The Dodge Challenger is the name of three different generations of American automobiles produced by Dodge. The Dodge Silver Challenger was produced from 1958 to 1959. From 1969 to 1974, the first generation Dodge Challenger pony car was built using the Chrysler E platform, 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 early 2008 as a rival to the evolved fifth generation Ford Mustang and the fifth generation Chevrolet Camaro.
Dodge Silver Challenger (1958–1959)
The Silver Challenger came only in silver paint and exclusively on Chrysler's 217.4 in (5,520 mm) long two-door body style riding on a 122.0 in (3,100 mm) wheelbase. It was available with either the 230 cu in (3.8 L) "Getaway" L-head straight-six engine for $2,297, or powered by the 325 cu in (5.3 L) "Red Ram" V8 for $2,408. This car was marketed for the spring selling season to the "new-car buyers who've been waiting to get the most for the least." A column-shifted three-speed manual transmission was standard and an automatic was optional.
The 1959 Silver Challenger was marketed with extra features at no extra cost. These included premium white wall tires, full wheel covers, electric windshield wipers, as well as an upgraded interior with silver metallic vinyl and black "Manchu" fabric upholstery, dual arm rests and sun visors, as well as deep pile wall-to-wall carpeting.
When the name lapsed Studebaker introduced its own Challenger model in 1964 which was an entry level version of the Studebaker Lark series.
First generation (1970–1974)
The Challenger was described in a book about 1960s American cars as Dodge's "answer to the Mustang and Camaro." Introduced in fall 1969 for the 1970 model year, 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, the 1970 Challenger was "a rather late response to the ponycar wave the Ford Mustang had started" with its introduction in April 1964. 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. The 1964 Barracuda was actually the first car in this sporty car segment by a few weeks, but was quickly overshadowed by the release of the segment defining Mustang (the segment being referred to as "Pony Car"). He added that Chrysler intended the new 1970 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. Air conditioning 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 featured 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 though sales rose for the 1973 model year with over 27,800 cars being sold, Challenger production ceased midway through the 1974 model year. A total of 165,437 Challengers were sold over this generation's lifespan.
A 1970 Challenger R/T 440 Magnum was featured in the existentialist 1971 film Vanishing Point. For the 1973-74 season of the TV show Mannix the title character drove a 1974 Challenger Rallye, which was specially ordered and built for the show. The car had every option available including the 360 4-barrel engine and the rare factory sunroof.
The Challenger was available as a two-door in either a hardtop coupe or a convertible body design, and in two models for its introductory year. The base model was the "Challenger" with either a I6 or V8 engine, as well as a "Challenger R/T" that included a 383 cu in (6.28 L) V8. The Special Edition or "Challenger SE" that added a number of appearance, convenience, and comfort items was "available as a model in either the Challenger R/T or Challenger." 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. For 1970, the optional engines included the 340 and 383 cu in (5.6 and 6.3 L), as well as the 440 and 426 cu in (7.2 and 7.0 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.
For 1971, the Challenger line up was modified to include a new model, the "Challenger Coupe" with either a I6 or V8 engine, and as the most basic version it had fixed in position quarter windows and a basic black steering wheel with horn button.
The performance model was the R/T (Road/Track), with a 383 cu in (6.28 L) "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 1972, the R/T badging was dropped and these models were called "Rallye", although they were never badged as such. The Rallye model featured a faux brake vent on the fenders. 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 one of the first U.S. muscle car to fit different size tires front and rear: E60x15 Goodyear Polyglas in the front, and G60x15 on the rear axle. The modified chamber elevated the tail enough to clear the rear tires and its side exhaust outlets. Thick dual side stripes, bold ID graphics, a fiberglass ducktail rear spoiler, and a fiberglass front spoiler were also included. The interior was identical to other Challengers.
Dodge contracted Ray Caldwell's Autodynamics 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.
