While it's arguable when the last true performance Mopar was made, we can all agree that it has been a very long time. In 2005 things changed for Chrysler. They were finally maximizing their partnership with Daimler and making cars that were a step above the rest. Using hand-me-down parts from Mercedes combined with American ingenuity, Chrysler crafted this striking vehicle that looks as if it was priced out of the average family man's budget, but wasn't.
It has taken a while for the LX platform to really make an impact. The aftermarket was caught sleeping at the beginning, but now it has become one of the most active new car brands in the world. At the forefront of this new market is Arrington Engines in Martinsville, Virginia (www.arringtonengines.com). They were one of the first companies to push the limits of the modern Hemi. Possibly their most notable development was the introduction of their 426 Hemi packages that reintroduced a familiar displacement figure. After the shock and awe of this engine package had tamed down, their experimental 426-powered Chrysler 300 lay dormant in the shop. Eric Hruza, president of the Connects Marketing Group, was responsible for revamping the image of Arrington, which had built a solid reputation as a NASCAR and NHRA engine builder for some top teams. The new direction would have their sights set on building high performance street cars and he viewed the 300 as a perfect billboard for this new course.
Eric purchased the 300 from Arrington engines and made a few alterations to it. Underneath, a Pedders Track II suspension package was installed. This includes Pedders GSR shocks on all four corners with coil springs that drop the LX approximately 2 inches. While the shocks provide increased driving characteristics, the kit takes things a step further. All the bushings are preplaced with polyurethane parts, which allow the suspension to function at a higher level and provide better response. Adjustable 32mm front and 18mm rear sway bars allow Eric to dial the suspension in just right, and control body roll through fast corners. The overall package is well balanced and has been commended by test drivers when the 4,200-pound behemoth consistently laid down impressive numbers around New Jersey's Motorsports Park. "I managed to put down a 1:20-minute lap in the car, which seemed pretty good compared to the locals in their Porsches and new Z06s who were in the 1:20 to 1:23 range," claims test driver Chris Brannon.
Inside, there haven't been any changes aside from the very trick glass roof from Classic Design Concepts. The Glassback roof follows the contours of the 300 perfectly and looks like a factory option.
The Classic Design Concepts Glassback roof gives you a clear view of the sky.
Under the hood is where things really heat up. The Arrington 426 Hemi features a 4.080-inch bore and 4.080-inch stroke. The engine is based on a 6.1 Hemi block that was punched out to accept forged aluminum pistons. These are connected to Carrillo rods and crankshaft. The final compression comes out to 10.3:1. Air is ingested through a BWoody cold air intake and is directed through an Arrington 90mm ported throttle body before finding its way into a ported intake manifold. Once the fuel has been added, the intake stroke sucks the air and fuel mixture through a pair of Stage-4-ported heads. The 2.07-inch intake and 1.57-inch exhaust valves are controlled by an Arrington 607 camshaft. "If this camshaft was put into an older car, it would run real rough. The computer systems in these cars allow us to get away with it on the street and make big power," Eric says. Kooks stainless headers and a Corsa exhaust handle the exhaust as it exits this large-cube small-block. Eric adds, "The 7-liter displacement and engine combination has me sitting right at 600 hp and 585 lb/ft of torque."
Eric knew the car was pretty special and wanted it to look the part. The 300 was taken to Jim Mills Lincoln-Mercury in Ridgeway, Virginia, where the factory silver paint was masked off to receive a two-tone paint job. DuPont Graphite paint was sprayed on top and the color transition was separated by a Hemi Orange, 1/4-inch pinstripe.
The car made a positive impact on Arrington's new direction and proves that a high-end engine builder can build a fantastic street machine. "Until recently, we were held back by tuning software and not the engine design, but the aftermarket has figured things out. Now we're able to make these combinations work," he says. The setup has made the car stand apart and helped bring the late model Hemi and LX platform into the spotlight.
'06 Chrysler 300 SRT-8
Owned by: Eric Hruza Martinsville, Virginia
The 426 Hemi package from Arrington Engines turns a mild street car into a wild, world-cla
Engine: The factory 6.1-liter block has swollen to 7.0 liters thanks to the gang at Arrington Engines. The 426ci displacement comes from a 4.080-inch bore and 4.080-inch stroke. Arrington makes their own forged aluminum pistons and sourced their K-1 forged rods and crankshaft from Carrillo. Final Compression is 10.3:1. The camshaft is a custom grind from Arrington with 227-degree intake, 233-degree exhaust duration, and .607-inch intake and exhaust lift all on a 116-degree lobe separation. Along with the cam, the supporting modifications to the valvetrain were made that include pushrods, valvesprings, valveguide seals, and locators. The path the air travels to make it into this big-cube monster starts at the Arrington cold air intake and into a 90mm Billet throttle body. It then finds its way into the Arrington-ported SRT-8 intake manifold and into their Stage-4-ported cylinder heads with 2.07-inch intake and 1.57-inch exhaust valves.
Exhaust: Kooks stainless headers with high-flow cats scavenge the exhaust as it makes its way into a Corsa Sport exhaust system.
Transmission: For now, the transmission is stock. The next item on the list is a fully built transmission from Southern Hot Rod. Eric still hasn't decided what stall speed to go with on his converter.Rearend: Bone Stock
Suspension: A full Pedders Track II suspension package was installed. It includes a pair of adjustable front and rear sway bars and replaces the factory shocks with Pedders GSR shocks. Every bushing has also been replaced with polyurethane for its increased rigidity and performance. Polishing things off are coil springs that lower the SRT-8 approximately 2 inches.
Brakes: The factory Brembo brakes are "phenomenal" and provide more than enough stopping power, even with the scale tipping 4,200 pounds. He upgraded to the newer '07-up slotted SRT-8 Brembo rotors.
Wheels & Tires: Eric prefers the looks of the factory SRT-8 wheels on the original rubber.
Paint: The 300 was taken to Jim Mills Lincoln-Mercury to receive some new color. The color scheme was chosen to be classy and clean as the factory Bright Silver Metallic paint was taped off so that the top half of the body could be painted in DuPont Graphite paint. Once the tape was pulled off, a 1/4-inch Hemi Orange pinstripe was applied to the color transition point.
Interior: The factory interior was given the spa treatment as the roof was cut open and filled in with a Classic Design Concepts Glassback roof. The sunroof offers a clear view of the sky as you drive while not dramatically affecting interior heat.