- Dodge Challenger
Dodge Challenger Manufacturer Dodge Division of Chrysler Corporation (1970–74)
Mitsubishi Motors (1978–83)
Dodge Division of Chrysler Group LLC (2008–present)
Successor Dodge Conquest (for 1984)
Dodge Daytona (for 1984)
Dodge Aspen (for 1976)
Class Pony car (1970–74)
Subcompact car (1978–83)
Pony car (2008–present)
Layout FR layout
The first generation Dodge Challenger was a pony car built from 1970 to 1974, using the Chrysler E platform and sharing major components with the Plymouth Barracuda. The second generation, from 1978 to 1983, was a badge engineered Mitsubishi Galant Lambda. The third, and current generation, was introduced in 2008 as a rival to the evolved fifth generation Ford Mustang and the reintroduced fifth generation Chevrolet Camaro.
- 1 Dodge Silver Challenger (1959)
- 2 First generation (1970–1974)
- 3 Second generation (1978–1983)
- 4 Third generation (2008–present)
- 5 Racing
- 6 References
- 7 External links
Dodge Silver Challenger (1959)
The first car that carried the Challenger name was the mid-year introduction of a limited edition 1959 Dodge Silver Challenger. This was a six-cylinder or V8 model available only in silver paint and only on a two-door body. It came with extra features at no cost, including premium white wall tires, full wheel covers, electric windshield wipers, as well as an upgraded interior with luxury fabrics and wall-to-wall deep pile carpeting.
First generation (1970–1974)
First generation Production 1970–1974 Assembly Hamtramck, Michigan, United States
Los Angeles, California, United States
Body style 2-door convertible
Platform E-body Engine 198 cu in (3.24 L) Slant 6 I6
225 cu in (3.69 L) Slant 6 I6
318 cu in (5.21 L) LA V8
340 cu in (5.6 L) LA V8
360 cu in (5.9 L) LA V8
383 cu in (6.28 L) B V8
426 cu in (6.98 L) Hemi V8
440 cu in (7.2 L) RB V8
Transmission 3-speed manual
3-speed TorqueFlite automatic
Wheelbase 110.0 in (2,790 mm) Length 191.3 in (4,860 mm) Width 76.1 in (1,930 mm) Height 50.9 in (1,290 mm) Related Plymouth Barracuda Designer Carl Cameron
The Challenger was described in a book about 1960s American cars as Dodge's "answer to the Mustang and Camaro." It was one of two Chrysler E-body cars, the other being the slightly smaller Plymouth Barracuda. "Both the Challenger and Barracuda were available in a staggering number of trim and option levels" and were intended "to compete against cars like the Chevrolet Camaro and Ford Mustang, and to do it while offering virtually every engine in Chrysler's inventory." However, they were "a rather late response to the ponycar wave the Ford Mustang had started." In his book Hemi Muscle Cars, Robert Genat wrote that the Challenger was conceived in the late 1960s as Dodge's equivalent of the Plymouth Barracuda, and that the Barracuda was designed to compete against the Mustang and Camaro. He added that Chrysler intended the new Dodge as "the most potent ponycar ever," and positioned it "to compete against the Mercury Cougar and Pontiac Firebird." Genat also noted that the "Barracuda was intended to compete in the marketplace with the Mustang and Camaro/Firebird, while the Dodge was to be positioned against the Cougar" and other more luxury-type musclecars.
The Challenger's longer wheelbase, larger dimensions and more luxurious interior were prompted by the launch of the 1967 Mercury Cougar, likewise a bigger, more luxurious and more expensive pony car aimed at affluent young American buyers. The wheelbase, at 110 inches (2,794 mm), was two inches longer than the Barracuda, and the Dodge differed substantially from the Plymouth in its outer sheetmetal, much as the Cougar differed from the shorter-wheelbase Ford Mustang. A/C and a rear window defogger were optional.
Exterior design was done by Carl Cameron, who also did the exterior for the 1966 Dodge Charger. Cameron based the 1970 Challenger grille off an older sketch of his 1966 Charger prototype that was to have a turbine engine. The Charger never got the turbine, but the Challenger got that car's grille. Although the Challenger was well-received by the public (with 76,935 produced for the 1970 model year), it was criticized by the press, and the pony car segment was already declining by the time the Challenger arrived. Sales fell dramatically after 1970, and Challenger production ceased midway through the 1974 model year. 165,437 Challengers were sold over this model's lifespan.
Four hardtop models were offered: Challenger Six, Challenger V8, Challenger T/A (1970 only), and Challenger R/T with a convertible version available only in 1970 and 1971. Although there were no factory-built R/T Challenger convertibles for 1971, the R/T continued as a model with the hardtop body-style. The standard engine on the base model was the 225 cu in (3.7 L) six-cylinder. The standard engine on the V8 was the 230 bhp (171.5 kW)318 cu in (5.2 L) V8 with a 2-barrel carburetor. Optional engines were the 340 cu in (5.6 L) and 383 cu in (6.3 L) V8s, all with a standard 3-speed manual transmission, except for the 290 bhp (216.3 kW) 383 CID engine, which was available only with the TorqueFlite automatic transmission. A 4-speed manual was optional on all engines except the 225 CID I6 and the 2-barrel 383 CID V8.
