The Brotherhood of Muscle is a Rossi Family Tradition

Starting in the 1930s, Ruben Rossi worked as a Chrysler Master Mechanic in the New York City area, specializing in transmissions and rear differentials. He would spend more than 20 years working on Mopar® products and through his position in the automotive world, his son Robert developed a love for fast cars early in life. Robert’s first muscle car – arguably one of the original Mopar muscle cars – was a 1956 Plymouth Fury and today, his garage has a 1956 Fury parked next to a 2023 Dodge Challenger SRT® Demon 170. Robert Rossi – or Bob Sr. as he is known today – has passed his love of love of Mopar performance vehicles down to his son, Bob Jr., leading to a family that has been a part of the Brotherhood of Muscle for nearly a century.

Over the past seven decades, members of the Rossi family have owned a great many powerful Dodge, Chrysler and Plymouth vehicles, starting with Bob Sr.’s 1956 Plymouth Fury. He worked long hours and multiple jobs to order that car, which came from the factory with a 303-cubic-inch V8 that delivered 240 horsepower with help from a manual transmission, making it one of the more powerful cars on the road at that time. However, Rossi wanted even more power, so he equipped his Fury with a McCulloch Belt-driven supercharger that lifted the output into the 360-horsepower range. After that car, he would go on to own a 1965 Dodge 2-door hardtop with a 361 V8, an array of Dodge trucks and vans from the 1970s and 1980s, a 1985 Chrysler Fifth Avenue, a 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat, a 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon and the 2023 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon 170.

In addition to being a Chrysler Master Mechanic, family patriarch Ruben Rossi owned a 1955 Chrysler Windsor 2-door hardtop, a 1960 Chrysler 300, a 1965 Chrysler 300 and a 1974 Dodge Dart Swinger. Ruben’s daughter/Bob Sr.’s sister Mildred owned a 1967 Chrysler 300, a 1970 Chrysler 300 and a 1990 Chrysler Imperial, so it wasn’t just the men in the Rossi family who got involved in the Mopar muscle scene.

Most recently, Bob Rossi Jr. has followed in the footsteps of his grandfather, father and aunt, exercising a passion for high-performance Dodge products. For some time, he owned his grandfather’s 1974 Dodge Dart Swinger and his first Viper was a 1996 RT/10 in white with blue stripes. After buying that RT/10 new, he would go on to trade it on a 1996 Dodge Viper GTS, which was the first fixed-roof Viper. He still owns that car today, with upgrades that include Borla exhaust and K&N filters, and it has been joined by a 2017 Dodge Viper GT with the T/A package and the rare Anodized Carbon package. In short, Bob Jr. owns the first and last Dodge Viper coupe while Bob Sr. owns one of the first Mopar muscle cars along with the last – and the greatest – of the modern Dodge machines.

Today, Bob Sr. is 86 years old, but he hasn’t slowed down any. His current muscle car lineup consists of a 1956 Plymouth Fury, a 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon and a 2023 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon 170. The ‘56 Fury in his garage today is not the exact same car, but it is identical in every way to the car that he bought back in the mid-1950s. His classic Plymouth is Egg Shell White with gold trim, powered by the 303-cubic-inch V8, fitted with a McCulloch belt-driven supercharger – so all three of his muscle cars today are supercharged. His 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon is painted Redline Red with Black leather and Alcantara interior and red seat belts while his 2023 Challenger SRT Demon 170 is the opposite, sporting Pitch Black exterior paint, Demonic Red leather and Alcantara interior with red seat belts. He also ordered his SRT Demon 170 with the factory rear seat delete option, and he opted for the standard alloy wheels.

Bob Jr. explains that while he and his dad don’t use their performance cars as daily drivers, they believe in driving and enjoying them. They are kept in the garage under covers, safe from the elements, but they are regularly driven and shown on clear days. He went on to tell us that after racing a non-Mopar vehicle in the 1950s and 1960s, Bob Sr. got into the car show scene and fully restored some of his own vehicles – in addition to looking like a popular celebrity in the 1970s.

“My father is really the story. He’s a great guy and looks like a movie star! In the 1970s, we vacationed near Beverly Hills, California and people thought he was James Garner, the Rockford Files actor. He was in the Restored Rusty Relics car club in New Jersey for years. He personally restored at least a half a dozen cars by himself, including paint. He now belongs to the Hornets Nest AACA Car Club in Charlotte, North Carolina.”

Most importantly, Bob Sr. passed his passion for high-performance Dodge products down to Bob Jr., extending the family’s role in the Brotherhood of Muscle through three generations.