The Moment Of Truth

While touring back in 2008 with the Dodge Challenger SRT8, I stumbled across a place called National Speed in Wilmington, NC. It’s a small, well-dressed performance shop with a floor clean enough to eat off of.
They tweak and tune everything from 4-cylinder pocket rockets all the way up to V-10 powered Vipers. And it’s that diversity of projects that has National Speed poised to become the next big name in the tuner game.
Jordan Watson, Performance Consultant for the shop, emphasized the core values of National Speed. “Our goal from day one has been to remove the fear of tuning a car, ” he stated. “Owners are understandably concerned about the final results of modifying their car. ‘Will it produce the power you say it’s going to?’ ‘Will it remain reliable?’ ‘And will the car be durable over the long haul?’ These are all questions we hear and commend consumers for asking. “This is a big deal, ” he added. “We operate in the most honest, straightforward ways possible.”
Jordan, an admitted gear head from birth, fits in perfectly at National Speed. “My parents will tell you that I used to spread car ads all across the floor from the time I was in diapers. Then, as I grew up, I would develop build plans for each and every car of my dreams. As I got older, I graduated to building and driving them in video games like Gran Turismo. Finally, in my teenage years, I progressed to actually working with and driving modified cars. It’s been a passion ever since. Performance cars are in my blood.” Now, when it comes to his client’s cars, he emphatically stated, “I’m 110% committed.”
The great thing about National Speed is that when they get done tuning your car, they have the ability to strap it down on their in-house dyno. As an owner, you get to see the results live in person.
So, when the all-new 2011 Dodge Charger R/T and Challenger SRT8 392 arrived on the scene, we were ready to get thrown to the wolves. While other manufacturers may shudder at the thought of seeing their cars on the rollers, we here at Dodge have no fear.


Watch the following video to see how things turned out…


As you can see, both 2011 models are making serious real world horsepower. Keep in mind, this testing was performed with both cars in bone-stock form on a neutral, non-Chrysler dyno. You could not ask for a more unbiased scenario.
Dodge Car Brand President and CEO Ralph Gilles chimed in, as well. “We’ve known that our new 392 HEMI would perform well on the dyno. From behind the steering wheel it is real in your seat power you can feel on the road.” Gilles added. “Our recent 1/4 mile times at Infineon Dragway confirm these impressive numbers. We drove to a 12.44@110 mph, which is the kind of time associated with much higher horsepower cars. Our new owners are going to be amazed not only with the power, but with the amazing handling, too.”
After the dust had settled and everyone’s hearing returned to normal in the dyno room, we asked Jordan what he thought of the new hardware from Dodge.
“I am floored by both cars, ” he exclaimed. “The Charger looks ready to attack and it’s getting my heart pumping. “When you look at the SAE numbers (470 hp) on this engine and factor in typical assumed driveline losses (15 percent), this 392 is still pulling some very serious numbers at the rear wheels on our dyno.”
Jordan continued, “Dodge is accentuating an already great platform. Both the new Charger and Challenger make Dodge more than relevant against the competition.”
“We here at National Speed have tuned a lot of LX cars in the past. All SRT products have great brakes, suspension and power. We just massage it a little bit, ” he explained. “Expect big things from National Speed when it comes to these vehicles – especially with the 392, ” Jordan gushed.

That all said, the proof is obviously in the pudding. Dodge has done its homework and fitted both cars with two tremendous powertrains. Both the Charger R/T and Challenger SRT8 392 have been put to the test and passed with flying colors. The video simply does not lie.
Adam Forte, SRT Engineer, summed up these results perfectly. “Our hope is that the public understands the tremendous power and overall ability of these cars. They over-deliver on both the performance and value sides – just like the original HEMI.”


    Posted December 11, 2010 at 12:54 am | Permalink

    Less than 12.5 second quarter mile times with the 392 HEMI. That is pretty darn good.

  • Posted December 11, 2010 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    Everyday I’m checking that Dodge site to see that the 392 is available for purchased, everyday. Great post!