For 1972 the options lists (both for performance and appearance/convenience items) had been drastically cut back. The convertible version (though a sun-roof was made available), most interior upgrade options (in particular leather seats), comfort/convenience items (in particular power windows and power seats), and all the big-block engine options were gone. The R/T series was replaced by the Rallye series. Engine choices were down to three: the 225 cu in slant-6, the 318 cu in V-8, and a performance oriented 340 cu in V-8 which was equipped with a 4-barrel carb, performance camshaft, heads and dual exhausts. All three were detuned to lower compression ratios in order to run on lead-free gasoline, and the horsepower ratings were lowered to reflect the more accurate Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) net hp calculations. Each engine could be mated to a 3-speed manual or automatic transmission, while the 340 could also be equipped with a 4-speed manual if so ordered. The performance axle ratios were also gone except for a 3.55 sure grip which could only be had with the 340 and the heavy duty suspension. The 1972 models also received a new grille that extended beneath the front bumper, as well as new rear tail-lights. Toward the end of the 1971 model year a few convertibles were made with the 1972 front end (grille, lights, etc.) and rear end (tail lights and their panel). These were specially built for TV and movie studio production use and showed up "Mod Squad", and other shows. The only way to ascertain these 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.
The 1972 grille and tail-light arrangement was carried over for the 1973 (and 1974) models, and the mandatory 5 mph bumpers were added. While the 225 cu in six-cylinder engine was dropped, (leaving just the two V-8s), all option lists otherwise were carry-overs from 1972. For 1974, the 340 cu in (5.6 L) engine was replaced by a 360 cu in (5.9 L) version offering 245 hp (183 kW; 248 PS), but the pony car market had fallen off 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. 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. With a low total production, as well as low survivability over the years, any Challenger is worth a substantial amount of money. 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.
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.
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 330 bhp (246 kW) SAE gross (likely 240 bhp (179 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, 1971 300 bhp (224 kW) SAE gross, 1971 250 bhp (186 kW) SAE net
- 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 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.
- 1970 = 76,935 *includes 2,539 T/As
- 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
Second generation (1978–1983)
- 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 with the Dodge version emphasizing 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 1983, until being replaced by the Conquest and Daytona.
The car retained the frameless hardtop styling of the old Challenger, but had smaller engines (inline-fours instead of the six and eight-cylinder engines of the old Challenger) and was a long way off in performance from its namesake. Nevertheless, it acquired a reputation as a reasonably brisk performer in its class, not least because of its available 2.6 L "Hemi" engine. 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.
Third generation (2008–present)
The Dodge Challenger Concept was unveiled at the 2006 Detroit Motor Show and was a preview for the 3rd generation Dodge Challenger that started its production in 2007. Many design cues of the Dodge Challenger Concept were adapted from the 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T.
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. As with Chevrolet's new Camaro, the Challenger concept car's pillarless hardtop body was replaced with a fixed "B" pillar, hidden behind the side glass to give an illusion of the hardtop. The LC chassis is a modified (shortened wheelbase) version of the LX platform that underpins the Dodge Charger (LX), Dodge Magnum, and the 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, or used for inspiration, including the Mercedes-Benz W220 S-class control arm front suspension, the Mercedes-Benz W211 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 of Mexico offered only 100 SRT8s, with a 6.1 liter V8 and 425 brake horsepower (317 kW) (SAE). Chrysler auctioned off two 2008 SRT8s for charity with the first car going for $400,000 and a "B5" Blue No.43 car with a winning bid of $228,143.43.
The base model Challenger SE was initially powered by a 3.5 L (214 cu in) SOHC V6 producing 250 bhp (186 kW) (SAE) and 250 lbf·ft (339 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 included 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 more generous in terms of standard features. Some of these features being ESP, an alarm system, and 18-inch (460 mm) wheels. Starting with the 2012 model year, the SE was replaced in the U.S. with the SXT model.
Previous to the 2012 model year, the SXT version of the Challenger was 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.)
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.
2009 model year
Production of the limited edition 2008 SRT8s 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 and standard limited slip differential, 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 372 hp (277 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.
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.
The mid-level Challenger R/T 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 horsepower (277 kW) (SAE) and 398 lbf·ft (540 N·m) torque. With the 6-speed manual transmission, the Multi-Displacement System option was deleted and the engine produced 375 horsepower (280 kW) (SAE) and 404 lbf·ft (548 N·m) torque. Another feature was the Intelligent Deceleration Fuel Shut-Off (iDFSO) available for the automatic models only. The first to combine both a Multi-Displacement system and fuel shut-off. The final drive ratio was 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 was the "Track Pak" option group, which includes the Tremec manual transmission, a limited slip differential and self-leveling rear shock absorbers.
