• Mopar expands line of factory-modified models
  • Special editions include appearance and performance upgrades
  • Compass True North, 500 Stinger, Dart 210 Tribute and Mopar '12 300S revealed

Growing from an anti-freeze brand into a global parts and service company does not happen overnight, but Mopar has done just that since its humble 1937 beginnings. Committed to providing parts and service for Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram truck and now FIAT brands, the company has remained competitive thanks to involvement in motorsports - from quarter-mile drag strips to high desert trails - and a five-year growth plan that began in 2009. Mopar offers a host of factory-modified editions and aftermarket parts and accessories. In celebration of its 75th anniversary, Mopar just added modified versions of four vehicles to the lineup, all making their official debut next week at the Chicago Auto Show.

Mopar director of marketing Tricia Hecker pulled a sheet off of the first of the four special vehicles this morning at Mopar's Accessory and Performance Parts Lab in Center Line, Michigan. Hecker revealed the Jeep Compass True North, modified for enhanced off-road performance and including unique styling upgrades. A two-inch lift improves ground clearance and wheel articulation, while a matte black brush bar and skid plate provide protection from off-road hazards. Matte black finishes also cover the wheels, wheel flares, grille and roof. Inside, durable neoprene upholstery replaces the stock material and an inclinometer provides the driver with accurate vehicle position information. A cargo mat and splash guards, two already-popular add-ons for the Compass, are included, and just for fun, a special Kicker audio system provides the entertainment.

Hecker also revealed the next vehicle, the FIAT 500 Stinger. Slotting in between the standard 500 and the new Abarth high-performance model, the Stinger provides upgrades in two stages, one for appearance and one for performance. The appearance kit includes a slightly modified front fascia, projector-beam headlamps and blacked-out side mirrors, door handles and 17-inch wheels. A black stripe runs down the side of the yellow 500, and a black checkerboard graphic covers the roof. Inside, the Stinger gets a carbon fiber instrument panel, gloss black shifter and special yellow and black upholstery. Stage Two performance upgrades include a cold-air intake, cat-back exhaust, added bracing and cross-drilled brake rotors.

Jim Sassorossi, Mopar's director of global parts sales and marketing, took the wraps off of the remaining two vehicles, first revealing the Dart GTS 210 Tribute. The tweaked version of Dodge's latest new model, the compact Dart sedan, harks back to the late-1960s Dart and includes both styling and performance modifications. Matte black details like a chin spoiler, sills, decklid spoiler and roof join a carbon fiber hood, which saves weight, too. The Dart 210 gets 18-inch black forged wheels as well, while its interior is highlighted with special red and black leather upholstery and a suede dash brow. Output of the Dart's 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine is up 26 horsepower to 210 thanks to an improved intake and a cat-back exhaust. To improve handling, the Dart 210 is lowered by one inch and includes coil-over suspension and performance brakes with cross-drilled rotors.

Rounding out Mopar's offerings in its 75th year is the latest in a series of special Mopar cars that started with the Mopar '10, a souped-up Challenger, and the Charger-based Mopar '11. Called Mopar '12, the latest is a modified Chrysler 300S with blacked-out details inside and out and a 3.91:1 final drive ratio, the result of a more aggressive differential that allows low-five-second zero to 60 mph sprints. The stealth look includes a "black chrome" grille and grille surround and black twenty-inch wheels wearing three-season Goodyear Eagle F1 tires. Blue pinstripes give a subtle sporty look to the hood and body sides, while Mopar-embroidered seats with contrasting blue stitching and a large, 8.4-inch touch screen are among interior upgrades.

Mopar's ambitious rollout of factory-modified vehicles and special performance and appearance parts continues with this latest round of special models to celebrate 75 years in business. Each of these models provides a unique alternative to standard models and offers higher performance, whether on-road or off. Many upgrades are also available on an individual basis should customers prefer more mild or specific enhancements.

What it means to you: Celebrating 75 years in business, Mopar revealed four new, factory-modified vehicles that debut at next week's Chicago Auto Show. Each offers enhanced performance and unique styling.

author photo

Nick Palermo is an automotive writer and lifelong car nut. He follows new and late-model used vehicles for AutoTrader.com, writes about vintage cars for Hemmings Classic Wheels and blogs on all things automotive at LivingVroom. He lives in Atlanta with his wife and twins.

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