It's those kinds of cars you only see on American blockbuster movies, like Fast-Five. The smooth rider is the first car of its kind in Fiji. After years of watching these fine super cars on film, I finally got the chance to see the Dodge Challenger up-close. I'm sure many of you want to know the answer to these question?
Is the dodge as fast like they say it is? Well.. this one packs a powerful V8 engine with 400 HP. Yes! people she's a flyer. It's a 2009 Challenger R/T, 350cid (5.7L), naturally aspirated V8 with a 6-speed manual transmission. Not only is it a first for Fiji but it's "Titanium Grey" in colour and is the rarest colour on any of the Challengers.
Owner, Alex Richard tells us more about his special ride. Mr Richard has been working with the US Embassy in Fiji over a year now. He loves cars. "For kids in my generation growing up in Mid-West Americaâ€¦having a car with a big, loud, fast engine was the definition of heaven," he said.
"I've had the Dodge since 2009, ordered it from the factory just the way I wanted it, all in all, it cost me right around USD $35,000, FJD ($63,000) to get it here."
I've always loved big American muscle-cars, and seeing the redesign that Dodge did with the Challenger, the way they made it look is so much like the classics from the '70'sâ€¦my blood just started pumping from the very first test-drive.
Mr Richard said titanium grey is the rarest colour on any of the Challengers. "When I ordered it the dealership called me and said 'are you sure you want this colourâ€¦there hasn't been one ordered in this colour anywhere east of the Mississippi'â€¦needless to say that question just made me want that odd earthy-grey even more! I've got 20-inch chrome rims holding onto low profile street tyres. Overall the engine is pushing about 400 HP at the flywheel."
Is the Dodge your favourite ride?
As odd as it may soundâ€¦no. I've been a Ford Mustang guy for as long as I've known what cars are (I even have the Ford Mustang as part of one of my tattoos).
I bought my first Mustang new off the lot in 1999 and had it for 10 years; when I made the decision in '09 to buy a new car I spent a lot of time test driving new Mustang GT's and the new Challenger.
The Mustang is really one of the most iconic sports cars in history. It's the car that brought style, speed and performance to the working-class. Beyond that, the Ford Mustang is really the car that brought with it the idea of personalization from the factoryâ€¦the Mustang had more available choices, options, and extras than any other car in history. My dream car is, and has always been, a fully restored 1964 ½ Mustang Convertibleâ€¦I will own one some day!
People ask me quite frequently what my number plate (THEINE) means. It's an odd bit of an explanation. In short, 'Theine' is just another chemical name for Caffeine. I've been a caffeine addict for most of my lifeâ€¦be it sodas, coffee, energy drinksâ€¦any way I can get it! Much like caffeine, my car really is my "drug of choice"â€¦just driving it gives me all the energy and buzz I needâ€¦so I named it THEINE.
When it comes to customisation, I've done quite a bit to make the car my own, a bit more stand out from every other Challenger on the road. (Not too hard to do in Fijiâ€¦but they are getting more popular in the 'States.)
One of the biggest looks-modifications I've done was having a lot of billet aluminium pieces made for the car; all of them engraved with the chemical-symbol for caffeine and the name THEINE, the nose-badge, fuse-box cover, washer-fluid cap, radiator fluid cap, and plates for the sun-visors inside the cab.
I found a very talented air-brush artist here in Suva who took the boring plastic engine-cover and did an amazing job of grey-flames over the entire cover. I replaced the entire front headlight assemblies, adding CCFL Halos and upgrading to HID lights (both for the headlights & the foglights). The only performance mod I've done, to date, is a proper high-flow cold-air intake. I do have plans of dropping a supercharger onto the engine sometime soonâ€¦but I don't think I can get the parts here so that'll have to wait until I'm back Stateside.
The dodge won the Best Sports Vehicle in Suva, I don't see why not!... so how fast can it go?
Wellâ€¦let me start by saying that my Challenger is by no means the fastest car in Fijiâ€¦there are a handful of cars around that can easily beat me in the ¼ mile. The Best Sports Car win at the FCC Car Show last December was on overall look and presence. That said, here in Fiji when I did the drags with the FCC, I put in a pretty-respectable 14.9 second quarter-mile. Back in the States when I had the opportunity to really run it in a safe situation; I stopped accelerating at the 135 MPH (217 KPH) markâ€¦not because the car wanted to stopâ€¦but because I just couldn't bring myself to keep going.
Not only was that just crazy fast in my brand new carâ€¦I was running out of straight track. Of course, on the roads here in Fiji, my top speed is 80 KPHâ€¦wouldn't want risk hurting anyone (myself or otherwise) by speedingâ€¦fast-driving is best reserved for fun days on the drag-strip and track.