Windy City welcome: VIPs get the SRT® treatment at the Chicago Auto Show.
In celebration of a long-standing tradition, members of several regional and national SRT® clubs were in attendance recently at the Chicago Auto Show as SRT announced a new line of core vehicles to the world. Owners and fans of historical and present-day SRT vehicles were on-hand to enjoy Social Media Day as representatives of their respective clubs.
"This type of experience is something that fans dream of," said Marybeth Kiczenski of the Shelby Dodge Auto Club. "It is one thing to read about or hear about new cars in forums and magazines. It is a whole other experience to hear what the actual designers have to say."
After strolling through the entire Chrysler Group LLC display and perusing the Mopar® customized SRT Viper, club members met at the SRT display for a formal walk-a-round hosted by Ralph Gilles, President and CEO of SRT. Marty Jagoda, Vehicle Integration Responsible for 300 SRT and Charger SRT, toured the group through the entire Core lineup. Steve Sharples, Product Planning Manager at SRT, demonstrated the community-driven changes to the 2014 Grand Cherokee SRT.
"As an owner of SRT products and a person who can't get enough power, the facelift on the Grand Cherokee SRT makes me want to go out and get one," said Mark Schumann, Race Director for the Viper Club of Illinois. "I love the tinted headlights and new grille."
Mark Trostle, head of exterior design for SRT and Mopar, invited the group on stage for a chance to sit inside the SRT Viper, which made its Illinois debut at the show. Those on-hand were invited to ask questions to gain insight to be shared with their clubs and forums.
"This year was particularly interesting to the Viper Club of Illinois due to the return of the Viper," said Club President Alex Ristanovic, "And, of course, our own obsession with the rest of the SRT line, which had substantial change. Reaction to our visit at the Chicago Auto show preview was well-received. It was also well-timed, as it was exciting news to share at our club party the very next day."
The historical SRT lineup is diverse, ranging from the legendary Neon SRT4 sport compact and venerable Ram SRT-10 to the taut Crossfire SRT6 and menacing Magnum SRT8. Owners from all branches of the SRT community came together to celebrate the growing success of their beloved vehicle brand.
"It was a pleasure to meet several SRT executives and engineers, and be introduced to all the new SRT vehicles, on behalf of my involvement with the club," said Gary Wemple, a member of the Crossfire International Car Club, Inc. "Afterwards, I toured the entire one-million square foot auto show and captured about 325 photos."
"We are honored to be recognized by SRT as a premier club," said Phil Boudreau, President of Chicagoland SRT Club. "Nowhere else can you stand face-to-face with the people who design these cars and talk to them on a personal level."