HISTORY OF THE Dodge Challenger
In 1970, the Beatles broke up and Apollo 13 crashed down. It was also the year the Challenger was first introduced. At the time, the Challenger was a period specific muscle car, with exotic paint options and a gigantic shaker hood scoop. A wide range of engines were offered, including the powerful 426 Hemi and the 440 8-cylinder.The Challenger demanded attention everywhere it went.
Unfortunately, a couple decades later, the Challenger had been reduced to nothing more than a lowly subcompact. This incarnation of the Challenger only lasted a few years and was discontinued in 1983.
Third Generation Challenger (2008-present)
The modern Challenger is a rear-wheel drive muscle car like its forbearer. It can be had in either coupe or convertible configuration with the choice of a 6-cylinder or 8-cylinder engine under the hood. Both manual and automatic transmissions are offered.
When Dodge reintroduced the Challenger in 2008, they got it right. It had retro styling, reminiscent of the first generation model from the 1970s. Mechanically, it was all 21st century with a lineup of powerful engines under the hood. Inside, was a full range of creature comforts and technological goodies. Initially, the Challenger was only offered in STR-8 trim with a 6.1L 8-cylinder engine under the long hood.
In 2010, the 4-speed automatic was replaced by a 5-speed automatic. Also, the Super Track Package was introduced, which offered improved handling. For 2012, a new optional premium audio system and shift paddles for the five-speed automatic were introduced.
No changes were made in 2013 or 2014, but in 2015 the Challenger got a major overhaul. The biggest news was the introduction of the SRT Hellcat, with a supercharged 8-cylinder producing 707 hp. All Challengers got new styling details as well as an optional eight-speed automatic transmission.
A lot of collectors lust after the original Challenger from the 1970s. While those cars are awesome, they are also bone-jarringly uncomfortable and unrefined. The modern Challenger offers retro-cool with all of the modern comfort and safety features consumers have come to expect. Once you drive a Challenger – especially the SRT Hellcat – you’ll understand the phrase “Mopar or no car”.