Neon to be featured in Car & Driver Magazine, on Spike TV

Neon to be featured in Car & Driver Magazine, on Spike TV
By MARLA PISCIOTTA, Tribune Staff Writer

Car and Driver Magazine’s Super Four Challenge was held this past week in Jackson, Mich. Among the cars tested was a 2004 Dodge Neon SRT-4, only one of two American cars that participated in the event. The magazine is considered to be the premier auto magazine in the industry with subscriptions of over one million.

The Neon is owned by local businessman Gary Howell.

Howell, owner of Howell’s Automotive, said, “Twenty teams were invited, 16 showed up for the competition.”

Teams invited are considered to be the best top tuners in the world.

Competition included two classes – front wheel and all wheel/rear wheel drive. Howell’s Neon is front wheel. According to Howell, different writers and editors of the magazine took the cars out for test drives.

“They evaluated how they drive, and probably put 200 miles on each car,” said Howell.

On the second day of the trip, cars were moved to Brooklyn, Mich., and run on the Michigan International Speedway. “They weighed them and cars were impounded so no modifications could be made before more tests were done,” Howell said.

The following day the cars were tested on the speedway. Tests included speed from 0-60 mph from a standing start, time in a quarter mile, left turns into a road course and turns entering a big speedway into two 90-degree turns made out of cones.

Excelerated speeds up to 130 miles per hour were reached and then the driver had to stand on the brake. Calculations were made to determine the stopping distance from the speed. Emission tests were also done. “The cars went through rotation on test five times,” Howell said.

Speed and distance calculations were done by Bosch….and all done by satellite, according to Howell.

“The computer made chips for each car. They put GPS (Global Position System) on the cars before testing. The satellite results were within a half of foot,” said Howell.

In addition to testing the cars, videos were made and a show about the event will be aired on Spike TV in October. The entire event and winners will be featured in Car and Driver Magazine’s November issue that will also be out in October.

Howell said his Neon was painted by Mitch Sanders, of Mitch’s Collision Center in Fountain. “Mineral County is lucky to have a painter like Mitch. His paint job got a lot of comments in Michigan. The Neon is the third vehicle Mitch has painted which has appreared in the SEMA show in Las Vegas, the world’s best car show. That’s quite a feather in Mitch’s cap,”

Howell said he couldn’t talk about the results of the tests until after the magazine is published.

“We aren’t allowed to release the results,” said Howell.


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