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Chrysler Group’s SkunkWerks Team Displays Lineup of Creative Gems

Las Vegas, Oct 31, 2006 - The annual Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) trade show has witnessed the debut of a number of cutting-edge vehicles from Chrysler Group’s SkunkWerks team in the past few years. This year will be no different, as Mopar® and the SkunkWerks team will debut new custom vehicles at SEMA.

Jeep® Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon

Takes the already off-road benchmark Jeep Wrangler to a whole new level. Built by a team of dedicated Jeep enthusiasts, this Wrangler represents the best of the best of what Jeep has to offer.

The interior features custom Katzkin leather seating with GPS navigation and satellite radio.

Plenty of power and traction with the new 3.0L CRD diesel under the hood and the incredible Tru-Lok-equipped Dana 44 axles underneath. Performance suspension lift allows clearance for 35-inch BFG Mud Terrain tires mounted on Custom 18-inch aluminum wheels supplied by Taneisya.

The exterior features a Warn 9.5ti winch mounted on American Expedition Vehicles new front bumper. A full-size spare is carried by our new Mopar performance rear bumper. And it looks like a billion bucks – sprayed in a rich Rolex Silver paint.

Jeep® Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon tricked and tuned for the 2006 SEMA Show by Chrysler Group's SkunkWerks design team.Jeep® Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon tricked and tuned for the 2006 SEMA Show by Chrysler Group's SkunkWerks design team.

Jeep® Compass Rallye

Rallye body kit by Mopar
Modified Rallye rear spoiler by Mopar
Hood with integral scoop and mesh grille
Radiator grille – mesh inserts
Hid driving lamps – PIAA 800
Mid-gate high wing spoiler
Doors – ditches removed
Roof – molding removed
Rear step pad – removed
Mirror caps – body color
Door handles – body color
Fuel door – painted body color
Tinted tail lamps
Upper door pillars – painted black

Chassis/Powertrain System
Radiator – silver
Front wheels – Mopar 18 x 7
Rear custom billet 19 x 9
Brakes – modified PM SRT
Tires – Toyo PROXES S/T F-255/55 R18, R-255/50 R19
Exhaust – cat-back Borla
Strut power brace – Mopar performance
Cold air intake system – Mopar performance
Rallye badges by Mopar

Instrument panel
Base panel – black with carbon fiber bolsters
Center stack bezels – painted silver
Center stack upper – Mopar performance guages with custom housing
AM/FM 6-disk CD/MP3 player and DVD navigation (REC)
Billet shift knob with carbon fiber grip
Bright pedal kit by Mopar
Door upper panels – carbon fiber
Door main panels – painted black
Door switch bezels – painted silver
Seats – Katzkin carbon fiber body with silver center

Jeep® Patriot

Trail-rated and designed to maximize the capability of the most off-road worthy vehicle in its class. Custom suspension lift raises the suspension 2.5 inches over stock-ride height and provides over 11 inches of ground clearance – to make way for the 31-inch BFG Mud Terrain tires on 16-inch Jeep Moab rims supplied by Prime Wheel. The front fascia is replaced by a custom steel bumper designed to protect the front end while allowing for as much tire exposure as possible. Custom roof rack ensures there’s plenty of storage for any occasion. Auxiliary lighting brightens any dark trails.

Jeep® Patriot tricked and tuned for the 2006 SEMA Show by Chrysler Group's SkunkWerks design team.Jeep® Patriot tricked and tuned for the 2006 SEMA Show by Chrysler Group's SkunkWerks design team.

Jeep® Wrangler Rubicon King

An amplification of Jeep's most capable off-road machine. Taking full advantage of the 4:1 ratio Rock-Trac transfer case and Tru-Lok equipped Dana 44 axles, the Rubicon King utilizes massive BF Goodrich 37 x 12.50-17 TA Krawler tires mounted on Mopar/Hutchinson beadlock wheels. Superlift Suspension provided its new 4-inch lift for extra ground clearance and Warn-supplied new 9.0 RC Rock Crawling Winch.