The performance model was the R/T (Road/Track), with a 383 CID Magnum V8, rated at 335 bhp (249.8 kW); 300 bhp (223.7 kW) for 1971, due to a drop in compression. The standard transmission was a 3-speed manual. Optional R/T engines were the 375 bhp (279.6 kW) 440 cu in (7.2 L) Magnum, the 390 bhp (290.8 kW) 440 CID Six-Pack and the 425 bhp (316.9 kW) 426 cu in (7.0 L) Hemi. The R/T was available in either the hardtop or convertible. For 1970 only, base hardtop and R/T hardtop models could be ordered with the more luxurious SE specification, which included leather seats, a vinyl roof, a smaller 'formal' rear window, and an overhead interior console that contained three warning lights (door ajar, low fuel, and seatbelts). The Challenger R/T came with a Rallye instrument cluster that included a 150 mph (240 km/h) speedometer, an 8,000 rpm tachometer, 1972–1974 tachometer went to 7,000 rpm and an oil pressure gauge. In 1973, the R/T badging was dropped and these models were called "Rallye", although they were never badged as such. The shaker hood scoop was not available after 1971.
A 1970-only model was the Dodge Challenger T/A (Trans Am) racing homologation car. In order to race in the Sports Car Club of America's Trans American Sedan Championship Trans Am, Dodge built a street version of its race car (just like Plymouth with its Plymouth 'Cuda AAR) which it called the Dodge Challenger T/A (Trans Am). Although the race cars ran a destroked version of the 340, street versions took the 340 and added a trio of two-barrel carburetors atop an aluminum intake manifold, creating the 340 Six Pack. Dodge rated the 340 Six Pack at 290 bhp (216.3 kW), only 15 bhp (11 kW) more than the original 340 engine (which also had the same rating as the Camaro Z/28 and Ford Boss 302 Mustang). The engine actually made about 320 bhp (238.6 kW). It breathed air through a suitcase sized air scoop molded into the pinned down, hinged matte-black fiberglass hood. Low-restriction dual exhaust ran to the stock muffler location, then reversed direction to exit in chrome tipped "megaphone" outlets in front of the rear wheels. Options included a TorqueFlite automatic or pistol-grip Hurst-shifted four-speed transmission, 3.55:1 or 3.90:1 gears, as well as manual or power steering. Front disc brakes were standard. The special Rallye suspension used heavy duty parts and increased the rate of the rear springs. The T/A was the first U.S. muscle car to fit different size tires front and rear to give a racing stance: E60x15 in the front, and G60x15 in the rear. The modified chamber elevated the tail enough to clear the rear rubber and its side exhaust outlets. Thick dual side stripes, bold ID graphics, a fiberglass ducktail rear spoiler, and a fiberglass front spoiler added to the racing image. The interior was strictly stock Challenger.
Dodge contracted Ray Caldwell's Autodynamics firm in Marblehead, Massachusetts to run the factory Trans-Am team. Sam Posey drove the No.77 "sub-lime" painted car that Caldwell's team built from a car taken off a local dealer's showroom floor. When the No.76 was completed mid-season from a chassis provided by Dan Gurney's All American Racers, Posey alternated between the two. Both cars ran the final two races, with Posey in the #77. Ronnie Bucknum drove the No.76 at Seattle Washington, and Tony Adamowicz drove it at Riverside, California.
The Challenger T/A's scored a few top three finishes, but lack of a development budget and the short-lived Keith Black 303 c. i. engines led to Dodge leaving the series at season's end. .
The street version suffered from severe understeer in fast corners, largely due to the smaller front tires. Only 2,399 T/As were made. A 1971 model using the 340 engine with a 4-barrel carburetor was planned and appeared in advertising, but was not produced since Dodge had left the race series.
The "Western Special" was a version available only to west coast dealers. It came with a rear-exit exhaust system and Western Special identification on the rear decklid. Some examples came with a vacuum-operated trunk release. Another late production version was the low-priced "Deputy", stripped of some of the base car's trim and with fixed rear side glass.
By 1972, the convertible version, most interior upgrades options, comfort/convenience items (in particular power windows), and all the big-block engine options were gone. The R/T series was replaced by the Rallye series. Engine choices were down to the 225 cu in slant-6, the 318 cu in V-8, and the maximum power 340 cu in V-8 which was downgraded to 240 horsepower (180 kW) to reflect the more accurate Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) net hp calculations, and altered to run on low-lead or lead free gasoline. Each engine could be mated to a 3-speed manual or automatic transmission, while the 340 could also be hooked up to a 4-speed manual if so ordered. The 1972 models also received a new grille that extended beneath the front bumper. The only 1972 convertibles which exist are actually 1971 models with the 1972 front end (grille, lights, etc.) and rear end (tail lights and their panel). These were specially built for TV programs such as "Mod Squad". The only way to ascertain a 'real' 1972 Challenger convertible is to look at its fender tag. On the code line which gives the dealer order number, that number will start with an "R", which designates "Special Meaning" (in this case, a TV 'special promotions' car). A cigarette lighter was standard.
For the 1973 models, the 225 cu in six-cylinder engine was no longer available, leaving just the two V-8s. For 1974, the 340 cu in (5.6 L) engine was replaced by a 360 cu in (5.9 L) version offering 245 hp, but the pony car market had deteriorated and production of Challengers ceased in late April 1974. The A/C was not available with the 3-speed manual.
