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DaimlerChrysler: Dodge Super 8 Hemi Concept

NAIAS 2001

“All American” Return of the Sedan

The Dodge Super8 Hemi® concept car is DaimlerChrysler’s newest execution of Passenger Priority design. Borrowing cues from Dodge trucks and sport-utilities, the Dodge Super8 Hemi is an all-American sedan — yet one reincarnated with a tall stance that enhances visibility, comfort, space and ease of entry and exit for both driver and passengers

Dodge Super 8 Hemi Concept
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“The Dodge Super8 Hemi embodies the culture and essence of all-American optimism,” said Freeman Thomas, Vice President — Advanced Design Strategy, DaimlerChrysler Corporation, on the occasion of the 2001 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

Dodge Super 8 Hemi Concept
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“The concept’s bold, in-your-face design shows our ability to embrace our love for the sedan and meld it with invigorating execution and technological advancement,” added Thomas, who oversaw the design for the Dodge Super8 Hemi.

Dodge Super 8 Hemi Concept
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Confident, expressive character lines accent the Super8’s side view. Its chiseled body and tall-stance proportions suggest exemplary handling and stability substantiated by a long wheelbase (117.4 inches/ 2982 mm) and wide track (62.5 inches/1588 mm front, 62.8 inches/1595 mm rear).

A prototype 353 cu. in. (5.7-liter) pushrod V-8 engine featuring hemispherical combustion chambers and two spark plugs per cylinder powers the Dodge Super8 Hemi concept. Its estimated 353 horsepower (263 kW) and 395 lb.-ft. (536 N•m) of torque are delivered to the rear wheels via a four-speed AutoStick® manumatic transmission, allowing the vehicle to reach 60 mph. (97 kph) in less than six seconds and clock a top speed of 154 mph. (248 kph).

The concept’s independent suspension with modified MacPherson struts in front delivers precise steering, while the five-link coil-over-shock rear set-up further enhances the ride and handling.

Dodge Super 8 Hemi Concept  Dodge Super 8 Hemi Concept
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Designed with family in mind, American sedans of the past have primarily been defined by their spaciousness and passenger comfort. While in recent years more attention has been given to vehicle performance, contemporary design and luxury, space and comfort are still key factors.

The Passenger Priority design utilizes panoramic seating for driver and passengers, allowing for higher seating to give them more of an in-control feeling compared to other sedans. In fact, the rear passengers sit higher than the front passengers, creating an automotive form of theater seating.

The Dodge Super8 Hemi’s interior pays homage to the legendary vehicles of the 1950s, featuring a combination of brushed and painted aluminum gauges and trim. The concept’s ornate instrument panel recalls the era’s characteristic shapes while adding sophisticated and high-tech appeal.

“The Dodge Super8 Hemi’s interior conveys a certain nostalgic optimism expressed in a modern, purposeful design,” said interior designer Bill Chergosky. “We not only borrowed design cues from cars of the ’50s, but other evocative aspects from that era, such as jukeboxes and diners.”

Adding emphasis to the concept’s retro look, the front and rear cabins feature bench seats, which are anchored to the floor at the ends, and slide independently along a custom rail system. The bench seats, along with the absence of a B-pillar, enhance the concept’s spaciousness and create an open, social interior atmosphere.

“At first glance, the seats appear to be floating in air,” added Chergosky. “With support coming only from the rail system, the lack of a middle support creates a spacious, bridge-like form. Not only does this add to the interior storage capacity, but it also allows for easy folding and unfolding of the seats.”

The concept’s high-tech interior features stand in accord with its expressive exterior. The electronic design effort was led by Steve Buckley, Manager — Electronic Product Innovation at DaimlerChrysler’s Liberty & Technical Affairs, who said he envisioned an environment that balanced luxurious heritage with modern technology.

“The concept’s use of technology adds acclaim to our commitment to innovation excellence,” said Buckley. “Emulating our pioneering design team, we constantly strive to initiate bold technological concepts that deliver meaningful appeal. With the Super8, form truly does follow function.”

The Dodge Super8 Hemi is equipped with a multi-passenger “Infotronic” system, which accommodates all data and information needs for driver and passengers.

The “Infotronic” system is the result of cooperative efforts among researchers at DaimlerChrysler’s Research and Technology Center in Palo Alto, Calif., Sun Microsystems and the Espial Group. Unique features include an off-board navigation system, Internet-based real-time weather and traffic updates, e-mail and access to your Internet-enabled home and appliances.

The Infotronic system is directed by a voice recognition system or through its liquid crystal display integrated into the instrument panel. Voice commands allow the driver to access the mobile office screens and control the vehicle’s audio, climate control, diagnostics, phone and security systems as well as the driver’s home security system.

For rear occupants, two LCD touch screens on articulating arms are mounted to the backrests of the front seats, enabling a fully Internet-accessible in-car environment.

Among the many features, rear passengers can access real-time trip status information, such as a map display, estimated time of arrival or distance to the destination, and play a custom location-based on-line trivia game with other vehicle occupants or with players in other vehicles.

In addition, rear occupants can retrieve pictures from the family’s Internet-enabled home security camera, for instance, to check up on a pet left home alone.

Further emphasizing its grasp of modern technology, the Dodge Super8 Hemi comes equipped with a Sirius Satellite Radio. This offers digital quality radio, ensuring clear reception coast-to-coast from more than 100 unique news, sports and entertainment channels, of which 50 music channels are commercial-free.

Additionally, a media-beaming application enables wireless transfer of digital audio (MP3) and video (MPEG) files between a home entertainment system and the vehicle while parked in the driveway or garage.

All pictures: Chrysler

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