As Told by Larry Weiner

Photos by Larry Weiner, Toshi Akatsuka and Bill Scharing

Bill Scharing is a hardcore Mopar enthusiast. He has two late-model Challengers, a Kenne Bell supercharged SRT-8, and his over-the-top Mr. Norm’s GSS-R that was the development vehicle for the 1000-horsepower program. His GSS-R Challenger is the ultimate dual purpose street/strip machine and proves that you really can have your cake and eat it, too.

Bill drives the Challenger to the track, installs a racing tune on the car’s computer, changes the wheels and tires, and then hits the track. When he’s done racing, he restores the street tune, puts the street tires and wheels back on, and drives home. Simple enough, eh?

In case you were wondering how he does all this without a trailer, Bill leaves the front-passenger bucket seat out of the Challenger so that he has room to carry all four wheels and tires in the car, along with an aluminum floor jack, tools, a couple of containers of E-85 racing fuel and his racing helmet.

Bill recently drove 150 miles from his home in Southern California to Famoso Dragstrip in Bakersfield and raced at this legendary track where he broke into the nines with a 9.97 @ 139.79 mph. A couple of months before that, Bill raced his Challenger in the Mojave Mile, an unlimited speed contest where he ran over 191 miles per hour and is planning to crack the 200mph barrier the next time out. Bill and his Mr. Norm’s Challenger are living proof that you can have it both ways, and then some! 

What’s it take to unleash a grand worth of horsepower from a Hemi? The Mr. Norm’s GSS-R Challenger is the brainchild of both Jim Bell, owner of Kenne Bell Superchargers, and “Mr. Norm” Kraus, a legend among Mopar enthusiasts since the Sixties. The Mr. Norm’s GSS-R Challenger is a direct response to the Shelby 1000, for which Kenne Bell provides the superchargers. Make no mistake, the Shelby 1000 is a very serious Mustang, and has amazing capabilities.

The problem was, there wasn’t a Challenger that offered the level of performance necessary to face off against the Shelby 1000. Leave it to Mr. Norm to level the playing field, working with Kenne Bell, along with some of the best and the brightest in the Mopar performance world to come up with a Challenger that’s more than ready to even up the score.

When it comes to people like Mr. Norm and Jim Bell, the old saying “great minds must think alike” rings true. When Norm spoke to Jim about developing the GSS-R, it turned out the Jim Bell was already working with Bill Scharing, whose 2010 Challenger SRT-8 is powered by a 1000 horsepower Kenne Bell supercharged Hemi, backed up by a powertrain that mirrored what Norm had outlined for the GSS-R. In fact, all of the tuning calibrations were done and the Challenger had been thoroughly tested on the track where it was running consistent low 10’s in the quarter.

Armed with this information, Norm and Jim decided that the timing was perfect to offer the 1000 horsepower combination as a new Mr. Norm’s Challenger performance package. A TorRed 2014 Challenger SRT-8 was chosen for the first production GSS-R. For the purpose-built supercharged Gen III 426 Hemi engine, Mr. Norm and Jim Bell chose to work with Chris Seidle at Seidle Motorsports. 

Chris starts with a 6.4L Hemi crank case, sonic tests it to check for cracks, machines it, and then adds nothing but the best parts. At the heart of the engine build are Scat’s 4340 stroker crank and H-beam rods with ARP 2000 rod bolts and 10:1 compression, plus Diamond custom pistons with Trend H-13 tool steel wrist pins. Also included are Total Seal AP steel rings, a Comp Cams hydraulic roller, non-MDS lifters, Cometic head gaskets, coated main and rod bearings, ARP head studs, and an ATI damper.

On top of the short block, Jim Bell recommends using the earlier 6.1L Hemi heads, as they have more material than comparable 6.4L heads, making them better suited to high-boost applications. The heads are ported and polished so that they will flow enough volume to handle the demands of as much as 23 pounds of pressure, and are finished off with a competition valve job. A Kenne Bell 3.6L liquid-cooled twin-screw supercharger provides the boost.

Not enough? Kenne Bell 4.2L and 4.5L Liquid Cooled superchargers are available options and all amazingly, fit under the stock Challenger hood. When it comes to lubrication, Kenne Bell recommends Lucas Synthetic Oil for the supercharger and engine.

The end result is a 426ci Hemi that produces 1000 horsepower on the ground at 23 lbs. of boost running on E85 fuel.  If you want to run on 91 octane pump gas, the engine can be built with 9.3:1 compression pistons and the boost is set at 15 to 17 pounds. When it comes to making max power, Kenne Bell recommends running E-85 because of the higher octane it offers, especially when compared to pump gas.

Backing up the engine is a transmission built by Paramount Performance.  This is a completely custom built unit that features extensive machining to reroute the fluid, including enlarged passages for greater fluid volume and proprietary clutches in place of the stock components. Paramount also provides a 3000rpm stall torque converter.  In addition, a custom driveshaft and half shafts are also sourced from Paramount.  For those of you who prefer to shift your own gears, a built six-speed Tremec by Rockland Standard is an available option.

A complete Mr. Norm’s 50###sup/sup### Anniversary package dresses up the TorRed Challenger GSS-R. On the outside, the Challenger features contrasting signature side and hood graphics, side scoops and chrome GSS-R fender badges. Inside, a Katzkin custom leather interior with special 50###sup/sup### Anniversary embroidered logos and a serialized dash plaque remind everyone that this is a very special Challenger, while a Mr. Norm’s Pistol Grip Shifter handles shifting chores. 

Keeping the Challenger firmly planted on the pavement are Hotchkis Performance lowering springs and sway bars. The springs lower the Challenger 0.375” (10mm) in the front and 1.250” (32mm) at the rear. The front sway bar is 110 percent stiffer than stock, while the rear is 105 percent stiffer. Rolling stock consists of a staggered set of BF Goodrich G-Force Sport Comp 2 tires, with 245/45ZR20 on the front and 275/40ZR20 on the rear, mounted on Hurst Stunner alloy wheels, size 20” x 9” on the front and 20” x 10” at the rear.

The supercharged Challenger GSS-R follows in the footsteps of a long line of high performance Dodges that Mr. Norm has developed over the years. These include the big-block 1967 H-Code 383 and 1968 M-Code 440 GSS Darts and the 1972 supercharged GSS Demon.

In addition, Mr. Norm is well known as one of the leading pioneers in the development and evolution of the super fuel funny car category with his nitro burning, supercharged Hemi powered Coronets, Chargers and Challenger. And with the launch of the supercharged Challenger GSS-R it’s obvious that Mr. Norm is not resting on his laurels.

Like all Mr. Norm’s limited edition vehicles, each Challenger GSS-R is entered into the Original Grand Spaulding Dodge Registry, and issued a Certificate of Authenticity that’s signed a sealed by Mr. Norm personally.

All told, this monster Mopar is bad to bone. There’s just no other way to describe the 1000hp Mr. Norm’s GSS-R Challenger. Not for the faint of heart, it’s a hot-blooded, fire breathing beast that’s ready to lay waste to nearly anything that pulls up next to it, anytime, anywhere.