Although the body style remained the same throughout the Challenger's five year run, there were two notable changes to the front grille. The 1971 models had a "split" grille, while 1972 introduced a design that extended the grille (nicknamed the "sad-mouth") beneath the front bumper. With this change to the front end, 1972 through 1974 models had little to no variation. The only way to properly distinguish them is that the 1972s had flush mounted bumpers with no bumper guards, (small bumper guards were optional), while both the 1973 and 1974 models had the protruding "5 mph (8.0 km/h)" bumpers (with a rubber type filler behind them) in conjunction with large bumper guards. The 1974 cars had larger rear bumper guards to meet the (new for 1974 and on) rear 5 mph rear impact law. These changes were made to meet U.S. regulations regarding crash test safety.
The 1970 taillights went all the way across the back of the car, with the backup light in the middle of the rear. In 1971, the backup lights were on the left and right instead of the middle. The taillight array also changed for 1972 onwards, with the Challenger now having four individual rectangular lamps.
Although few mourned the end of the E-body models, the passage of time has created legends and highlighted the unique personalities of both the Challenger and the Barracuda. In a historic review, the editors of Edmunds Inside Line ranked these models as: 1970 was a "great" year, 1971 was a "good" one, and then "three progressively lousier ones" (1972–1974). With total sales and production off by 2/3 from 1970, the performance engine 1971 Challengers are the most rare. Sales and production of the 1973 cars (with only two V8s available) actually exceeded 1971 by approximately 1,700 cars. This may be explained by 1973 being a very good year for the U.S. auto industry in general and an increased interest in Chrysler (the Plymouth Barracuda and Plymouth Road Runner also saw sales increases) performance cars.
Original "numbers matching" high-performance 1970–71 Challengers are now among the most sought-after collector cars. The rarity of specific models with big engines is the result of low buyer interest and sales with the correspondingly low production when new. The 440 and the 426 Hemi engines nowadays command sizable premiums over the smaller engines.The 1970 and 1971 models tend to generate more attention as performance and style options were still available to the public. However, with the popularity of these vehicles increasing, and the number of usable and restorable Challengers falling, many collectors now search for later models. Many "clones" of the 1970 and 1971 Challengers with high-performance drivetrains have been created by using low-end 6-cylinder and 318-powered non-R/T or non-T/A cars and installing one of the "Magnum" performance engine combinations (340, 383, 440 or 426 Hemi) and adding the specific badging and hoods. Total production (1970–74) was 165,437 cars, and perhaps 1/3 of that number now exist in any condition.
Dodge Challengers were mainly produced for the U.S. and Canadian markets. Interestingly, Chrysler officially sold Challengers to Switzerland through AMAG Automobil- und Motoren AG in Schinznach-Bad, near Zurich. Only a few cars were shipped overseas each year to AMAG. They did the final assembly of the Challengers and converted them to Swiss specs. There are few AMAG cars still in existence. From a collector's point of view, these cars are very desirable. Today, less than five Swiss Challengers are known to exist in North America.
Chrysler exported Dodge Challengers officially to France as well through their Chrysler France Simca operation, since Ford sold the Mustang in France successfully in small numbers. However, only a few Challengers were exported and Chrysler finally gave up the idea of selling them in France. A few French Challengers still exist today.
Engine choices by Chrysler included the following:
- C: 225 cu in (3.69 L) Slant 6 I6: 1970–71 145 bhp (108 kW) SAE gross, 1971-72 110 bhp (82 kW) SAE net
- G: 318 cu in (5.21 L) LA V8 (2-barrel carburetor, single exhaust): 1970-71 230 bhp (172 kW) SAE gross, 1971 155 bhp (116 kW) SAE net, 1972-74 150 bhp (112 kW) SAE net
- H: 340 cu in (5.6 L) LA V8 (4-barrel carburetor, dual exhaust): 1970-71 275 bhp (205 kW) SAE gross, 1971 235 bhp (175 kW) SAE net, 1972-73 240 bhp (179 kW) SAE net
- J: 360 cu in (5.9 L) LA V8 (4-barrel carburetor, dual exhaust): 1974 245 bhp (183 kW) SAE net
- J: 340 cu in (5.6 L) LA V8 (3 × 2-barrel carburetor): 1970 290 bhp (216 kW) SAE gross, used in T/A
- L: 383 cu in (6.28 L) B V8 (2-barrel carburetor, single exhaust): 1970 290 bhp (216 kW) SAE gross, 1971 275 bhp (205 kW) SAE gross, 1971 190 bhp (142 kW) SAE net
- L: 383 cu in (6.28 L) B V8 (4-barrel carburetor, dual exhaust): 1970-71 330 bhp (246 kW) SAE gross, 1971 250 bhp (186 kW) SAE net
- N: 383 cu in (6.28 L) B V8 Magnum (4-barrel carburetor, dual exhaust): 1970 335 bhp (250 kW) SAE gross.
- U: 440 cu in (7.2 L) RB V8 Magnum (4-barrel carbureted): 1970 375 bhp (280 kW) SAE gross, (Charger R/T only in 1971 370 bhp (276 kW) SAE gross, 305 bhp (227 kW) SAE net)
- V: 440 cu in (7.2 L) RB V8 Six-Pack (3 × 2-barrel carburetor): 1970 390 bhp (291 kW)/490 lbf·ft (660 N·m) SAE gross, 1971 385 bhp (287 kW) SAE gross, 1971 330 bhp (246 kW) SAE net
- R: 426 cu in (6.98 L) Hemi V8: 1970-71 425 bhp (317 kW)/490 lbf·ft (660 N·m) SAE gross, 1971 350 bhp (261 kW) SAE net. Costing an extra US$1,228 with very few sold.
