May the fourth special: Taking a look at a Star Wars-themed Dodge Challenger

Andrew Sluys
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Photos / Supplied

Photos / Supplied

(First published May 4, 2021) Darren Mordecai is a Business Manager for Sealord, drives a 2011 Dodge Challenger, and has a “passing interest” in Star Wars… perfect for May the fourth.

Nice outfit! Hang on, is it May the fourth?!

Yip, it sure is. Just dropped in from taking my X-wing for a blast to Yavin 4!

What exactly are you driving, and what is the TIE-up (see what I did there)?

That’s a 2011 Dodge Challenger Inaugural Edition, one of 1100 built with something a bit different: 6.4-litre V8 with 392 hemi, six-speed manual and 500hp. It also has stiffer suspension, with a much more responsive steering, and exhaust pipes you tend to hear before you see the car.

What makes it special?

Star Wars graphics around the car. The blue and white detailing is pretty much what R2-D2 may look like, inside and out, if reclassified as a car.

Why did you buy this particular car?

A manual transmission was a big plus. The sound is epic. It handles really well for American muscle, particularly in the wet. But the main one was on an early test drive, I parked next to a 1970 Challenger. You can see where the original lines and look come from on the modern version. Dodge really nailed the overall appeal of resurrecting a great looking car. Put another ’60s or ’70s original classic from other manufacturers next to the modern day equivalent and you can barely tell they’re from the same brand, let alone the lineage. Of recent note, being part of Dodge Challengers New Zealand has led to many new friendships. Travelling the length and breadth of our country, it’s a sight to behold; and so is the scenery!

So would you call yourself an American muscle car fan?

Absolutely; specifically a MOPAR fan. My dad had Valiants in my youth growing up: a Charger, a Ranger and then the Regal station wagon that I learnt to drive in. Plymouth and Chrysler are influential for me, and who doesn’t want a Road Runner or Hemi Cuda?!

So you’re dressed as a Star Wars pilot, do you have other outfits, and why?

Yip this is my big passion, with the car a close second. There is a Shore Trooper and Scout Trooper tucked away in the purpose built Star Wars rooms. Vader, Jynn Erso and R2 are currently guarding the entrance. Trooping for parties, Pop Culture events and even the local kids hospital has smiles planted on both adult and Padawan faces, especially when they get to come visit and check out the space form a Galaxy Far, Far Away.

I hear you have a fairly extensive Star Wars collection, some might even say one of the biggest in NZ?

There might be more Astromech droids in here than anywhere else, compared to other collections here in New Zealand, but it’s not the biggest collection. I have had the privilege of seeing much more extensive ones than mine. But I am very happy with what’s been created within my mock Mos Eisley Cantina.

And you’re not bad at Star Wars trivia, either (and yes, this is a leading question)?

Haha. Yes. Our team won both the Hamilton event in 2019 and the digital/Covid national Star Wars trivia competition held on May 4. We played our parts and pretty much destroyed the Death Star.

So to link to the two subjects, what are your favourite Star Wars vehicles?

Hard to beat a robust AT-AT stomping around Hoth. Or the Endor Speeder bikes – now as seen on The Mandalorian. And Mando’s Razors Crest is something very cool. But number one it has to be the Millennium Falcon.


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