The supercharged Mopar Challenger Drag Pak made its competition debut at the NHRA Gatornationals in 2016 with driver Jonathan Allegrucci at the wheel. 

Mopar | December 23 2016

2016 in the rearview mirror: Mopar roar echoed throughout the year

Mopar kept its engine running at high rpm through 2016, from dominating at the drag strip to bringing modern HEMI® power to classic muscle cars to making it fast and easy to keep the daily driver in top shape.

Before Mopar refuels for 2017, here’s a quick (what else?) look back at highlights from this year.

Mopar wears NHRA’s Funny Car crown

The earth-shaking rumble of a HEMI V-8 was felt at drag strips across the country this year as the four Mopar Dodge Charger R/T Funny Cars from Don Schumacher Racing battled from start to finish for top honors.

At the end, fan favorite driver Ron Capps claimed his first Funny Car championship for DSR – leading the NHRA’s Countdown to the Championship from start to finish for the final six events of the season and racking up five event wins while appearing in 10 event finals.

Capps’ consistency enabled him to lock up the title during qualifying for the season-ending event in California.

If Capps was looking over his shoulder, it was at his DSR Mopar-powered teammates. Tommy Johnson Jr. finished second, Matt Hagan finished third and “Fast” Jack Beckman finished fifth in the final Funny Car standings.

Getting rebellious with truck buyers

The tradition of Mopar applying its special touch to FCA US products continued with the debut of the limited-edition Mopar ‘16 Ram Rebel pickup truck.

Based on the Ram 1500 4×4 Rebel Crew Cab, the Mopar ‘16 Ram Rebel turned up the volume with a set of upgrades, including 17-inch satin black wheels, skid plates, wheel flares, matte black sport appearance hood and unique graphics. Buyers could dip into the Mopar catalog to add a cold-air intake and cat-back exhaust system.

It’s the first time a pickup has served as a Mopar limited-edition model and only 500 were produced.

Modern HEMI, classic rides

Mopar’s big news at the annual SEMA show was the debut of the Crate HEMI Engine Kit – a package of components, wiring and sensors that makes it super easy to take a modern HEMI V-8 and install it in a 1975 or older vehicle.

The heart of the Crate HEMI Engine Kit is the engine control module, preloaded with factory tuning software. With the controller and a few basic connections, the engine is up and running.

Crate HEMI Engine Kits are available for 5.7-liter and 6.4-liter V-8s. You can supply your own engine or buy one from Mopar.

Mopar also used the SEMA show to announce the launch of a restoration parts portal. Working with partner Classic Industries, the internet-based portal shortens the search for popular and hard-to-find parts needed for restoration projects. The menu of available parts ranges from sheet metal to dashboards to emblems and decals.

Dream machines

There is plenty in the Mopar catalog to spark the imagination. For an insight into the possibilities, take a look at the concept vehicles unveiled this year.

The annual Easter Jeep Safari is where Mopar celebrates the off-road ruggedness of its Jeep Performance Parts line. Working with the Jeep brand, Mopar rolled out seven concepts for this year’s event.

Highlights of this year’s crop of concepts include the Jeep Trailcat, an off-roader packing the supercharged 707 horsepower of the Hellcat V-8; the Jeep Crew Chief 715, a salute to legendary Jeep military service vehicles; and the Jeep Comanche, a pickup configuration based on the Renegade SUV.

November’s SEMA show lets Mopar turn up the wick and explore the brand’s performance heritage in concept vehicles.

Among those grabbing attention this year were the Dodge Shakedown Challenger, a ’71 Dodge Challenger updated with lowered look and modern HEMI V-8 under the Shaker hood; Jeep CJ66, which combines elements from three generations of classic Jeep SUVs with a modern HEMI V-8; and the Dodge Durango Shaker concept with a Shaker hood scoop, custom exhaust and six bucket seats.


Training teens and adults to be safer drivers

For three years, Mopar has fueled weekends of safe driver instruction for teenagers and their parents at events around the country, free of charge.

That continues with the “Mopar Road Ready Powered by Dodge” program for 2016 and 2017, with stops in Arizona, Texas, New Jersey, Florida and Michigan.

Mopar has worked with Dodge, NHRA and the B.R.A.K.E.S. organization to provide safe driver training to more than 2,700 people. Each half-day session includes classroom instruction and behind-the-wheel experience and practice on closed courses.

Vehicle service fast and easy

Regular maintenance is key to making sure vehicles perform at their peak for safety and fuel economy.

Mopar Express Lane service makes regular maintenance, such as oil changes and wheel alignment, fast and easy. In 2016, Mopar celebrated the opening of the 1,000th Express Lane operation in the United States. The Mopar Express Lane in Bradley, Illinois, was also the first store not located at an FCA US dealership.

Mopar Express Lane is a worldwide effort, with more than 1,850 locations in operation.

There is plenty more on tap in 2017 as Mopar celebrates its 80th anniversary and chases more championships in NHRA drag racing. Mopar or No Car!

Dale Jewett

Do you know your blood type? Mine is 100 octane (not your standard blood bank classification). At any given moment, I’m thinking about cars – driving one, fixing one, buying one or (in my dreams) restoring one. So I love to tell stories that involve horsepower, brake and wheel diameters
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Do you know your blood type? Mine is 100 octane (not your standard blood bank classification). At any given moment, I’m thinking about cars – driving one, fixing one, buying one or (in my dreams) restoring one. So I love to tell stories that involve horsepower, brake and wheel diameters and 0-to-60 times – and the people who make it happen. Because behind every awesome vehicle are amazing people with vision and the desire to make it a reality. I cover Mopar, Dodge, SRT and motorsports for Stellantis Digital Media. I learned to drive on a 1973 Jeep CJ-5 with the rare Super Jeep option package and three-speed manual transmission. I still belong to the dwindling club of people who prefer to shift their own gears, and think the best way to drive is with the top down!