SAE gross HP ratings were tested with no accessories, no air cleaner, or open dyno headers. In 1971, compression ratios were reduced in performance engines, except the 426ci and the high performance 440ci, to accommodate regular gasoline. The compression ratio would be reduced on the high performance 440ci starting in 1972. 1971 was the last year for the 426ci hemi.
Chrysler may have underrated their performance engines. There are current tests by Mopar Magazine and others, which built and dyno-tested the 426-8V, 440-6V, 440-4V, 340-6V, and 340-4V in 100% stock configuration (SAE net). Results have come within 1% of the above rated power SAE gross HP.
Publishing SAE net ratings became required by federal law starting with the 1972 model year. SAE net ratings were produced and published for many engines in 1971, but it was not a requirement. Therefore, SAE net ratings could be estimated from SAE gross ratings before 1971 based on want was published in 1971.
Chrysler Corp. had plans to continue the 1970 Dodge Challenger T/A for 1971, even publishing advertisements for a 1971 Dodge Challenger T/A. However, no 1971 Dodge Challenger T/A was made.
The 383 Magnum was the standard engine for the 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T, 1970 Dodge Coronet Super Bee, 1970 Plymouth Cuda, and 1970 Plymouth Road Runner. It was not available in any other models. However, before 1972, American automobile manufacturers were allowing customers to special order nearly any engine they wanted. Thus, you could get a 1970 Plymouth Sport Fury S/23 with the 383 Magnum, which likely had 270 bhp (201 kW) SAE net. This engine was very difficult to start in cold weather until the compression ratio was reduced in 1971. It was introduced in 1968.
The 440 Magnum was not available in the 1971 Dodge Challenger R/T.
Performance 1/4 mile
- 340: 14.8 @ 96 mph (154 km/h)
- 340 T/A: 14.3 @ 99.5 mph (160.1 km/h) 4-speed with 3.55; it was the same car used on all published tests.
- 383 2-barrel: 15.1 @ 96 mph (154 km/h)
- 383 Magnum R/T: 14.3 @ 99 mph (159 km/h)
- 440 Magnum R/T: 13.8 @ 102 mph (164 km/h)
- 440 Six-Pack: 13.4 @ 107 mph (172 km/h)
- 426 Hemi: 13.2 @ 108 mph (174 km/h)
- J: Car line, Dodge Challenger
- S: Price class (H-High, S-Special)
- 27: Body type (23-Hardtop, 27-Convertible, 29-Sports hardtop)
- R: Engine code (see engines above)
- 0: Last digit of model year
- B: Assembly plant code (B-Hamtramck, E-Los Angeles)
- 100001: Consecutive sequence number
- 1970 = 76,935 *includes 2,539 T/As
- Hardtop I6: 9,929
- Hardtop V8:. 39,350*
- Sports hardtop I6: 350
- Sports hardtop V8: 5,873
- Convertible I6: 378
- Convertible V8: 2,543
- Hardtop R/T: 13,796
- Special Edition hardtop R/T: 3,753
- Convertible R/T: 963
- 1971 = 26,299
- Hardtop I6: 1,672
- Hardtop V8: 18,956
- Convertible I6: 83
- Convertible V8: 1,774
- Hardtop V8 R/T: 3,814
- 1972 = 22,919
- Hardtop I6: 842
- Hardtop V8: 15,175
- Hardtop V8 Rallye: 8,123
- 1973 = 27,930
- Note: All models were V8-powered hardtops
- 1974 = 11,354
- Note: All models were V8-powered hardtops
Light Gold Metallic-FY4, Plum Crazy (purple)-FC7, Sublime (green)-FJ5, Go-Mango(orange)-EK2, Hemi Orange-EV2, Banana (yellow)-FY1, Light Blue Metallic-EB3, Bright Blue Metallic-EB5, Dark Blue Metallic-EB7, Rallye Red-FE5, Light Green Metallic-FF4, Dark Green Metallic-EF8, Dark Burnt Orange-FK5, Beige-BL1, Dark Tan Metallic-FT6, White-EW1, Black-TX9, Cream-DY3, Panther Pink-FM3
Light Gunmetal Metallic-GA4, Light Blue Metallic-GB2, Bright Blue Metallic-GB5, Dark Blue Metallic-GB7, Dark Green Metallic-GF7, Light Green Metallic-GF3, Gold Metallic-GY8, Dark Gold Metallic-GY9, Dark Bronze Metallic-GK6, Tan Metallic-GT5, Bright Red-FE5, Bright White-GW3, Black-TX9, Butterscotch-EL5, Citron Yella-GY3, Hemi Orange-EV2, Green Go-FJ6, Plum Crazy-FC7, Top Banana-FY1
Light Blue-HB1, Bright Blue Metallic-HB5, Bright Red-FE5, Light Green Metallic-GF3, Dark Green Metallic-GF7, Eggshell White-GW1, Black-TX9, Honeydew-GY4, Light Gold-GY5, Gold Metallic-GY8, Dark Gold Metallic-GY9, Dark Tan Metallic-GT8, Light Gunmetal Metallic-GA4, Medium Tan Metallic-GA4, Super Blue-GB3, Hemi Orange-EV2, Top Banana-FY1
Black-TX9, Dark Silver Metallic-JA5, Eggshell White-EW1, Parchment-HL4, Light Gold-JY3, Dark Gold Metallic-JY9, Gold Metallic-JY6, Bronze Metallic-GK6, Pale Green-JF1, Dark Green Metallic-JF8, Light Blue-HB1, Super Blue-TB3, Bright Blue Metallic-GB5, Bright Red-FE5, Top Banana-FY1, Light Green Metallic-GF3