  • Harrison
    Posted December 13, 2010 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for giving us no actual specs. I refuse to believe that the dyno tested at exactly the horsepower it was reported as, especially after putting thousands of miles on it driving across America for no reason when the car could just be put in a showroom. I read another article that said that the 392 Dyno’d over 500hp at the flywheel and 452 at the rear wheels. If your “15%” driveline loss is a remotely accurate number this would put the horsepower at a mere 401 from the rear wheels.

  • Jimmy
    Posted December 13, 2010 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

    500 hp with a 15% loss is 425! That tells me that the 470hp that Dodge claims is a bit low. I have my EYE on you Dodge, And I hope to have my hands on a new Challenger soon!1

  • Scott Vandekerckhove
    Posted December 14, 2010 at 1:43 am | Permalink


    This is Scott from the HEMI Highway Tour writing. I am the lucky one who gets to drive the 392 on this trip across the nation.

    When I read your post, I said to myself, “Here’s a guy with a healthy dose of skepticism.” I applaud your thoughts. It’s always good to question the integrity of data.

    We put both the Challenger and Charger on the dyno at National Speed because it gives people an unbiased view of the performance of each car. As I stated in the story, this was a non-Chrysler dyno and not a single Chrysler Engineer was on site. We thought, and think you would agree, that this was the perfect scenario to get a glimpse at real world horsepower and torque numbers.

    The final outputs that Jordan Watson (Performance Consultant for National Speed) speaks of in parts of the above video are indeed true. Even though we didn’t post the dyno graphs, you can see the Charger graphs within the video (327 hp – 350 lb/ft).

    And while you don’t get a glimpse of the 392 graph, have a look at this YouTube video posted by Jordan himself just after we had finished. You’ll get a good look at the dyno chart…

    The numbers are true and get backed up by video evidence. All the numbers are also SAE corrected for even more accuracy.

    If you still have doubts, I understand. Maybe you think our runs at National Speed were a fluke? Fair enough.

    But back on December 8, 2010, we visited Hennessey Performance in Sealy, TX. In their possession is a DynoJet brand dyno; just like the one at National Speed. Once again, a non-Chrysler dyno with no Chrysler Engineers in sight.

    This time around, the Charger put down 340 hp and 365 lb/ft. A gain of 13 hp and 15 lb/ft from the first run. Here’s the video with a vivid look at the dyno chart afterwards.

    The Challenger SRT8 392 put down 432 hp and 424 lb/ft. A gain of 12 hp and 5 lb/ft from the first run. Here’s the video with a vivid look at the dyno chart afterwards.

    These new dyno numbers signify a trend. We have put both cars on the same brand machines, and we’ve seen significant gains in both horsepower and torque with time and some additional mileage. Again, the video does not lie.

    One more thing that often gets overlooked in high performance cars is their fuel economy. I figured I would let you know that I drove from Albuquerque, NM to Tucson, AZ all today. Speed limit is 75 most of the way. I kept my speedometer between 75 and 80mph almost the entire 6+ hour trip. The new 392 got up to 23.3mpg. Not too shabby if you ask me. Especially with so much power on tap.

    You can view pictures of my MPG gauge, speedometer, and odometer as the mileage rose from 21.5 mpg up to 23.3 mpg.

    I hope this message helps put to rest your doubts on the performance of both the 2011 Dodge Charger R/T and Challenger SRT8 392.

    And, so you’re aware, this tour was based around our most loyal fans. We felt it was important to interface with Dodge’s deepest enthusiasts because they are the ones who breathe life into this company. We thought it was vital to give them all a first look before the cars got to the showroom floor. Had we just thrown cars in a dealership, I’m not sure it would have resonated as well as this tour has.

    Too bad you couldn’t join us on a stop. I think you would see and feel the passion people have for their own cars and both the ones we are driving as well. It is intense.

    Nevertheless, Heather and I are having the time of our lives out here. We are extremely fortunate to be the ones out here on the road with Dodge’s biggest fans. It is very special.

