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Transformation

Creating the First Sox & Martin Charger

Larry Weiner - October 04, 2012 10:00 AM

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Sunday, Sunday, Sunday, at smokin’ US 30 Dragstrip, where the great ones run.

Sox & Martin. The mere mention of the name evokes images of mighty Hemi-powered Mopars thundering down the track in a streak of red, white and blue, often on their way to another victory.

Racing on Sunday really meant selling on Monday, because the Super Stocks and early Pro Stocks that raced across this great nation were mirror images of the new high performance cars that enthusiasts could purchase right off the showroom floor.

Many racing teams started with stock automobiles purchased directly from dealers who aggressively marketed and sold performance cars, like Grand Spaulding Dodge, Nickey Chevrolet, Tasca Ford and Royal Pontiac, and then built them into full-fledged quarter-mile terrors. Men like Ronnie “Mr. 4 Speed” Sox, Bill “Grumpy” Jenkins, “Dyno” Don Nicholson, and “Dandy” Dick Landy were our heroes. We cheered them on as they defended the honor of our favorite vehicle brand. The rivalries were intense and resulted in fierce brand loyalty.

Like those exciting days of yesteryear, wickedly potent V-8-powered rear wheel drive muscle cars from GM, Ford and Chrysler are once again available from a new generation of dealers who embrace performance and vehicle personalization. As a result of the tremendous advances in automotive engineering and computer technology, today’s muscle cars offer a level of well-rounded performance and sophistication that their legendary counterparts just can’t match.

Even full-size high performance sedans like Chrysler 300s and Dodge Chargers are once again brimming with the same powertrain options that are available in their pony car stablemates. Adding to the excitement are special edition models, some of which mirror the appearance of those legendary race cars that we remember so vividly.

The 2012 Dodge Charger SRT-8 is proof positive that performance is alive and well at the Chrysler Group. This incredible modern muscle car is used as the foundation for the Sox & Martin Charger SRT-8 seen here. With its 470 horsepower 6.4L Hemi engine (392 cubic inches for those of you who prefer displacement in real numbers), this Charger is capable of knocking off solid 12-second runs on street tires in stock tune. You don’t even have to be a professional race car driver like Ronnie Sox to accomplish this feat!

The Charger seen here started life as the proverbial plain white wrapper. Painted at the factory in Bright White, it proved to be the perfect color to complement the application of a show-stopping multi-hued paint scheme that’s absolutely faithful to the original Mopars that Sox & Martin raced. The classic red, white and blue livery mirrors the appearance of those high-strung Hemi-powered race cars that we still celebrate and is authentic right down to the original style Sox & Martin Supercars shields that adorn the front fenders.

Rolling stock consists of 20x9-inch Rocket Racing Booster chrome wheels shod with Goodyear Eagle RSA 245/45R20 tires. Reminiscent of the original 15-inch Keystone Kustomags that Sox & Martin used on many of their racing vehicles, the Rocket Boosters are specifically designed to the clear the Brembo disc brakes that are standard equipment at all four corners. The four-piston calipers clamp massive slotted and ventilated rotors measuring 14.2 inches front and 13.8 inches rear, the closest thing to race caliber brakes for the street. They’re capable of hauling the 4,365 pound Charger from 60-to-0 in just 112 feet. Try matching that with a 1968 Charger R/T equipped with four-wheel drum brakes!

While the Charger pays homage to the legacy of Sox & Martin, this is far more than merely another retro-inspired modern muscle car that’s mired in the past. In a salute to the racing achievements of the Dodge Viper GTS/R, the Sox & Martin Charger features an aggressive GTS/R inspired hood from Carbon by Design. This hood not only looks great, but features a full complement of functional air vents to reduce engine heat, while relieving negative pressure under the hood, a move that enhances cornering at high speed. Out back, in place of the factory pedestal wing, a bold three-piece rear spoiler from Mr. Norm’s Garage dramatically accents the rear while potentially increasing downforce.

Under the Sniper hood, the big-bore 392 Hemi breathes easy, thanks to the addition of the low restriction Solo SRT-8 Mach X-3 cat-back dual exhaust system. Constructed of stainless steel, the large three-inch mandrel-bent system gives the 16-plug Hemi a bold, assertive rumble.

Inside, highly bolstered Recaro racing-style seats are standard equipment in the SRT-8 Charger, and provide the level of support necessary for aggressive driving. In a nod to the Sox & Martin heritage, shifting chores for the five-speed transmission can be handled by a carbon fiber-accented pistol grip shifter. For those who prefer not to take their hands off the black leather-wrapped steering wheel, shifting can be accomplished with the electronically actuated brushed aluminum paddle shifters. Further reinforcing the Sox & Martin lineage, the racing team shield logo is embroidered on the headrests and on the carpet mats. The finishing touch is a Sox & Martin serial number plate mounted on the console.

This Sox & Martin Charger SRT-8 was built by Bosak Dodge in Merrillville, Indiana, just southeast of Chicago. Working directly with none other than Mr. Norm, Bosak is following in the footsteps of Grand Spaulding Dodge, and has earned quite a reputation for offering a wide range of high performance and distinctly personalized late model Mopars. Bosak Dodge happens to be located just minutes from the site of the legendary US30 Drag Strip, which was well known for hosting popular match racing events that featured traveling pros like Ronnie Sox and his mighty Mopar who regularly faced off against competitors like Bill Jenkins and Dyno Don Nicholson.

They say that if you listen carefully when you’re in the area, you can still hear Jan Gabriel’s voice on WLS, the megawatt Chicago AM radio channel, thundering “Sunday, Sunday, Sunday, at smokin’ US 30 Dragstrip, where the great ones run.”

Perhaps there’s still magic in the air. This Charger SRT-8 is more than just a tribute to the fabled Sox & Martin Super Stockers; it’s a real muscle car that Mr. 4 Speed himself would have been proud to drive on the street and race on the strip.

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