The Challenger is already a beautiful piece of American craftsmanship in its own right, but we can all agree that with the addition of carbon fiber- anything gets better. The guys over at Carbon By Design have come out with some very exciting pieces for the Challenger over the last couple months particularly their carbon fiber race hood, their trunk lid and their competition and race spoilers. The quality of craftsmanship that these guys put their name on the line for is second to none. Since purchasing our new 2010 SRT-8, we’ve begun adding goodies one piece of woven carbon greatness at a time. The first thing the car received- after the Borla exhaust, and skip shift eliminator of course- was the Carbon By Design rear trunk spoiler (which you may recall we wrote about back in January here). Next on the list of goodies to dress up our Challenger with is the carbon fiber hood and trunk lid. This pair of carbon woven beauties will look great on the car against the Torred paint.
The hood that CBD produces is an engineering work of art. The guys at CBD understand that it’s completely nonsensical to take something that the engineers from the manufacturer (In this case Dodge) spent countless hours designing, testing, and retooling, and then throw it out the window. What Carbon By Design has done is simply improve upon its design by reducing the weight in a way that the manufacturer couldn’t possibly do from a cost effective position. The structural rigidity of a hood is defined not only by the outer “skin” but also by the underlying “skeleton” that reinforces the underside of the hood. The skeleton design that Dodge came up with wasn’t an accident. When you look at the underside of any factory hood- you can see the skeleton that the manufacturer painstakingly designed. This design is one that has many factors in it including structural rigidity, crash crumple points and heat ducting along with other factors like support, clearance, and engine size. So, as you can see Dodge really did their homework when they designed the underside of the hood- why change it? The guys over at CBD didn’t change it, but they improved on the design by making it lighter. You can
find the skeleton on their hoods made out of one of two options- either carbon fiber, or fiberglass. Either one will work just as well as the other, but the aesthetics obviously differ and if your car is a show car, these are points to consider. The latch is another point of concern for an aftermarket hood. The latch is one of the most integral pieces of a hood, second to fitment. After all, what good is a hood if you can’t open it, or it won’t stay closed? The latches CBD uses are factory replacements that are mandrel bent, TIG welded, de-burred and then chrome plated for that factory finish. Pretty impressive.
The last point I would like to make about their hoods is the fact that their edges are truly rolled. This may seem like a small point to bring up, but there’s actually a very big benefit to rolling edges. Consider this analogy for a moment: when there’s a fly buzzing around at breakfast, and you have nothing to swat it with except the newspaper- you don’t swat at it with the paper flat. You roll it up because its stronger and more effective. The same goes for rolling the edge of a hood. When you look at a factory hood, the edges are rolled. The reasoning behind rolling the edges is the same as behind the fly swatter- it increases rigidity thereby making the hood stiffer and less prone to flexing. In the aftermarket hood industry-particularly with carbon fiber hoods- it’s not uncommon for cheaper hood manufacturers to completely forgo this process. This may seem like an unimportant step, but by rolling the edge just once, it increases the hoods structural rigidity by 50%. Now if you consider a double rolled edge- obviously that’s another 50% on top of that, making the hood
100% stiffer with a double rolled edge. You can see why this is such an integral step in creating a quality hood.
The trunk lid that CBD makes is of the same quality- complete with rolled edges. Not only does it also follow the same quality process by retaining the stock designed skeleton, but it maintains the factory look-except they’ve ever so slightly increased the width and depth of the hood to make up for the large gaps that are present on the stock piece for an overall better fit. The interior skeleton is available in the same manner as the hood where you can choose either black gel-coated fiberglass, or keep everything carbon fiber inside. Factory latching is also retained to keep everything simple upon installation for a factory fit.
Overall, the guys at Carbon By Design should be proud of themselves for making quality pieces that aren’t going to break the bank and do so without sacrificing fitment or superior finish. We’ll be sure to throw up some pictures in the future, as soon as we get everything installed on the Challenger, so you can get a great firsthand look at what fitment is like and how it improves the exterior look of the car.