Yellow Blaze-KY5, Golden Fawn-KY4, Parchment-HL4, Bright Red-FE5, Deep Sherwood Metallic (Green)-KG8, Eggshell White-EW1, Black-TX9, Light Blue-HB1
Second generation (1978–1983)
Second generation Production 1978–1983 Assembly Okazaki, Aichi, Japan Class Subcompact car Body style 2-door coupe Engine 1.6 L (98 cu in) 4G32 I4
2.6 L (160 cu in) 4G54 I4
Transmission 5-speed manual
Wheelbase 2530 mm (99.6 in) Length 4525 mm (178.1 in) Width 1675 mm (65.9 in) Height 1345 mm (53 in)–1355 mm (53.3 in) Related Mitsubishi Galant Lambda
- See Mitsubishi Galant Lambda for more information
The Challenger name was revived in 1978 for a version of the early Mitsubishi Galant Lambda coupe. It was known overseas as the Mitsubishi Sapporo/Scorpion and sold through Dodge dealers as a captive import. It was identical except in color and minor trim to the Plymouth Sapporo. Although mechanically identical, the Dodge version emphasized sportiness, with bright colors and tape stripes, while the Plymouth emphasized luxury, with more subdued trim. The cars were slightly restyled in 1981 with revised headlights and other minor cosmetic changes. Both cars were sold until 1984, until being replaced by the Conquest and Daytona.
The car retained the frameless hardtop styling of the old Challenger, but had smaller engines (inline-4s instead of the six and eight-cylinder engines from the old Challenger) and was a long way in performance from its namesake. Nevertheless, it acquired a reputation as a reasonably brisk performer of its type, not least because of its available 2.6 L engine, exceptionally large for a four-cylinder. Four-cylinder engines of this size had not usually been built due to inherent vibration, but Mitsubishi pioneered the use of balance shafts to help dampen this effect, and the Challenger was one of the first vehicles to bring this technology to the American market; it has since been licensed to many other manufacturers. During its six-year run, sales of the Challenger averaged between 12,000 and 14,000 units per year.
Third generation (2008–present)
Third generation Production 2008–present Assembly Brampton Assembly plant in Canada Class Pony car
Body style 2-door coupe Platform Chrysler LC platform Engine 3.5 L (214 cu in) SOHC V6 (2009–2010)
3.6 L (220 cu in) Pentastar V6 (2011–present)
5.7 L (345 cu in) HEMI V8 (2009–present)
6.1 L (370 cu in) HEMI V8 (2008–2010)
392 c.i.d. (6.4 L) HEMI V8 (2011–)
Transmission 4-speed automatic 42RLE (2009)
5-speed automatic W5A580 (2008-present)
6-speed manual Tremec TR6060 (2009-present)
Wheelbase 116.0 in (2,950 mm) Length 197.7 in (5,020 mm) Width 75.7 in (1,920 mm) Height 57.0 in (1,450 mm) Related Chrysler 300
Mercedes-Benz E-Class Mercedes-Benz S-Class
On December 3, 2007, Chrysler started taking deposits for the third-generation Dodge Challenger which debuted on February 6, 2008 simultaneously at the Chicago Auto Show and Philadelphia International Auto Show. Listing at US$40,095, the new version was a 2-door coupe which shared common design elements with the first generation Challenger, despite being significantly longer and taller. The chassis is a modified (shortened wheelbase) version of the LX platform that underpins the 2006–Current Dodge Charger, 2005–2008 Dodge Magnum, and the 2005–Current Chrysler 300. The LX was developed in America from the previous Chrysler LH platform, which had been designed to allow it to be easily upgraded to rear and all-wheel drive. Many Mercedes components were incorporated, including the Mercedes-Benz W220 S-class control arm front suspension, the Mercedes-Benz W210 E-Class 5-link rear suspension, the W5A580 5-speed automatic, the rear differential, and the ESP system. All (7119) 2008 models were SRT8s and equipped with the 6.1 L (370 cu in) Hemi and a 5-speed AutoStick automatic transmission. The entire 2008 U.S. run of 6,400 cars were pre-sold (many of which for above MSRP), and production commenced on May 8, 2008; Chrysler Canada offered a further 670+ SRTs uniquely badged as the Challenger 500 (paying homage to Charger and Coronet 500s) all of which were shipped to Canadian Dodge dealers. Chrysler of Mexico offered only 100 of these cars for that country with a 6.1 liter V8 and 425 brake horsepower (317 kW) (SAE); the version of which was the SRT8. Chrysler auctioned off two 2008 SRT8 for charity with the first car going for $400,000 to benefit the notMYkid non-profit organization. A "B5" Blue No.43 car fetched a winning bid of $228,143.43 with proceeds going to the Victory Junction Gang Camp.
