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Discussion Starter #1
Should I mod my Challenger or leave it stock? Some people are hard core "modders" and don't even need to ask that question. Some would like a few choice mods, and then there are others who feel that it is best to keep it stock.

There are a few things to consider when deciding whether to mod or not: Will the mods void the warranty? Will the mods adversly affect the way the car drives? Will the mods hurt the resale value of the car? These things should be considered before doing mods. I've heard over and over that you almost never get your money out of mods you've made to a car. I can understand that. Personally, I would never buy a car that was altered very far from stock. And I wouldn't touch a car that had any mods done to the engine. But that's just me.

I'm lucky enough to live near Bob's Big Boy in Toluca Lake, CA. For those of you who aren't familiar with this particular Bob's, they have a "Cruise Night" every Friday night. There's no telling what or who you might see on Cruise Night. Everything from restored classics to ultra modified one-of-a-kind's. I like looking at almost all of the cars, but the ones I find to be the most pleasing to my eye are the vintage or restored cars. I've seen plenty of first generation Challengers done in the "resto-mod" style, and they're fun to look at. But my favorites are the ones that look just like they did the day they left the factory. And I'm pretty sure the restored cars fetch a higher price than the customized ones.

As you can probably guess by now, I'm one of those owners who pretty much leaves the car stock. I do that for several reasons: By leaving it stock, I know the warranty will be in place in case I need it. My last Challenger was a 2010 R/T, and I had no desire to alter it except for swapping out the wheels. I just couldn't stand the look of those 20" chrome clads. My present Challenger is a new 2010 SRT, and I plan to do (almost) nothing to it except enjoy it and take very good care of it. I work with a guy who ordered a new '09 SRT 6 speed, paid cash for it and the last time I checked with him he had less than 200 miles on it. He wants it to be one of those cars 30 years from now that still has under 500 miles on the odometer. I don't see how you could enjoy owning a car that you almost never drive. I plan to drive mine as much as I want to, and take excellent care of it so that over time it will still be in very nice condition. There is one "mod" that I've done that I'll do again: I put the "rear seat delete" kit in my R/T, took it out and reinstalled the seats when I traded it in on my SRT. I plan to reuse the kit when I get around to removing my rear seats. Of course I will save my rear seats in case I ever want to put the car back to stock.

I cringe when I read posts about lowering the cars. I wouldn't do that to mine for anything. It just has to screw up the factory designed suspension dynamics. I also cringe when I read where people have installed larger/wider tires. These cars are pretty much a balanced package, and to mess with any part of that is to invite problems. I don't know how many threads I've read where someone has taken a tuning device and tried to improve the way the car runs, only to have new problems as the result. Now I'm not saying that you can't get more power out of these cars, obviously you can. But I'm not willing to sacrifice the driveability and reliability that the stock set up has to offer. And besides, 30 years from now when the companies that made the equipment to do the mods have gone out of business my stock set up will still be worth more anyway.

DougT
 

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"My last Challenger was a 2010 R/T, and I had no desire to alter it except for swapping out the wheels. I just couldn't stand the look of those 20" chrome clads."

I didn't know they made 20" chrome clads? Those would be the same original wheels that came with your car's package... original right?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
robroy,

Yep, real, original, genuine (plastic) 20" chrome clads. Nothing but the best! I sold 'em to a guy wanting to use them to upgrade a Charger. I installed a set of black Boss 339's (20" also). The car was Stone White with black hood to fender stripes. I thought that the black wheels went well with the car. Now, my SRT wheels are a different story; I happen to like them.

DougT
 

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There are a hundred ways to enjoy this car; all of them are good by me.

If you're thinking this car is a great investment by any definition, you probably haven't done much investing on a large scale. $50K at 10% per year for 30 years is almost $900K. Check out a compound interest calculator or financial planner.

There is no freaking way on this green earth this car in stock trim will ever be that valuable. Not in your lifetime or the lifetime of your children. Even the best of the original series goes for about 1/10th of that-- oh, and that's after $40K of restoration work.

I've never had the illusion this car would pay off financially over the long haul. It was always (for me) intended to be one of the most fun toys I've ever had. And it's lived up to that objective very well. I've kept every stock part, right down to the nuts and bolts. But I have no illusion about future value of this car.

For that reason, I have about $7K into it. Mostly bling, but also cam, stiffer valve springs, exhaust, ported TB and etc, etc. It's right at the performance edge of being too much of a rodeo (for me).



If you want to leave it stock; great. If you want it to run in the 9's; great (mine isn't even remotely that fast). If you want it to be the super blingmobile; great. Although please avoid those stupid monster hoop rims- unless your day job is pimp, gangsta, or serious wannabe homey.

If you've ever been in a Challenger with significant engine and suspension work, your stock car will feel like a banana slug. Again- if you want stock; excellent.

Enjoy it anyway you can; it's all good. Except for the gangsta hoop rims.

That's my opinion and I'm sticking with it.
 

