Performance comes via the Magnum 360 outfitted with a Kenny Brown specd Powerdyne su
The combination performed perfectly thanks to added control from a Superchips Icon control
Mere cowhide? Hardly! The Recaro sport seats offer added stability without sacrificing com
Indianapolis has long been known as a haven for performance-bred racing machines. While it may not have a sinister underworld like that of Gotham, it does have, lurking on its outskirts, under the long shadows of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, an automotive tuner in Kenny Brown Performance.
While Kenny Brown has made a reputation for building customer-specific performance Mustangs and a long host of suspension components for most of todays rear-wheel drive performance cars, it didnt take long for Kenny to recognize the growing popularity of trucks and sport utilities. As a suspension guru, Kenny also recognized that the major weakness of all utilitarian vehicles is the fact that they drive like a truck. Thats not a slam, its the truth.
Simultaneously, Jim Carson of Carson Chrysler in nearby Plainfield, Indiana, was seeking a showroom traffic builder. With the demand for trucks at peak levels, Carson felt that offering an upgraded performance truck was just what the market needed to fill the gap between utility and performance.
Kenny notes, I had my eyes on Dodge Trucks for some time and when Jim came to us, it offered a strategic opportunity for us to pursue the Dodge Truck market.
Trucks are hot, adds Carson, so this is a natural idea. And working with someone whos as much of a perfectionist as Kenny ensures the customer will get a good product.
So imagine our glee when Mopar Muscle was invited to visit Indy and sample the first two trucks. With hopes of good weather in late March, Mopar Muscle/Muscle Car Publisher Doug Evans and I hopped a northbound freight in order to get a closer look.
I assumed that because Doug once lived in Indy, we had it made. Little did I realize that during his four years there, he was really only around for about four days. That became readily-apparent as we made our meandering trek to Kenny Brown Performance to pick up our chariots o the day.
After a couple cell phone calls, we finally did arrive at Kenny Brown where the Dodges were sparkling in all their blueness. After a brief discussion of each trucks features, we were ready to head off on our days trek but first we had to acquaint ourselves with the Alpine Entertainment and Navigation System.
Andrew Casselberry simply entered the address of our next appointment and, presto, our route was established. Being fascinated by the system, I opted for the audio prompts which told me, in real-time, where to turn and what the next turn would be. That was long before I had the opportunity to sample the concert quality AM/FM/Compact Disc audio system which shares the same controls as the GPS navigation system.
But what is real time navigation if you dont have the opportunity to test how quickly it can react. The Powerdyne supercharged 360 certainly aids in motivation by adding an additional 70 horsepower to the already potent pushrod 360. In fact, on Kenny Browns DynoJet dynamometer, rear-wheel horsepower with the blower peaked at 270 rear-wheel horsepower which calculated to over 325 horsepower at the flywheel. Brown is quick to note that makes his combination the most powerful V8 engine offered in a custom Dodge Durango.
But he didnt stop there! The growl of the Borla high-flow stainless steel exhaust matches well to the Mopar Performance tubular headers. Certainly, the menacing growl makes it clear what this Durango is capable of.
While our trip to Indy was short, certainly the distances between two points were accelerated with the Kenny Brown Sport Durango. Were certain that Jim Carson would gladly sell you one or Kenny would be willing to discuss converting your 2WD Durango into something a bit more popular with the performance crowd.
Perhaps its the V8 in me that kept me from focusing on the Magnum V6 Dakota that Kenny had prepared. So, on our last stop before returning to Kenny Brown Performance, I finally jumped into the drivers seat.
Dont think I am selling the V6 shortit really is a decent performer. But with Kennys assortment of Euro-style suspension components and tuning, the Dakota is just screaming for more muscle.
With the suspension tuned for more aggressive behavior, the common belief would be that the ride quality would be stiff, or worse. Truthfully, the ride quality far exceeds the stock Dakota and does so with larger diameter wheels which often trade comfort for style. Not here!
We were especially impressed with the way the front and rear suspension complimented each other. We cant tell you how many long wheelbase Dakotas weve driven over railroad tracks and wondered if the suspension would ever settle down from the surface changes.
Kenny, with the Extreme Chassis X-Brace, Bilstein Shocks, and a rear swaybar, has solved whatever ails the stock Dakota. Our hats are off to Kenny and we cant wait to see what he can do for the standard cab Dakota.