Custom features include relocation of the spare tire where the back seat used to reside, fender flares and grille trimmed for extreme clearance, trick lighting, military spec tow shackles and radio delete plate. Other features include American Expedition vehicle's new heat-reduction hood and rear corner guards.

Not destined to be a show queen, it’ll be put to the test in Moab Utah during Easter Jeep Safari.

Jeep® Wrangler Rubicon King tricked and tuned for the 2006 SEMA Show by Chrysler Group's SkunkWerks design team.Jeep® Wrangler Rubicon King tricked and tuned for the 2006 SEMA Show by Chrysler Group's SkunkWerks design team.

The SkunkWerks Team

Started in 2002, Chrysler Group’s SkunkWerks team is a group of in-house enthusiasts brought together by passion to bring visionary automotive ideas to life. Since its creation, the SkunkWerks team has become known as a breeding ground for creative automotive minds. The team creates complete vehicle concepts that are meant to develop performance parts, accessories and customization, as well as new vehicle concepts. In fact, the first-generation SRT4 was born from a SkunkWerks style initiative.

“The SkunkWerks team has been around for a while,” said Ralph Gilles, Chrysler Group Vice President – Jeep/Truck & Component Design, who oversees the team. “We’ve been doing special projects for about five years. It’s the usual suspects—a bunch of enthusiasts from our union shops, the design office, SRT and Mopar engineering. We get together every year and come up with ideas on what kinds of cars we could build to flex the potential in our platform and also show Chrysler Group’s enthusiast side.”

The SkunkWerks team takes special pride in the customized, “straight from the factory” vehicles it produces.

“The teams are small and very focused,” said Gilles. “The cars hold a special place in their hearts and they know how important the vehicles are to Chrysler Group. Our internal culture allows this unique cross-pollination of ideas. There are no titles in the teams, just ideas and passion to keep the Mopar spirit alive. It’s something unique to us – that only we could do. The projects have also unearthed great talent in our skilled trade employees. We’ve brought the metal, paint, plastic and wood shops together –with amazing results.”

“For me the most fun part of this project was actually creating things out of thin air,” said Steve Meloche, a member of the SkunkWerks team who designed nearly 100 parts for one of the team’s 2006 SEMA vehicles, the Dodge Challenger Super Stock concept project. “We took a Dodge Magnum underbody chassis and a Challenger concept shell, and married the two. Then we literally dreamed the vehicle in between!”

“These projects give you the chance to use your own creative abilities and your past experiences, whereas some other projects are more rigid and you don’t have that opportunity,” said Roger McCallum, build leader on the Dodge Challenger Super Stock concept project. “It makes you feel like you’ve accomplished something. When the car is done, you might see it at SEMA show or at an auto show. That’s a great feeling.”

“There is so much creativity in this team,” said Gilles. “A lot of these guys are hot rodders by nature. They bring, in some cases, 30 years of hot rod experience to the project. A lot of these guys have lived it and breathed it, and now they have the chance to create it again. These guys love this.”

“All the workers on this team are creative and are proud of their work,” said George Wiegand, build supervisor. “They relish the opportunity to let their creative abilities show on jobs like this. You always hear about the outside shops that do this kind of work. Mopar and the SkunkWerks team are proving that we can do the same work in-house.”

About DaimlerChrysler’s Mopar® Brand

When Chrysler bought Dodge in 1928, the need for a dedicated parts supplier led to the formation of the Chrysler Motor Parts Division. In 1937, Mopar® (a simple contraction of the words MOtor and PARts) was created for the business of distributing parts through a depot system and car divisional wholesalers.

Mopar made its mark in the 1960s – the muscle car era. Beginning in 1962, Mopar carried a line of “Special Parts” for super stock drag racers and developed its racing parts division called Mopar Performance Parts to enhance speed and handling for both road and racing use.

Today, Chrysler Group’s Global Service & Parts division is responsible for the manufacturing and distribution of nearly 250,000 authentic Mopar replacement parts, components and accessories for Chrysler, Jeep® and Dodge vehicles sold around the world. To assure quality, reliability and durability, all Mopar parts and accessories are designed in strict adherence to DaimlerChrysler engineering standards.

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