Gilles also announced that the company can’t "legally stop someone who’s sold a Viper in the past from selling it," but the company will try to make it a little difficult because they want their customers to enjoy the best experience possible from their dealer.

Prices for the new SRT Viper haven’t been announced just yet, but Gilles is very sure the new generation will bring lots of new customers.

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SRT's future line-up will include three models

SRT’s future line-up will include three models

Chrysler kicked off its new sub-brand, SRT, with the unveiling of the new generation Viper and the cars will just keep coming from here on out. The sub-brand’s second model will be the new generation Barracuda that will join the line-up for the 2015 model year and, according to MotorTrend, SRT is already working on a third model for their line-up.

Details on the third model are a bit unclear at the moment, but it could be either a successor to the Dodge Ram SRT10 or a small, two-seat sports car. Obviously, our hopes lie in a new sports car. Chrysler has already teased us with a Dodge Demon Concept designed as a competitor for the Mazda MX-5 Miata, and now that Mazda and Fiat have teamed up to build a new RWD sports roadster, we are hoping that Chrysler will consider offering a production version of the Demon.

Any thoughts on what this new model could be? Hit us up in the comments section below!

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Dodge Viper ACR blasts Nurburging record with 7:12 lap time

Dodge Viper ACR blasts Nurburging record with 7:12 lap time

Put back the champagne in the freezer, Lexus; you’re just-set record lap time of 7:14 around the Nurburgring has been broken. How’s it feel to hold one of the auto world’s most famous titles for less than a month?

You can blame Chrysler’s SRT team for that because the latter went to the ’Ring with only one thing in mind: get under 7:14 in one lap. And just as records are always meant to be broken regardless of how fresh they are, Chrysler’s Dodge Viper ACR blasted around the Nurburgring in a blistering time of 7:12. The exact time has yet to be released - there are tenths of seconds in that equation - but make no mistake, it’s more than a second faster than the 7:14.6 time the Lexus LF-A Nurburgring Package achieved earlier this month.

We are sure there are people over at the Lexus camp that are clearly not happy with this latest development. But like we said, records are meant to be broken. The Dodge Viper ACR has raised the bar and dropped the gauntlet on everybody else. Now its up to one of the rest to answer back.

UPDATE 09/27/2011: Chrysler has finally brought out the official confirmation for the Nurburgring record set by the Viper ACR on Sept. 14, 2011. "We’re extremely proud to set the lap record for a second time at the famed Nürburgring Nordschleife," said Ralph Gilles, President and CEO – SRT Brand and Motorsports, Chrysler Group LLC. "Our team returned to Germany knowing we’d left some time on the track when we set our first lap record, so this effort shows the incredible depth and capability the Viper ACR has by running a full 10 seconds faster than we did in 2008."

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Chrysler Introduces New 8-Speed Automatic

Chrysler Introduces New 8-Speed Automatic

Select Chrysler models with a V-6 to receive new transmissions.

If you thought gearboxes fitted with seven-speeds had a few too many, hold on to your hats: starting this fall, 2012 300s and Dodge Chargers equipped with the 3.6-liter Pentastar VVT V6 engine will now have no less than 8 gears to choose from. Thank the heavens it’s an automatic.

The new transmission, dubbed the 845RE, is manufactured by German specialists ZF. ZF is known to do hi-tech transmissions for a variety of Audi, BMW, Bentley, Range Rover, and Rolls Royce models. Though the transmission will be initially supplied by ZF, Chrysler says that they will take over development of the eight-speed rower in their Kokomo, Indiana transmission plant sometime in the future.

The slick new transmission is slated to replace most of the five-speeds - which is an older version of a Mercedes-Benz designed transmission - in Chrysler’s lineup including V8s.

There are several reasons to move to an automatic eight-speed transmission, primarily fuel economy. Being able to keep the revs lower for a longer period of time will result in better - around 15% better - combined highway and city driving.

The 845RE is a fully electronic transmission that includes software featuring adaptive shifting characteristics depending on variables such as engine torque gradients, kick down, longitudinal and lateral acceleration, hill detection, friction detection, and downshift detection.

Chrysler hasn’t said much about performance upgrades that are in line with the new transmission, but we suspect that the new eight-speed will also keep you within torque band longer if you so choose to floor it. Of course, if the new transmission makes it to the V8 Chargers, we don’t have to convince you to floor it.

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