Production of the limited edition 2008 SRT/8s ended in July 2008, and production of the expanded 2009 line-up started in early August of the same year. The expanded offering was the same as had been unveiled earlier that spring at the 2008 New York Auto Show. Chrysler debuted the full Dodge Challenger line for 2009, with four different trims – SE, R/T, SRT8, and the SXT in Canada only. In addition to the SRT8, which remained unchanged except for the optional 6 speed manual, the line-up included the previously mentioned SE and SXT which offered the 250 HP 3.5-Liter V6. The R/T hosted a 5.7 Hemi sporting 370 hp (276 kW) and 398 lb·ft (540 N·m) of torque when coupled with the 5 speed automatic, and 375 hp (280 kW) with 404 lb·ft (548 N·m) when matched with the same Tremec 6-speed manual transmission as the SRT8.
For 2010, the vehicle cost $515 to $1,010 more than in 2009. The color, HEMI Orange, was initially dropped for the 2010 model year, then re-released later in the model year. Two new color schemes became available for the 2010 model year; Plum Crazy and Detonator Yellow. A third new color, Furious Fuchsia was announced in February 2010. But unlike previous special editions, the Furious Fuchsia version will have significant changes to the interior with white leather instead of the usual black seats. Chrysler also made a late-year addition to the 2010 model year with the limited edition Mopar '10 Challenger R/T. These cars, limited to only 500 examples, were metallic pearl black in color with three accent colors (blue, red, silver) of stripes to choose from. In addition, these cars were available with black R/T Classic-style rims along with a Hurst aftermarket pistol grip shifter, custom badging, Mopar cold air intake for a 10 horsepower increase, and Katzkin-sourced aftermarket interior. Units were built in Brampton, Ontario at the Brampton Assembly Plant and completed at the Mopar Upfit Center in Windsor, Ontario. There were 500 U.S. Units and 100 Canadian units built.
500 U.S. Units 320 Automatic Transmission 180 Manual Transmission
255 with Blue Stripes 115 with Red Stripes 130 with Silver Stripes
Out of the 255 with Blue Stripes 160 Automatics w/ T-Handle Shifters 95 Manuals w/ Pistol Grip Shifters
Out of the 115 with Red Stripes 74 Automatics w/T-Handle Shifters 41 Manuals w/Pistol Grip Shifters
Out of the 130 with Silver Stripes 86 Automatics w/T-Handle Shifters 44 Manuals w/Pistol Grip Shifters
For the 2011 model, Chrysler outfit the base model Dodge Challenger with the new Pentastar V6 engine, which boasts a significant increase in power, now up to 305 bhp (227 kW; 309 PS) and 268 lb·ft (363 N·m). The new engine is more efficient than the outdated version, featuring cylinder deactivation and dual variable valve timing. The bottom grille was also flipped upside down, different from the 2008–10. Chrysler engineers cited airflow as a main reason for the change. For the new SRT8's, the chin spoiler was also reengineered and enlarged to create more downforce. It resembles the '70 Challenger R/T. A refreshed SRT8 entered production, with the new 392-cubic-inch (6.4L) HEMI V8. The new engine features Variable Camshaft Timing, as well as the Multiple Displacement System featured on the 5.7L (345 c.i.d.) HEMI V8. The 392 has officially been rated at 470 horsepower (350 kW) and 470 lb·ft (640 N·m) of torque. Dodge engineers said they sacrificed peak horsepower ratings for low-end torque, stating a 90 horsepower (67 kW) increase over the outgoing 6.1-L (370 c.i.d.) Hemi V8 at 2900 rpm. Two transmissions are offered, a 5-Speed Shiftable Automatic and a 6-speed manual. Thanks to the revised engine, Chrysler engineers cited a quarter mile (~400 m) time of 12.4 seconds at 110 mph (180 km/h) – bettering the outgoing 6.1-Liter Hemi by 0.8 seconds, although that figure has varied wildly between automotive magazines. Car and Driver tested the 392 at 12.9 seconds at 114 mph (183 km/h) while Motor Trend's tester clocked in at 13.0 seconds at 111.3 mph (179.1 km/h) and Edmunds' number was far closer to Chrysler's claimed numbers at 12.6 seconds at 112.1 mph (180.4 km/h). Nevertheless, the new engine shows significant improvements over the 2008–2010 cars in trap speed and quarter mile times.
U.S. sales figures
Calendar Year Sales 2008 17,423 2009 25,852 2010 36,791
The base model Challenger is powered by a 3.5 L (214 cu in) SOHC V6 producing 250 brake horsepower (190 kW) (SAE) and 250 lbf·ft (340 N·m) torque which was coupled to a 4-speed automatic transmission for the first half of 2009, and was then changed to have a standard 5-speed automatic transmission. Several different exterior colors, with either cloth or leather interiors became available. Standard features include; air conditioning, power windows, locks, and mirrors; cruise control, and 17-inch (430 mm) aluminum wheels. Leather upholstery, heated front seats, sunroof, 18-inch aluminum wheels, and a premium audio system are available as options, as are ABS, and stability and traction control. The Canadian market also sports the SXT trim, similar to the SE but which is however, more generous in terms of standard features. Some of these features being ESP, an alarm system, and 18-inch (460 mm) wheels.
SE Rallye Package
New for 2009 was the Rallye Package for the SE model. The package featured design cues including dual body stripes on the hood and the trunk, chromed fuel door, deck lid spoiler, 18-inch aluminum wheels, and Micro Carbon in the interior accents.
