Car Internet is deeply divided over whether it’s cool to keep the yellow “air dam shipping covers”—which Dodge installs on its Challengers and Chargers to protect lower fascias during shipping—attached, or if it’s best to throw them out. Thanks to a new video apparently taken at the Dodge Charger Widebody’s press launch, we now know what the car’s head designer thinks, and we’ve learned about a new cover color.
This comes from auto journalist and race car driver Brian Makse, who appears to be at Sonoma Raceway for the launch of the new 2020 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Widebody and 2020 Dodge Charger Scat Pack Widebody. (We were there too. Reviews coming soon on Jalopnik.)
Makse spoke with the head of design for Dodge and SRT, Mark Trostle, about the air dam shipping covers—also called “splitter guards”—that so many people keep on their Chargers and Challengers for aesthetic reasons, and that so many others seem to vehemently detest.
Here’s what Trostle had to say:
“When we did the sketch for the Charger and Challenger, it never had yellow strips on it,” Trostle says. “I wish [Challenger and Charger owners] would take them off...you’re just ruining the paint,” he continues, presumably referring to the frequently-mentioned concern that relative motion between the plastic guards and the splitter can—especially when there’s dirt entrapped—yield abrasion to the clear coat.
“They say to be removed by dealer... it’s there to ship the vehicle,” he goes on. “To me, as a designer, it ruins the lines of the car.”
Having made his position clear, Trostle then drops a bombshell:
“For the new splitter guards, we’ve introduced a new fashionable purple color that...we’ll see if that one takes off. I hope it doesn’t, but...it’s purple.”
Purple splitter guards!
It’s not clear why Dodge made this change. If they are truly meant to just be shipping guards and not design elements, then why spend time changing their color to purple? Was this a move to discourage folks from keeping the shipping covers clipped in place? I doubt it, because what’s wrong with purple?
I think this is just Dodge having fun with the trend, and I have no doubt that we’ll start seeing purple splitter guard-adorned L-platform Dodges all over the place. You just wait.
Update Oct. 7, 2019 10:40 A.M. ET: This story (including its original headline) initially stated that both Challengers and Chargers will receive the purple splitter guards. Dodge has notified me that the Challengers’ splitter guards will remain yellow, and that only the Chargers are to get the new purple design.