Mopar Announces Grand Opening Of Speedshops;Shows Dodge Ram High Output 1500 SportsideOne year after announcing the creation of a new retail concept, Speedshops, Chrysler Group's Mopar returned to the SEMA show to announce the official grand opening of Mopar Speedshops nationwide. After the announcement last year, according to a spokesman for Chrysler, hundreds of Chrysler, Jeep, and Dodge dealerships inquired about becoming a Speedshop dealer. As a result of the positive response to the Speedshop concept, dealers will open 40 Mopar Speedshops across the country in the coming months. So check with your local dealer to see if it's going to be one of the first 40 Speedshops.

To punch up the Speedshop announcement, Dodge displayed a few hot rods, including this Dodge Ram High Output 1500 Sportside concept. The truck is a styling exercise from one of the automaker's OE suppliers. Our opinion: The concept has legs. It's got great street presence and Hemi power, making it a great-looking, low-slung, powerful pickup for the Dodge enthusiast, and satisfies that insatiable musclecar hunger

The Ram High Output 1500 Sportside is a regular cab with Stepside styling elements on the bed that highlight the truck's lowered stance and unique 22-inch Budnik wheels and Pirelli Scorpion-Zero 305/40ZR/22 tires. The Hemi is pumped up to 375 hp, thanks to the addition of a cold-air intake and free-flow dual exhaust system. Interior highlights include aggressive, race-inspired sports seats and an amplifier/subwoofer system that comes complete with satellite radio. No word on whether the company plans to bring it production.

Vegas Nationals Hello to all our sport truck fans

I wanted to update you on the Vegas Nationals, sponsored by Chevy Trucks, Gibson, Vortex, and Dealer's Sport Truck, so that you can start your planning now.

The State 2 State Cruise is happening on April 2, 2004. We will arrive in town about 6 p.m., have the destination party, concert, and our first glimpse of the vendors with space on the Fremont Street Experience.

The State 2 State Cruise will begin at Dealer's Sport Truck at 7:00 a.m., and we'll have new stops this time.

The show opens at 9:00 a.m. on April 3 and will run until midnight.

We have a bikini contest, show 'n' shine, raffle drawings, meet the editors, and a concert. Awards will be handed out at midnight after the Saturday evening concert.

We still have some details yet to be worked out, but I will continue to update you as it comes together. We're hoping to add a freestyle motocross exposition and some other entertainment activities.

For more information, have them e-mail me at vegasnationals@primedia.com, or they can call me at (714) 939 2580.

Thank youAmber PierceMarketing Coordinator, PrimediaTruck and American Motorcycle Groups

New Engines, New TechnologiesGM Powertrain used SEMA to show off new engines and variants, including two engines with Displacement on Demand (DOD) cylinder-deactivation technology for improved fuel economy. By 2008, GM will have 2 million vehicles with V-8 and V-6 engines with DOD. The new engines with this technology are:

The Gen IV small-block V-8, with higher performance and an array of technical advancements. The Vortec 5300 small-block with DOD debuts on V-8-equipped versions of the '05 Chevrolet TrailBlazer EXT, GMC Envoy XUV, and Buick Rainier. An automotive application of the Gen IV small-block without DOD debuts later in the '05 Corvette.