The Story of a Father and the Son Whose Memory Lives on Through This Flamed and Supercharged ‘09 Dodge Challenger Limited Edition SRT8
Chris and Beth Davis from Tulsa, Oklahoma, own this flamed and supercharged ‘09 Dodge Challenger Limited Edition SRT8, which they built as a tribute to their late son Christopher, who passed away from a rare bone disease just a few days before his 21st birthday. Christopher led a normal, healthy life as a child, and shared a common interest in Mopars with his father, who likewise learned to love Chrysler products through his father.
“I grew up in a Dodge family,” Davis says. “My father was the parts manager for Tulsa’s Lynn Hickey Dodge, and he would let me go with him on Saturdays whenever he was doing inventory. One time one of the parts guys took me with him on a lunch run. The car we took happened to be a ‘71 Dodge Charger with a 440 Magnum under the hood. I’ll never forget that ride. I was only 10 years old at the time, but I was hooked. My first car was a 1968 Dodge Coronet with a 383. I bought it with the money I earned from a summer job detailing cars at the local Chrysler dealership. At the time, I only had a driver’s permit, so my older brother had to ride home with me!
“When Christopher was 12, we discovered that his spine and ribs were dissolving,” says Davis. “Rods were implanted to hold him together, but when he was 17 one of them broke, and his spine collapsed, causing him to have a stroke at the brain stem. He spent his last years as a fully dependent quadriplegic on a ventilator.”
In spite of the fact that young Davis was quadriplegic from the chin down, his mind was sharp, and quitting just wasn’t an option.
“He was a strong-willed young man,” says his father. “Our relationship extended way beyond parent and son. Each time something was taken away from him (health-wise,) he would say, ‘This is just my life now.’ He felt like he was here for a reason and that he had a contribution to make. He was an enormous strength to both Beth and me.”
Sadly, Christopher passed away March 24, 2007. Obviously, his passing left a huge void in his parents’ life, a void which they desperately needed to fill.
“Being that I’ve had Mopars all my life, Christopher took a natural interest in them. He would often say, ‘When I get rich and famous I’m going to buy you a Viper,” and in a roundabout sort of way he actually did.”
Davis continues, “Christopher had a huge collection of rare coins and currency that we had bought him throughout the years. Through the sale of that collection, it allowed me to purchase the car of my dreams, but it wouldn’t be a Viper.”
Instead, Chris and Beth purchased a TorRed ‘09 Dodge Challenger Limited Edition SRT8 from Broken Arrow, Oklahoma’s Chris Nikel Dodge.
“Before I began the Challenger project I formulated a master plan of where I wanted to go with it. I wanted the car to be a full 360-degree experience with attitude. That’s why I chose the TorRed base color with the tribal flames. I even generated a finished look profile of the car in Photoshop.”
When it came time to actually do the work, Chris selected a Universal Air Suspension featuring Aeropsort ‘bags and a Dakota Digital (3) level kit along with Koni Sport shocks and struts, a Techco strut tower brace, a set of staggered 8.5 x 20 and 10 x 22-inch Pro Wheels, and P255/35xZR20 and P285/30xZR22-inch Toyo Proxes4 radial rubber. All of the suspension work was done at home in Chris’ garage with the assistance of Jerry Orcutt and Josh Schaffer.
Chris contacted Carlos Duran from Techco Industries and purchased and installed a polished 3.0L Techco reverse revolution twin-screw supercharger operating at 5.5-psi boost. Other upgrades include a set of Bosch 47-lb-hr electronic fuel injectors, a set of Denso iridium spark plugs, a K&N Cold Air Kit and lots of polish. The exhaust system on Chris SRT8 was also upgraded with a set of Magnaflow high-flow cats and a Zoomers 3-inch cat-back dual exhaust.
“Techco worked with me to tune my Challenger to suit my needs,” says Chris. “Since I am running the stock 6.1L Hemi bottom end, we decided to be conservative with the boost. However, it still gives me 515 rwhp on demand!”
Of course, Davis Challenger features the factory Tremec TR6060 manual six-speed transmission, a gift from the SRT10 Dodge Viper product line, along with a 250mm Viper twin disc clutch, which handles that 515 rwhp with ease. Rearend gearing is the stock 3.92:1-geared SRT8 live rear axle.
“When Chris brought me the car to do, I was absolutely amazed by how he had everything so well planned out,” says Terry “Wizard” McConnell, owner of Tulsa, Oklahoma’s Wizard Artworks/Daytonz Hitch & Truck Accessories. “It’s like he already had the car built in his head.”
McConnell and Danny Cecil get the credit for laying out and painting the SRT8’s tribal flames. Of course, no Wizard Artworks creation would be complete without one of McConnell’s patented striping jobs; this one is done in lime green. That also meant color-matching the SRT8’s front spoiler, side rocker panels, rear deck spoiler and rear diffuser. The grille and taillights have also been painted black or tinted by Jerry Moore.
Inside, the SRT8 features black leather, the factory multimedia navigational system with GPS and Sirius satellite radio, the factory in-dash six-disc CD/DVD/MP3 player and U-Connect hands-free telephone. Then Audio Advice of Tulsa upgraded things with the installation of a Kenwood DVD receiver, ARC Audio FL 12 12-inch subwoofer, flush-mount and color-matched ARC Audio 2150 SE 600-watt two-channel amplifier, ARC Audio 2300SE 1,300-watt subwoofer amplifier, a pair of ARC Audio 6000SE 6.5-inch component speakers, a trunk-mounted 23-inch LCD wide screen mobile monitor, Nintendo Wii game system, 200-watt Stinger power invertors and a pair of Optima Blue Top gel cell batteries to power everything.
“The trunk was built to give a full tailgating experience,” says Davis. “When you power it on, you know you are in for a ride. Movies and gaming can be enjoyed with either a small or large group. The subwoofer and air compressors are housed behind glass panels and are backlit with LEDs.”
The state of Oklahoma vanity plate on Davis SRT8 carries the name “KRPTNYT” on it.
“Christopher Reeve was my son’s idol,” says Chris. “The two of them shared common health issues, and the song “KRYPTONITE” by 3 Doors Down was Christopher’s favorite. This car is so much more than just transportation,” says Chris. “It’s a gift from my son!”
Chris and Beth Davis are founding members of the Modern Mopar Muscle (club) of Tulsa.