We were excited to discover that legendary Mopar racer Ed Hamberger is Back to the Future with headers and complete exhaust kits for late-model Chargers, Magnums, and 300s. Developing and manufacturing high-quality, easy-to-install headers and exhaust systems is nothing new to Ed's team of engineers and fabricators at SLP Performance Parts. SLP is a well-recognized leader of outstanding performance products for the go-fast GM enthusiast. And as far as us Mopar guys are concerned, back in the day (mid-'70s), Ed Hamberger started one of the first Direct Connection parts distributorships in the United States.
This past summer (June 2006), we stopped by SLP Performance Parts and spotted a new '06 Hemi Charger Daytona inside their installation center. Hank Daniecki (director of engineering) mentioned they had purchased a Daytona Charger and were looking forward to expanding their development and production of performance products. All of a sudden in July, SLP was producing headers and exhaust systems that help the new Hemi sound like a Hemi should.
The yellow Daytona Charger was given some time for baseline dyno and strip testing. During baseline dyno pulls the Dodge put down a consistent 294 rwhp at 5,300 rpm and 327 lb-ft of torque at 4,300 rpm. That relates to an SAE-corrected 358 hp and 396 lb-ft of torque at the flywheel. Once again, like in the past, Ma Mopar is underrating the Hemi. This time with a conservative 340 and 350hp rating depending on the model.
We unstrapped the Daytona from the dyno and headed to Raceway Park, Englishtown, New Jersey. Before the strip testing began, we drove onto the scales and observed the portly Charger weighed in at 4,275 pounds (with driver). It was a hot 85-degree August day, and we weren't expecting the heavyweight Hemi-car to run an earth-shattering e.t. Our first pass had us pleasantly surprised with a rather respectable 14.36 at 96.36 mph. An instant hot-lap returned us a 14.40 at 96.22 mph. Looking back, the original '66 Hemi Charger with a 727 TorqueFlite and 3.23 Sure Grip would usually run low-14s showroom stock. The new Hemi is impressive, considering the '66 and '06 Chargers are of equal heavyweight status. That said, these new 5.7 Hemis run strong, stone-stock.
After a one-hour cool-down period, we rolled back up to the line. We didn't encounter any traction problems, and we hooked up with another consistent 2.13 60-foot time. With that, we ran our best of the day-a 14.30 at 96.81 mph. A routine hot-lap started with slight wheelspin and produced a slower 2.21 60-foot, with a 14.37 at 96.77-mph quarter-mile time. We made a couple more passes for the remainder of the day, all in the 14.30s-this new Hemi is consistent.
Header HappeningsAfter a successful bone-stock baseline test of the Hemi, we were back at SLP to see how easy the install is of their stainless-steel headers and cat-back exhaust. Naturally, header installation with a lift is easier than doing it on the ground. After watching the installation, we can attest that installing headers and exhaust on the new Hemi car is not a difficult task, unlike on a Wedge-engined B-body. SLP provides easy-to-follow instructions so the accomplished gearhead can do it in their driveway.
Upon startup, we were greeted with a much deeper note than before, which, although pleasant at part-throttle driving, made the Charger sound loud and proud at full-throttle. Hey, horsepower makes noise, and it was music to our ears. At idle, it sounds like the old-school Hemi. Surprisingly, highway speed drone wasn't bad in this large sound-deadened machine. Still, full-throttle blasts will get the law's attention. Note, at this point SLP's LoudMouth resonators were installed in their cat-back system.
For those who would like to yield to a subtler note, their LoudMouth II or PowerFlo mufflers work well with negligible power loss.