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I told myself, and my wife that I would only add a performance exhaust to bring out the Hemi V8, and that's what I did., although I do wish it was louder.

Otherwise I think these cars are just fine as they are.
 

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I haven't done anything to mine that I couldn't undo in a few hours.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Internetguy,

Thanks for your good post. Beautiful engine bay, by the way. I too have no illusions about my car being an investment; I have real investments for that. Value to me doesn't always equate to money. A 30 year old vintige car in stock form has "value" to me as something you just don't see very often. My first Challenger was a 1970 Plum Crazy R/TSE. It had a 383 auto and was fully loaded. I got it for a fair price, and it was stock right down to the Mopar hoses and belts. It needed paint and a little interior work, but that was all. I had a young family at the time, so I didn't keep it long. The guy who bought it drove up in a mint condition 70ish Trans Am. I asked him why he was buying my car, and he said he had a couple of partners and that they were buying cars like mine because they thought they would appreciate in value some day. How right he was! That was in 1982. I've often wondered what ever happened to that Challenger. It was a nice car, and I probably should have held on to it. Live and learn.

DougT
 

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The mods I've done were for my enjoyment, be they performance or appearance. I've always like the original muscle cars. Got my license 2 years after the last of the original Challengers rolled off the assembly line. There were lots of the original cars from the late 60s and early 70s still on the road at the time. My first car was a mint '67 Buick Skylark (one previous owner - older gent - and the price was right for a high school kid). White inside and out with black trim (dash, carpets) - even had wheel skirts. Just enough chrome on the outside. 350 V8 under the hood. Loved it - cruised it, once and a while even raced some of the other kids on empty desert roads. But, like a lot of nice looking cars from "the day" - it didn't handle all that great other than in a straight line. Body roll was just something you got used to - and stopping distances could really stretch out in the rain (not to mention "slippery when wet" always applied in the rain). Still, I love the look of many of the cars from that era.

For me, the Challenger brings back a lot of the fine styling coupled with good performance of that time - yet has all the enhanced reliability and handling those cars never had. Peformance doesn't even compare stock vs. stock. Best of both worlds IMO - great style, even better modern overall performance. What's not to love if you're into those kind of cars. With my mods, I've tried to enhance the overall muscle car "theme" with a few common performance mods, and some styling queues. Its not totally retro - I don't think everything from back then would look right on modern car even if its retro-styled, so I've blended a bit on the appearance side to try and achieve that balance of "modern retro." Since Challengers are so nice on the outside and IMO represent the classic muscle car theme so well, I've done a lot of work on the interior and engine bay to carry that theme throughout the car. Again, all for my enjoyment. I've had several late model performance cars, but the Challenger has been my favorite - probably the reason I've done so many mods. I don't go to the track nor am I interested in racing anyone on the street - but I do love driving, and I've got some nice roads that provide the opportunity to open it up, push it a bit and have a little fun. I thought it was pretty nice stock - but when I saw what was available on the aftermarket, I thought it would be nice to do a few things to enhance that whole "muscle car" theme. So I did. Almost done now - couple more appearance items in the engine bay and that should do it. I'm in the process of painting an ABS cover before installing it. Still debating on if I'm going to do anything with the stock coolant tank. I'm partial to being able to see all of it just from a general maintenance standpoint - but I'm thinking...

As far as an investment - not. Compound interest is much more reliable and predictable. The Challenger is just my car - one that I find great pleasure in driving, owning, maintaining, and modding a little to enhance the experience.

Just my perspective, but given all the "blah" commuter stuff on the road these days - not a whole lot of "wow" factor for me - I think its great they made a thow back to the days when cars were stylish and cool - so much so, you wanted to go for a drive just to enjoy your car. I think its even better that the aftermarket stepped up and offered a whole bunch of stuff that allows for owners to mod their Challengers to fit their personal taste. But if there were no aftermarket stuff, I'd still be driving this car stock as much as I could and loving it!
 

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Should I mod my Challenger or leave it stock? Some people are hard core "modders" and don't even need to ask that question. Some would like a few choice mods, and then there are others who feel that it is best to keep it stock.

I guess we are pretty much opposites in the way we treat our cars. I will likely keep this car for eternity and I have discovered I am into racing. I'm done with the bling mods, now it's all about performance: S/C, CAI, DS Predator, Eibach lowering suspension, Corsa catbacks, etc, etc. Also wheels and tires. Still need the S/C, wheels and tires and Eibach kit, waiting for warranty to end (and money). There's no way I could buy this car and let it sit in a garage for 30 yrs on the hopes I may sell it for big money (maybe if I had 2 Challengers...). The mods I've done so far don't affect the warranty (dealer installed most of them).

I suppose it's all about what you want to use your car for: daily driver, racing, both or garage it.
 

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I'm really hesitant to mod my IE 392 - numbered car, already a beast. I don't expect to reap any great dollars down the road but theres that whole survivor thing. I know its my car and I'll do what I want. I had the same feeling about the '65 Mustang GT that was 95% stock too (bought it about 10 years ago). That said, I moded my 09 Charger R/T extensively and I don't think I'll ever sell it.
 