The Challenger R/T Classic has 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" Torq-Thrust style specials. It became available in Brilliant Black Crystal Pearl, Bright Silver Metallic, Stone White and in multiple "heritage" colors: Toxic Orange, HEMI-Orange, TorRed, B5 Blue, Plum Crazy Purple, Detonator Yellow and Furious Fuchsia. Production started in February 2009.
The 2009 SRT8, while still equipped with the 6.1 L (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 "limited slip" differential that was not offered on the 2008 model. 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.
The "Mopar '10 Challenger R/T" is a limited version of the 2010 Challenger R/T with metallic pearl black body color, three accent colors (blue, red, silver) of stripes to choose from. In addition, these cars were available with black R/T Classic-style wheels along with a Hurst aftermarket pistol grip shifter, custom badging, Mopar cold air intake for a ten-horsepower increase, and a Katzkin-sourced aftermarket interior. The cars were built in Brampton Assembly and completed at the Mopar Upfit Center in Windsor, Ontario. There were 500 U.S. Units and 100 Canadian units built. Of the 500 Mopar special edition U.S. versions, 320 had automatic transmissions, 180 had manuals, while 255 had blue stripes, 115 had red stripes, and 130 had silver stripes.
The Drag Race Package is a race model designed for NHRA competition, 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, and the rear axle is solid (not IRS). 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 has raced 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.
2011 model year
The Ram emblem disappeared with the 2011 model year and Challengers received two new engines, the Pentastar, and a 392 Hemi.
- The SE and SE Rallye received the new 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 engine producing 305 bhp (227 kW; 309 PS) and 268 lb·ft (363 N·m), dual rear exhaust with bright tips, a five-speed automatic transmission with AutoStick, 18-inch aluminum wheels, advanced brake systems including: four-wheel disc antilock brakes, brake assist, ready alert braking and rain brake support, electronic stability control (ESC), with hill start assist and all-speed traction control, a chrome fuel filler door, Uconnect 130 System with AM/FM radio, CD player, six speakers and auxiliary input jack, steering wheel-mounted audio and speed control, twin hood scoops, touring suspension, remote keyless entry, six airbags, active front head restraints, premium cloth seating, six-way power driver seat with four-way power lumbar adjust, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, air conditioning with automatic temperature control, keyless enter and go with proximity sensor and push button start, power windows, locks & mirrors, a tilt/telescoping steering column and 60/40 folding rear seats that include a rear armrest with cup holders.
- In 2011 the Challenger Rallye Package added premium leather interior, received a sport performance suspension and handling package, further upgraded brakes, and unique Foose designed Rallye wheels.
- The R/T received revisions including a new bottom grille cutout and an updated suspension.
- The new SRT8's chin spoiler was enlarged to create more downforce. It resembles the 1970 Challenger R/T. The SRT8 received a new 6.4-liter Hemi V8. The so-called 392 (although its actual size is 391 cu-in.) was officially rated at 470 hp (350 kW; 477 PS) and 470 lb·ft (640 N·m) of torque. Dodge engineers said they sacrificed peak horsepower ratings for low-end torque, stating a 90 lb-ft increase over the outgoing 6.1-L (370 c.i.d.) Hemi V8 at 2900 rpm. Two transmissions were offered: a 5-Speed Shiftable Automatic and a 6-speed manual. With the revised 6.4-Liter 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 ran it 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).
- Top speeds of the 2011 Dodge Challenger R/T and 2011 Dodge Challenger SRT8 were both rated at 170 miles per hour (270 km/h). The R/T has a 0 to 60 miles per hour (0 to 97 km/h) acceleration of 5.00 seconds, while the SRT8 accelerates to 60 miles per hour (97 km/h) in 4.50 seconds.
In 2012, the base SE trim was renamed to SXT for consistency with the naming scheme of the remaining Dodge lineup.
2013 model year
For 2013, a Rallye Redline package is available with Dodge Challenger V6 models. Based on the SXT Plus trim, the Rallye Redline package includes unique exterior accents, Black chrome 20-inch wheels with Redline Red accents, performance suspension and brakes, a 3.06 rear-axle ratio and available Radar Red Nappa leather interior.
The Electronic Vehicle Tracking System (EVTS), a GPS-enabled stolen vehicle recovery system, is available.
2015 model year
- There are two SRT versions, and no longer named just "SRT-8", but available as the SRT 392 or as the SRT Hellcat.