Exterior paint colors and dual-stripe combinations on the Dodge Challenger SE Rallye include:
- Brilliant Black Crystal Pearl – with Dark Gray dual stripes and Red accent stripes
- Bright Silver Metallic – with Dark Gray dual stripes and Red accent stripes
- Deep Water Blue Metallic – with White dual stripes and Red accent stripes
- Inferno Red Crystal Pearl – with Black and Dark Gray accent stripes
- TorRed – with Black dual stripes and Dark Gray accent stripes
- Dark Titanium Metallic – with Black dual stripes and Red accent stripes
- Stone White – with Black dual stripes and Red accent stripes
The mid-level Challenger is powered by a 5.7 L (345 cu in) Hemi V8 coupled to a 5-speed automatic transmission or a Tremec TR-6060 6-speed manual transmission. On cars equipped with the automatic transmission, the engine features the Multi-Displacement System and produces 372 brake horsepower (277 kW) (SAE) and 398 lbf·ft (540 N·m) torque. With the 6-speed manual transmission, the Multi-Displacement System option is deleted and the engine produces 376 brake horsepower (280 kW) (SAE) and 404 lbf·ft (548 N·m) torque. Another feature is the Intelligent Deceleration Fuel Shut-Off (iDFSO) available with the manual and the automatic models, the first to combine both a Multi-Displacement system and fuel shut-off. The final drive ratio is 3.06:1 on cars with the automatic transmission, 3.73:1 on cars with the 6-speed manual and 18-inch (460 mm) wheels or 3.92:1 with the 6-speed manual and optional 20-inch (510 mm) wheels. Also available on R/T is the "Track Pak" option group, which includes the Tremec manual transmission, a limited slip differential and self-leveling rear shock absorbers. During the end of the 2010 model year, Dodge released the special edition "Mopar '10" Challenger R/T. The Mopar '10 featured a myriad of Mopar aftermarket upgrades straight from the factory including a Mopar cold air intake, Hurst Performance pistol grip shifter, custom Katzkin leather interiors and R/T Classic wheels that are painted black as opposed to the standard chrome. All Mopar '10s had metallic black paint to go along with a choice of three different colors for exterior striping (blue, red, or silver).Units were built in Brampton, Ontario at the Brampton Assembly Plant and completed at the Mopar Upfit Center in Windsor, Ontario. There were 500 U.S. Units and 100 Canadian units built.
500 U.S. Units 320 Automatic Transmission 180 Manual Transmission
255 with Blue Stripes 115 with Red Stripes 130 with Silver Stripes
Out of the 255 with Blue Stripes 160 Automatics w/ T-Handle Shifters 95 Manuals w/ Pistol Grip Shifters
Out of the 115 with Red Stripes 74 Automatics w/T-Handle Shifters 41 Manuals w/Pistol Grip Shifters
Out of the 130 with Silver Stripes 86 Automatics w/T-Handle Shifters 44 Manuals w/Pistol Grip Shifters
Dodge and Mopar collaborated to create Mopar '10, a "Mopar modified" 2010 Dodge Challenger R/T. Under-the-hood features include the legendary 5.7-liter HEMI® V-8 engine, a hood-venting system, a cold-air intake, a front strut-tower brace with shock caps, and a unique engine cover. Under the decklid is a rear strut-tower brace that stiffens the chassis and improves handling characteristics of the car. Mopar '10 vented T/A-style hood with vintage hood pins. Mopar logos and graphics are prominent on the front fascia, hood, hood-pin caps, body-side stripes, windows and on the chromed fuel door. A special Mopar '10 car cover also comes with the vehicle.
Interior features include Katzkin leather seating, custom leather-wrapped steering wheel with baseball-style stitching, Mopar shift handles (T-handle for automatics, Pistol Grip for manuals), a serialized dash plaque with Mopar '10 logo and Mopar branding throughout.
Every customer who purchases a Mopar '10 will receive a special owner kit that includes a certificate with the vehicle identification number (VIN), date of build completion, and build number. The kit also includes a limited-edition sketch of the vehicle signed by Chrysler Group design chief Mark Trostle, a book that highlights the special vehicle build, and Mopar '10 merchandise.
The Challenger R/T Classic, with the 5.7 L (345 cu in) Hemi, and retro aspects such as script "Challenger" badges on the front panels and black or white "R/T" stripes. It comes with a five-speed automatic standard, with an optional six-speed manual transmission including a pistol-grip-shifter. The wheels are Heritage 20" Cragar style specials. It became available in Brilliant Black Crystal Pearl, Bright Silver Metallic, Stone White and in five "heritage" colors: HEMI-Orange, TorRed, B5 Blue, Plum Crazy Purple, Detonator Yellow and Furious Fuchsia. Prices start at $34,005 (including destination) and production started in February 2009.