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While I believe everyone should do what makes them happy, several assumptions implied by the OP are not based in reality. Modern cars are exercises in compromise in order to appeal to the masses. Many suspension mods are offer huge improvements to the stock setup with no drawbacks, and performance mods can be done to bring substantial gains without affecting drivability, reliability, or economy.

As for appreciation and keeping it stock for the future, 30 years from now the people will still be looking for a 70 Challenger rather than a 2009, 2010, or 2011. Too many folks watching the auctions on TV seeing very special cars go for big bucks making folks think that all the old ones are going to fetch those prices.
 

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The Challenger is a beautiful canvas. Leave as is, splash a little or paint a lot. The results vary by the individuals taste.
 

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I too drive my car, winter, summer, rain, whatever. In 30 years from now I won't be sorry that I didn't enjoy my car as much as I could.

My car is also stock; engine, exhaust, intake, suspension, etc. I only added some cosmetic stuff. The car has plenty of power for me and wouldn't have purchased it if I didn't like it the way it is. :D

Mods do little to add resale to the vehicle. Upgrade your car because that's what you want to do, not with the thought that the car will be worth more trading in. I know guys who put many thousands of dollars into their motorcycles (Harley's) only to be told that they are only worth what a completely stock one is worth when they try to trade them in at a dealer.

The condition of a vehicle means more for trade in value than mods do. I wouldn't want to buy a car or motorcycle that had engine mods either.
 

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I have just done cosmetic mods to my SRT, like sills, MOPAR T-shifter, SRT floor mats, Challenger trunk mat, MOPAR CAI, and various Billet under-the-hood parts. I have kept all opf my OEM parts so all of these changes can be easily reversed.
 

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To each his own. I, like the OP like a basically stock car. A few dress up items and bolt on performance pieces to make it "mine". I won't do anything that would limit it's functionality and reliability on the street or road, so it won't be lowered, regeared, supercharged or receive major modifications. I bought it to enjoy everyday, anywhere there is pavement.
 

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I am living right here and right now. I plan to change and modify my car to suit my needs. I also plan on driving the piss out of it on the track and daily if possible.

I have no problem with someone keeping a car in stock form, just not something I want to do.
 

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I read the entire thread before I hit reply and concluded everyone made excellent points. For me its a reliability thing. I want to put a blower on mine. I have the money right now to do the blower, headers, exhaust. Having said that I don't intend to race the car I'm just one of the "more power is always more better" guys.

My problem is my car is a year old and looking at 20,000 miles. We drive it on long vacations, weekend excursions during football season, and occasionally just on an out of town weekender. Warranty and reliability to huge hurdles to overcome. Just when I decide to pull the trigger on a Magnuson I read where someone had a belt tensioner fly apart and I go back into 'think about it mode'.

So far the mods I have done are not ones that would be an issue, ie, hood struts, functional scoops, wheels, tires, shift handle, stripes, etc. The motor and trans and emissions still belong to Dodge should they break.

Its a hard decision when it comes to adding things that I know are going to render my warranty void (blowers, cams, etc) on a car that gets driven a lot, and driven a long way from home. The good news is its a Challenger. It looks pretty dang sweet coming off the showroom floor.
 

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im a modder. i in no way think that the manufacturer has built the best car they possibly could. they worry about noise levels, gas levels how comfortable the drive is. wether a part can be made cheaper to cut costs, i dont have to worry about that. i build it the way i want it. there are so many aftermarket parts that increase the performance, handling, power in good ways. but its all in buying the right part, installing it right. i know performance suspsention parts have likely saved my life before.


to me there isn't a car out there that i wouldn't want to change to be "my" car. i dont want to pull up next to an identical looking car. i want to walk out of a store and know there is not a single car in that parking lot like mine. I dont buy a car worrying about what its resale value is. if i was looking at a car and thinking about its resale value i know its not right for me because why would i be thinking about selling it before i even own it. its a car, to enjoy and have fun with however i see fit.

warantee's for us are usually over within two years because we drive allot. not allot usually goes wrong in two years so i just mod as i feel nessicary.i do usually save the bigger motor modifications till were out of warantee. but again two years-three years isnt a long time. i bought a dodge challenger. in a few years it wont be that, it will be my version of a challenger. me personally i dont like seeing stock off of the factory cars. to me they are just boring. lack imagination and charachter. now i also don't mod every single car i own. but the ones i like i change to meet my vision. i dont see them as a dodge design. i see them as a sndsgood design. and i just need to make the changes to them to complete. its like a blank canvas as someone above said. and im the painter.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
OP here,

Thanks all of you for your really good posts. Even though I shy away from mods, I am ever tempted to consider one of the many quality superchargers that are available today. I saw an ad for one brand (can't remember which one) that offered a 36K mile warranty. I'm at a point in my life where I could afford a turn-key installation, and believe me it's tempting. I could go over to the "Dark Side" very easily.

DougT
 
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