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Dodge SRT-4 Project - The Good, The Bad And The Fugly

Friends Don't Let Friends Drive Orange.

Nate Hassler
Jun 18, 2010

Project SRT-4
I want to start off by providing a little back story here, for the sake of possible confusion amongst our readers. Project SRT-4 might look familiar to some of you, but for the rest of you guys, here's how it went down. Project SRT-4 is a build that was originally taken on by the Sport Compact Car magazine staff several years ago; at the time (early 2000s), the Dodge SRT-4 came onto the market as a powerful platform in the shape of an affordable, well-handling, easily upgradable, four-door, turbocharged four-cylinder sedan. It was the perfect budget brawler that could dish out plenty of beatings to cars much more expensive than itself.

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Times change, however. The formerly loved platform has fallen to the wayside in many people's minds, and we here at Modified have found ourselves the owners and keepers of this project car. The sad state you see before you is the result of many years of abuse, neglect, misuse and track sessions. The paint is chipping and dented, the carbon-fiber hood is bubbling and warping, and the front end has so many rock chips you can literally still read the place where a Sport Compact Car sticker sat for many years. The brakes were down to nothing, the tires were balding, the oil hadn't been changed in years and the exhaust rattled uncontrollably. Basically, the car was beaten to hell and back, and then abandoned when SCC went away -forgotten temporarily in the abyss of the Source Interlink Media garage basement.

We don't want to simply give up and throw in the towel, though - that's not our style. And because of the sheer volume of emails we get asking about this very car, we know that the SRT-4 Neon (yes, we know it's "not a Neon!") platform is still popular with die-hard fans. We have also seen some very well build SRT-4s, so we know it can be done. Never ones to step down from a challenge, we feel it's time to reintroduce Project SRT-4 and explain what our plans for the future entail.

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There are two kinds of cars in this world: ones that look good, and ones that don't. The subject of this article falls under the latter category, because however capable (and surprisingly not bad) the SRT-4 may be in the performance segment, it won't be winning any beauty contests. I apologize in advance and brace for an influx of hate mail, but it's true. Because of the awkward shape and general goofy outward appearance of the car, we're going to begin looking into ways to juice out a lot more power to make up for it. Think of Project SRT-4 like the ugly duckling, but this time he grew up, stayed ugly and beat the crap out of anyone who ever made fun of him as a kid.

Exterior-wise, a new set of wheels and possibly (please, please!) a color change is in order, but putting down more power is the primary goal here. We would love to get Project SRT-4 into the 400+ hp club, if for no other reason than to prove that this platform can still handle gobs of power on the stock block.

The suspension and brake setup is going to remain as-is for now; the crew at SCC did a good job getting the car this far, we can tell they drove it hard and with purpose. In sticking to themes, we plan to do the same because anything less would be blasphemous. So now it's off to the modern-day drawing board we call the Internet. If you have suggestions about ways we can improve the SRT-4, send us an email.

Until next time, just remember: Friends don't let friends drive orange.

By Nate Hassler
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