The 2009 SRT8, while still equipped with the 6.1L (370 cu in) Hemi V8, is virtually identical to its 2008 counterpart, with the main difference being the choice of either a 5-speed automatic or a 6-speed manual transmission. Standard features include Brembo brakes, a sport suspension, bi-xenon headlamps, heated leather sport seats, keyless go, Sirius satellite radio, and 20-inch (510 mm) forged aluminum wheels in addition to most amenities offered on the R/T and SE models such as air conditioning and cruise control. In addition, the 2009 had a true "limited slip" differential. A "Spring Special" SRT8 Challenger was also offered in B5 Blue, but due to rolling plant shutdowns, just over 250 Spring Special Challengers were built before the end of the 2009 model year. For 2010, SRT8 models added Detonator Yellow as an available color (at extra cost), and only with the optional "Special Edition Group". Yellow Challengers were only be built for a limited time (October/December 2009) in the 2010 model year. Another retro color, Plum Crazy Purple, was also available during Spring 2010 production, offered exclusively in the "Spring Special" package. Furious Fuchsia, similar to the 70s Panther Pink, was limited to one-day production at the Brampton, Ontario plant. The Furious Fuschsia Challengers, unlike previous limited edition Challengers, also featured a custom interior with white seats as well as black rims.
The SXT version of the Challenger is only sold in Canada and is a more well-equipped variation of the SE. It adds fog lamps, a rear spoiler, larger wheels, illuminated vanity mirrors, security alarm and a leather-wrapped shifter. In addition, the SXT has increased option packages available to it that aren't available on the SE, and are also available to the R/T. (Such as the high-end navigation-enabled entertainment system.)
Super Stock Concept
The Super Stock Concept was built to commemorate the 50th anniversary of 392 Hemi engine, as well as to showcase Chrysler's new available 392 (6.4L) Hemi crate engine. The body was based on the 2006 Dodge Challenger Concept. The vehicle was unveiled at SEMA show.
A concept vehicle using Dodge Viper SRT-10 engine and Bilstein shocks appeared at the 2008 SEMA show. Two years later, the concept proved to be somewhat prophetic as the Viper's V10 is set to be put into the 2011 Drag Pak Challenger.
Drag Race Package
A race model designed for NHRA competition is based on the Dodge Challenger SRT-8. The car is 1,000 pounds (454 kg) lighter than the street vehicle by eliminating major production components and systems. To accentuate the weight savings, they also feature added composite, polycarbonate and lightweight components designed for drag racing that will be part of the new Package Car program. The engine was repositioned to improve driveline angle and weight distribution. The 116-inch (2,900 mm) wheelbase was shortened by ½ inch. They also feature a front cradle with bolt-in crossmember and solid engine mounts.
At least 50 Challenger Drag Race Package Cars are being built to meet NHRA requirements. Engine options include a 6.1L HEMI, 5.7-L HEMI, and a 5.9L Magnum Wedge. Manual or automatic transmissions are available, The initial run of the required 50 cars has been completed and over 100 of the "2009 Challenger Drag Pak" vehicles will be produced. Currently a 2010 program is being considered. "Big Daddy" Don Garlits bought the first drag race package car and plans to race it in NHRA competition. The prototype cars shown at SEMA were built by MPR Racing of Michigan, who continue to modify the production cars as delivered from Chrysler. Currently, the "Drag-Pak" cars running in legal A/SA trim are running around the 9.7–10 second mark at 130–140 mph in the quarter mile.
For 2011, Dodge decided to eschew the outgoing 6.1-liter Hemi for the 8.4-liter V10 from the departed Dodge Viper. This engine is expected to produce 600 horsepower, just as it did for the Final Edition Dodge Vipers.
First shown at the 2009 SEMA show in Las Vegas, the 1320 is a concept car based on the Drag Race Package. It was fabricated by Chrysler's design team as a lightweight version that uses carbon-fiber components and a reduced interior. Other modifications include police wheels, an electric exhaust bypass, ARB locking differential and Mickey Thompson street-legal drag radials. It is named after the length of a quarter mile which is 1320 ft.
Limited production variants
In addition to official Dodge concept cars, there have been numerous limited production and street legal variants created by third parties, based on stock cars that have been rebuilt with modified powertrains, suspensions, and interiors. These include the SMS 570 and (supercharged) 570X with up to a claimed 700 bhp (522 kW), the Mr. Norm's Challengers with a claimed 637 bhp (475 kW) or 900 bhp (671 kW) horsepower, the supercharged SpeedFactory SF600R with around 600 bhp (447 kW), and the Legacy by Petty.
Dealership company Group1 also rebuilds Dodge Challengers from the factory as special service pursuit cars, emphasizing the integration of police equipment but also boosting performance somewhat, to an estimated 400 bhp (298 kW).
Mopar 10 Edition: Only 500 produced. 400 USA models & 100 Canadian Models Painted only pearl black with either a red, silver or blue stripe down the side and interior stitching to match.
- The Challenger was introduced to the SCCA Trans Am Series in 1970. Two factory-backed cars were prepared by Ray Caldwell's Autodynamics and driven by Sam Posey and Tony Adamowicz. The No.77 car was built at Autodynamics from a street Challenger T/A that was taken from a local dealer showroom. The No.76 chassis arrived mid-season from Dan Gurney's All-American Racers, and was completed by Autodynamics.
- Dodge's mid-1970s factory-supported "Kit Car" program for short-track late-model stock car racing offered a choice of Challenger or Aspen bodies over a steel-tube chassis.
- Blackforest Motorsports has currently entered a Challenger in the Continental Challenge.
- The 2010 Challenger R/T has been named as the Chrysler model for the 2010 NASCAR Nationwide Series competition.
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- Official website
- Dodge Challenger: History of the Dodge Pony Car
- Dodge Challenger: Forty Years of a Dodge Muscle-car Legend
- 2011 Dodge Challenger cars at Allpar
- Information about the Challenger
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