This muscle car icon – 1970 Dodge Challenger “Insidious” is what we say a rolling work of art. Sure, it’s a fully functional and fast vehicle with all of the amenities a modern pro-touring car has, but it’s the details which sets this Challenger aside. Dubbed “Insidious” by its creator Dave Salvaggio, this rolling sculpture packs ten pounds of attitude into a five pound box. Some of the features are Hundreds of subtle body modifications, Hilborn-injected 426 Hemi, Five speed manual, Two tone, show-winning paint, Incredible custom interior and MASSIVE presence!
When the new 2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8 debuted at the SEMA show in Las Vegas on October 30, 2007, Dodge went looking for people with the talent to showcase the best of the original. Original drag race cars were found, restored originals wore assembly-line fresh restorations, and Insidious went as the embodiment of creativity and customization. Click on Read more for more info and images!
Originally a C code slant six car, this cast-off Challenger was the perfect base for a radical creation. Salvaggio Auto Design (www.salvagioautodesign.com) drew up the car, performed numerous modifications to the body, completely reworked the chassis, installed a custom interior, and installed a 426 Hemi with Hillborn EFI. That’s the Cliffs Notes version–read on.
Start with the body. Of course, expected touches like shaved door handles and trim are present. To spot what’s different really requires another Challenger parked alongside: Shaved roof rail moldings, recontoured wheelwells, custom front fenders, flush-fit glass, a scratch-built grille and taillight panel, as well as zero exposed hardware. The hood skin was shaped from flat steel, the rear bumper was narrowed and drawn in, and the front grille, surround, header panel and front bumper are actually one piece. The fuel filter was relocated to the Dutchman panel, and uses a custom motorcycle pop-up screw cap. The paint merits its own discussion–it’s black pearl on all surfaces, but from the main contour on the sides down it’s overlaid with olive and sandstone pearls. When Mopar had it on display they used high-powered flood lights just to pick up on the color change.
Inside, no surface or material was left untouched. Where original Challengers were held to low quality materials for cost reasons, Insidious had no such limitations. If it was originally vinyl, it’s now leather, and then some. Polyester loop carpeting made way for genuine Wilton Wool, while the headliner is now Alcantara. The seats, covered front and back in Spinneybeck leather, feature suede leather inserts. The pistol grip shifter, again covered in leather, activates the Tremec TKO 600 transmission below. The Tuff steering wheel was redone in leather, and the spokes are painted the same color as the door panel inserts. The gauges are one-off pieces by Classic Instruments. Inspired by aircraft gauges they swing backwards–check out the pictures. The custom leather dash holds the power window, wiper and headlight switches, as well as access to the triple Tilton master cylinders for the brakes and clutch. A Pioneer DVD stereo with a flip-out screen takes care of the entertainment. Dynamat sound and heat insulation is used throughout the cabin. Vintage Air climate control keeps you cool in any weather.
Under the hood is a 426 Hemi crate engine from Mopar Performance. As this was an earlier crate Hemi, it suffered from valvetrain issues from the factory. Before this one was fired up, it got all new pieces to prevent a possible disaster. The cam was stepped up, too, and together with the Hillborn EFI system, custom headers and exhaust system, it puts out north of 575 horsepower. Our guys spent hours tuning the engine to start and run like a modern car–no small feat. Be Cool’s serpentine belt system is up front, holding all polished or painted accessories. What wiring wasn’t hidden is on display for effect. The color on the motor carries underneath, too–this is a thoroughly engineered project.
Flowmaster signed on to the project partway through, donating the first set of Super 44 mufflers available to the car. Sure, it’s loud, but it sounds great. Both front and rear suspensions are highly modified, and all four wheels are independently suspended. Coilovers are at all four corners, there’s rack-and-pinion steering up front and a Ford 9” center section out back with inboard disc brakes. Wilwood calipers are at all four corners for sure stops. Symbolic TS15 20″ wheels are at all four corners, mated to Pirelli PZero tires–a big 245/35/20 in the front and 275/35/20 out back.
Debuted on the Hot Rod Power Tour in 2007, the car met with rave reviews. Its subsequent ventures resulted in trophies: Awards include the Flowmaster American Thunder Award at the Goodguys Nationals in Columbus, OH, and the Goodguys Fab Five at the Goodguys Chicagoland Nationals, Chicago, IL. This is a first class showpiece for anyone looking for the ultimate custom Challenger or for someone who appreciates fine craftsmanship. Challengers simply don’t come better dressed than this one.