You may not have ever heard of Mr. Norm, but today’s Nice Price or No Dice Challenger will let you pretend you’re the best of friends. That is if the six-figure price tag doesn’t sour the relationship.
There’s a well-worn joke that could be applied to yesterday’s 1999 BMW 528i Touring and other cars of its ilk. The apropos wry aside that we could employ is the old saw: “The operation was a success, but the patient died.” In the case of the otherwise appealing Bimmer, that death came by way of a rebuilt title. That, as we all know, can negatively affect the so-afflicted car’s value. As an example, when paired with an $8,500 asking price, that title sent yesterday’s wagon down in a 65 percent No Dice loss.
It’s safe to espouse that the 1960s was the heyday of the muscle car era here in America. And it’s arguable that no one did more to push muscle cars onto the streets than Norm Kraus. It was Kraus — or more accurately “Mr. Norm” — who, along with his brother, Len, opened the Grand Spaulding Dodge dealership in 1963. Mr. Norm’s passion for racing and his penchant for marketing led to earning a name for himself as one of the Midwest’s best-known racer car sponsors, and that, for a time, led Grand Spaulding to become one of the country’s biggest purveyors of Mopar performance.
Mr. Norm passed away last year at the ripe old age of 87, but his legend lives on in this 2013 Mr. Norm 50th Anniversary Dodge Challenger. This is one of 100 built to honor the opening of the Grand Spaulding dealership five decades earlier. The Base Challenger — if you can call it base — offers a 470 horsepower 392 Hemi V8 and a five-speed automatic. To that has been added a Hurst shifter, gold-painted 20-inch Hurst wheels, and a number of Mr. Norm totems throughout. The latter include embroidery on the seatbacks, Mr. Norm floor mats (have some respect and don’t get them muddy), and a special paint and stripe treatment on the outside.
The upholstery was done by Katskin and includes gold stitching. There’s a serial plaque on the dash but the seller doesn’t bother to tell us where this car sits in the production run. The ad does note that no one has bothered to pull the protective plastic off the stereo yet. All of the 50th Anniversary accouterments seem to have been added by GSS Supercars, a modding shop that also gets its own billing on the Challenger’s hood and flanks.
This isn’t exactly just an appearance package strapped to an already hair-shirt car. According to the Internet, the 50th Anniversary cars received Mr. Norms/Hotchkis Performance lowering springs and anti-sway bars to improve the handling and the angle of the dangle on those BFG-clad Hurst alloy wheels. On the ‘that’s an odd choice side of things’ side, it’s also equipped with LEDs up in front that can turn the headlights all kinds of different colors, including a couple that are probably against the law in a number of states.
According to the ad, the car was in a museum in Tennessee before the seller took possession. The ad also oddly notes that the car “will become even more valuable” now that “Dodge is no longer producing the Challenger.” Huh? That’s news to me.
The car comes with a clean title and 20,000 miles on the clock. Per the seller, one of these sold on the Internet for $143,000, which is a lot of money even for the Internet.
This one asks $100,000 and the seller claims that price to be “fair” and says it’s “not negotiable.” The seller also avers to be in no rush to sell the Challenger since they say that they “just like to look at it.”
Well, we can negotiate to our communal heart’s content since all of our back and forth is purely hypothetical. Hey, let’s do that right now.
What’s your take on this Mr. Norm 50th Anniversary Challenger and that $100,000 price tag? Does that seem like a deal to honor one of the biggest names in Dodge dealers? Or, will that price have Mr. Norm rolling in his grave?
H/T to Jerry Cleveland (again!) for the hookup!
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