Prior to installing the Hop Not rear suspension components, we took Scott's Charger out to the Stingray Dragway in Lakeland, Florida, to get some 60 foot times. Launching the car with the traction control off and the engine at 1,600 rpm at the line, we didn't experience any real tire spin or wheel hop, but once we pushed the launch rpm up a little, we started spinning the tires not so much off the line, but 20-30 feet down track. Our first two passes launching at 1,600 rpm resulted in 60 foot times of 2.170 and 2.149 seconds respectively. Launching at 1,800 rpm for the third pass netted a 2.124-second 60 foot time, but we could tell the car was right at the edge of losing traction with just a hint of wheel hop beginning about 30 feet from the starting line. Subsequent attempts to launch the Charger at higher rpm netted tire spin off the line, wheel hop about 20 feet out, and slower 60 foot times. With our baseline established, we headed to the shop.

One thing we noticed during this installation was the clarity of the instructions included with the kits. These instructions included step by step written directions, as well as close-up color photos of each step and a list of all the tools needed for the installation. Following the instructions and with our car on a two post lift we installed the Stage I kit with little difficulty, and the kit could easily be installed with the car on jack stands if you don't have access to a lift. Moving on to the Stage II kit, we again followed the directions and had the horizontal stabilizer brackets and shocks installed without any trouble. The most time consuming (and frustrating) part of this install is trimming some of the OEM rubber bushing away so the Hop Not components would bolt on properly. Even so, the complete installation was easily accomplished in about 3-4 hours and the car was ready for the road.

After completing our installation, we took the Charger back to the drag strip to get some results. Even on the drive to the track it was apparent that the rear of the car seemed more connected to the rest of the vehicle, and handling was noticeably improved. At the track we made several passes, progressively increasing our launch rpm, and immediately noticed that the car seemed stiffer and reacted quicker. Unfortunately for us, there had been rain earlier in the day and the track was not nearly as sticky as when we made our baseline runs. Even worse, we had to drive the Charger through several areas of standing water on the return road, as did the other racers, and a fair amount of that water made its way onto the track.

Even with the terrible traction, we still managed some decent 60 foot times, given the questionable track conditions. Although the tires were definitely breaking loose easier due to the moisture on the track and in the fenderwells which was certainly dripping onto our tires, 60 foot times were a respectable 2.176 and 2.175 seconds on our best launches at 1,600 rpm. Any launch rpm higher than 1,700 and the car would simply spin slightly off the line and then haze the tires out about 40 feet or so resulting in slower 60 foot times. Another testament to the Hop Not components was that even if we pushed the Charger to moderate or heavy tire spin, the wheel hop that was apparent during our baseline testing had gone away and the car tracked straight. This driver's feeling is that if the track conditions were the same as when we base-lined the car, we could have certainly improved our times. More importantly, we did all of our testing on stock tires, and now that the Hop Not suspension is installed, the Charger would surely benefit from tires with a softer, stickier compound.

For the cost and time, we'd consider this upgrade mandatory if you like driving your late-model Mopar aggressively in either a straight line or around curves. The soft rubber OEM rear cradle bushings simply allow too much movement in the cradle for vehicles with so much performance potential. We'll keep you posted once we re-test Scott's Charger on a better surface, and certainly once we get some stickier tires for the car. Be sure to check out moparmuscle.com as well to see video of our test session.

Price tag
Part Cost
Hop Not Stage I rear suspension $240
Hop Not Stage II rear suspension $350
Stage I and II purchased as kit $502

SOURCE
Hop Not LLC
Pollock
LA
318-481-4742
www.hopnot.net
Stingray Dragway
863-984-1145
http://www.lakelanddragstrip.com