2009 Mr. Norm's Super Cuda  

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The Dodge Challenger has found plenty of happy homes, and we've had the pleasure of driving quite a few examples, ranging from various production models to an array of tuner versions, including the Classic Design Concepts Widebody Challenger and the Hurst Series 4 Challenger. We can now add one more to the list: Mr. Norm's Super Cuda. Yes, it isn't a Challenger by name, but few will mistake what vehicle forms the base of this coupe despite its uniquely Plymouth appearance.

First, the visuals. Mr. Norm's Garage has taken a distinctly different direction than the myriad of other aftermarket Challengers, opting to mimic the styling of the Challenger's classic Plymouth brother, particularly the 1971 model. We must admit that the look suits the Challenger well, and the conversion is incredibly simple. A new grille, a panel that blacks out much of the taillight section, a front spoiler overlay, "Badass Black" graphics package, Hulst Customs 22-inch wheels, and a set of hood pins are all that's needed to make the exterior transformation. Those few changes go a long way in giving the Super Cuda a distinctive look, and like it or not, everything flows together well. Too retro? For some, maybe, but if you're already a fan of the Challenger's styling then the Super Cuda isn't too far of a jump.

Now on to the good stuff. While we wouldn't say the 6.1-liter V8 in the Challenger SRT8 is short on power, we would have been extremely disappointed if Mr. Norm had left everything stock underneath the hood. There was no need to worry, though, as the Hemi powerplant has been supercharged to produce more than 600 horsepower. An intercooled Kenne Bell twin-screw blower is the chosen method of forced induction, offering instant boost at nearly every rpm. If one so desires, horsepower can be bumped to four-figure levels by upping the boost and fuel supply, along with fortifying the engine's internals, meaning you can have as much power as the rear tires can take and then some.

It's one thing to talk about harnessing 600+ horsepower in a road car, but entirely different to actually do it. We actually drove two versions of Mr. Norm's Super Cuda – one was an automatic and the second with the six-speed. Just like the stock Challenger, the automatic doesn't provide much driving excitement. Yes, there's a massive amount of horsepower and torque on tap, but the slushbox-equipped Challenger was surprisingly boring to drive. It just proves that horsepower can't solve everything.

With our six-speed tester's price adding $24,000 to the Challenger SRT8, Mr. Norm's Super Cuda certainly isn't cheap. However, that actually compares favorably to other aftermarket Challengers on the market, and the horsepower/dollar factor is still pretty impressive. Even better, Mr. Norm's Garage allows Challenger owners to buy components individually, so you can get the power, the looks, or any of the individual components without breaking the bank.
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