- 5-speed automatic transmission replaced by a new 8-speed ZF 8HP automatic transmission,
- Power output on the 6.4 liter V8 increased by 15 for a total of 485 horsepower and torque increased by 5 for a total of 475 Ib Ft.
- A slightly revamped exterior features a new grille with design cues from the 1971 grill/split tail lights, Quad LED 'Halo Ring" Head lights, LED Tail lights, and a functional hood intake on HEMI models.
- Inside, the Challenger gets a 7-inch (780mm) TFT Thin Film Transistor display with over one hundred possible configurations, 8.4-inch Uconnect touchscreen radio with available navigation, and a retro styled gauge cluster.
- Six-Piston Brembo High Performance Brakes with Two-Piece 15.4-Inch Vented/Slotted Rotors and 4-Piston brakes rear on SRT models.
This version of the 2015 Dodge Challenger with a supercharged 6.2-liter HEMI engine rated at 707 hp (527 kW) and 650 lb·ft (881 N·m) of torque. This engine is also available in the Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat. The inner driving light on the left front has been removed to allow air to get into the engine resulting in more torque, and the wheel wells are different from the standard SRT to accommodate the 20-inch aluminum wheels. The SRT Hellcat will come equipped with two separate key fobs; use of the "black" fob will limit engine output to 500 horsepower, while the "red" fob will enable the full output capability. The Hellcat has a quarter mile time of 10.85 seconds; this was accomplished with street legal drag tires. On stock tires the Hellcat was able to achieve 11.2 seconds @ 125 mph on the quarter mile.
The Challenger SRT Hellcat can accelerate from 0-60 in 3.6 seconds and can brake from 60-0 in 109.0ft. Top speed is 199mph to 202mph. The Challenger Hellcat has a lateral acceleration of 0.94g.
The European-spec Hellcat is capable of 0–62 mph (0–100 km/h) in 3.9 seconds, 0–124 mph (0–200 km/h) in 10.7 seconds, and 0–186 mph (0–300 km/h) in 38 seconds (although the speedometer appeared to be inaccurate by 10-15km/h).
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 or 900 bhp (475 or 671 kW) horsepower, the supercharged SpeedFactory SF600R with around 600 bhp (447 kW), the supercharged Richard Petty Signature Series with a claimed 610 bhp (455 kW), and the Legacy by Petty Convertible Challenger completely customized by Petty's Garage to include a one of a kind front end and NASCAR styled treatments.
U.S. sales figures
4,563: R/T Classic
- 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, but in 1974 Dodge ended the Challenger line and they went to the Dodge Dart Sports and Dodge Aspen bodies over a steel-tube chassis.
- Blackforest Motorsports has currently entered a Challenger in the Continental Challenge.
- The Challenger R/T has been used as the Chrysler model for starting in 2010.NASCAR Nationwide Series competition.
With Dodge officially out of NASCAR with the close of the 2012 season the remaining cars and racing parts have been bought up by "privateer" racing teams and continue to show up in Nationwide races during the 2013 and 2014 seasons. JJ Yeley had indicated his 2 (sometimes 3) car team would continue to field a Challenger in the Nationwide series for as long as he can find parts to keep the cars running. The team stopped after the 2014 season after his #93 (later #28) regularly be in the top 20 in races, sometimes top 10, though the Mike Harmon #74 and the Derek White #40 qualified and ran in the first 2015 race now known as the "Xfinity" series. Harmon ran a Dodge the entire season, and also did so for the start of 2016 along with the #40 along with the teammate's #13 at some races.
In late 2014 two Challengers fielded by Miller Racing with the support of SRT and Mopar driven by Cameron Lawrence and Joe Stevens started racing in the Trans-Am TA2 series. Both cars used a spec Howe road racing tube chassis with fiberglass bodies. Powered by a Hemi 392 slightly modified for road racing extremes and restricted by class rules, the cars made around 500 horsepower. Except for slightly bulged fenders and large rear wing, the cars look very much like the stock/street version, despite being roughly 7/8s the size of the road car. Lawrence won four of 12 races in the 2015 season, finishing third overall in the Trans Am TA2 championship. Joe Stevens in the #11 "Green Car" finished sixth overall after a fourth place at the season finale at Daytona International Speedway. Joe Stevens also received the Cool Shirt Hard Charger award for his excellent rookie season performance.
At all Superbike World Championship races held in the United States, Fiat replaces the Alfa Romeo safety car with a Challenger.