    Thanks for following the HEMI Highway Tour here on Lots more to come!!!

  • Dodge Holiday
    Posted December 14, 2010 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    Harrison – I hesitate to believe that ‘air’ even exists. I can’t see it? But it’s there! Why would National Speed risk their reputation putting out erroneous data? There have been skeptics around since the beginning of time. Magellan disproved a crazy notion that the earth was flat. Kudos to the Dodge Tour and National Speed for showing America what this 392 beast is all about; RAW HORSEPOWER.

  • Harrison
    Posted December 14, 2010 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    I didn’t mean to attack anyone, I mean don’t get me wrong; the challenger is my absolute dream car. I actually ordered a 2011 SRT8 (not 392) in November and check every day to see what the status is on the build date. I was just a little worried that I would barely be putting out 400 at the rear wheels. I appreciate your comment back Scott, don’t take my comment about the HEMI Highway Tour personal, I just really want to get my car. Those numbers sound a lot better than I had thought, but without the actual numbers posted, I could only take what you told me, that it would be a 15% loss, which would have been a lot more than the car actually did lose.

  • R. Bratke
    Posted December 16, 2010 at 2:21 am | Permalink

    I have a 2010 Challenger SRT8. I added Kooks headers and a performance exhaust with high flow cats. It dyno’d at 387 RWHP. Just a thought for you non 392 guys.

  • Ron Cappuccio
    Posted January 5, 2011 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

    All I can say is WOW. I want one. Do you think Dodge would trade me even for my 09 Challenger Classic ? 🙂 I also want Scott’s shirt, That is one very cool looking shirt. I would love to test drive the 392 Challenger, It looks like it would be a lot of fun to drive.

    Thanks Dodge for posting the video !!!!

  • Posted January 5, 2011 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    I’ve been saving for another car to add to my small collection. It was going to be a1969 or 1970 Charger but…this new Challenger has me hooked. I guess it’s OK to have an 2008 and 2011 ST8 in the same garage.

  • Posted January 5, 2011 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    Yea Scott where did you get that shirt?

    Please tell.

  • Posted January 5, 2011 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    Come on, Scott. A few of us would like to know where to purchase that shirt!

    Posted January 5, 2011 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    You can purchase the shirt online:, DODGE NATION, Dodge Merchandise..

    Posted January 5, 2011 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

    You can purchase the shirt online:, DODGE NATION, Dodge Merchandise..

  • Posted January 5, 2011 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    Thank you, Sublime!

    Posted January 5, 2011 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

    You are welcome, Mark. By the way, they have some cool diescast cars for sale as well. They are selling the Brad Keselowski NASCAR Nationwide Challenger that he won a race in and they have a set of R/T Classic Challengers in all of the colors that they made them in 2010. I think Keselowski’s Challenger may be worth some money in the future since he won a championship for Dodge with it. Buy one to show support for Brad and his crew. He has been loyal to Dodge all of his life. Hopefully, he can win the Sprint Cup Championship this year.

  • Posted January 5, 2011 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

    Thanks, Sublime. I’m going to get the Brilliant Black Crystal Pearl Coat one that is like mine. Only thing missing is the red striping on the hood and fender.

    Posted January 5, 2011 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

    I like the black and red combination. Looks sharp!

  • Mike Haislet
    Posted January 9, 2011 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

    I have one great black 09 srt8 6 speed its the first one built on the planet for public sale documented
    However I just bought a 392 via Bob Frederick the car should be here in late Feb cant wait soon to be a two srt home!
    Buh Bye corvette its been fun but time for you to go!
    Scott and Heather great job you sold me in a big way!
    Like I said if they built one Id buy one and thats just what I did scott talk with Bob F soon he has some amazing info to share.
    Thankyou again…
    Scott if you have time email me direct please 🙂

    Mike 🙂

  • Notsure
    Posted January 9, 2011 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

    Im sold big time!

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