10 Things You Didn't Know About The Dodge Challenger
‘The Dodge Challenger has been turning heads for quite a while know, and here are 10 things you may not have known about this high-performance car.
The makers of Dodge didn’t just start making Dodge cars. In fact, the Dodge brothers started out with bicycles. Funnily enough, they didn’t move on to making motorcycles, instead, they switched to stoves. Finally, by 1910, they were making car parts in their machine shop.
Obviously, since making a full car is so much cooler than making axles and transmissions, the brothers announced their soon-to-be-car in 1914, and, by 1916, this was a reality. Such was their reputation that over 22,000 dealers submitted applications to sell Dodge cars, even before the first car had rolled out… interesting, right? So, here are 10 more things about Dodge’s coolest car, the Challenger…
- The Challenger Was A Late Entry
When it comes to pony cars, as was the Challenger’s first packing, The Dodge Challenger wasn’t early on the scene. In fact, it was one of the last pony cars of the Detroit Three to roll into the scene and yet its lateness didn’t make it any less awesome.
The 426 HEMI engine, dubbed "the Elephant Motor," powered the Challenger, as did the smaller 2.2-liter Slant Six. The powertrain simply blew people away and made the Challenger not only rise but beat most challenges. Though this version lasted just five years from 1970-74, it remains one of the most powerful debuts in the auto bazaar.
- It Remains A Costly Buy
To date, these five years of the Dodge Challenger remain much in demand. It was introduced in 1969, as the 1970 model and taken off production in 1974—but even now the restored first edition Dodge Challenger cars can demand up to six figures in price, and people will pay to own such a powerful and classic piece of the automobile history.
Built on Chrysler’s E-deck platform that the Plymouth Barracuda also shared, the wheelbase was 2 inches longer, giving luxurious interior space. With over 9 different engine/transmission options from 145 horsepower to a whopping 390, the Challenger has something to please every buyer.
- It Looked So Very Good
Nothing about the Challenger was mediocre. In fact, the color schemes like Plum Crazy and HEMI Orange were all about performance, with those classic bumblebee stripes making it look absolutely stunning on the road.
Twin-scooped hoods, shaker hoods, and rear deck wings were other ways a Challenger owner could make his car look as sporty and as different as he wanted to. In fact, the Challenger went racing in its first year itself, and, while it didn’t win, the team finished fourth, and that’s mighty cool for a car that just rolled down the assembly line. The Hemi Challenger and Barracudas so ruled the races that the Hemi finally had to be “outlawed” on the tracks.
- The Challenger Is A Movie Star
Listing movies that have starred a Dodge Challenger isn’t tough. Really, it may be easier to start listing movies that didn’t have a Challenger in them because this was one good-looking car.
A supremely popular car in the domestic motor market, the Challenger is an all-out movie and TV star. From the Challenger vs Supra race that kickstarted the whole Fast and Furious franchise, to the Dodge Challenger of Vanishing Point, to even that of Nightcrawler—the Challenger has always been a photogenic car with enough power under the hood to make it look great and drive even better.
- The Second Generation Was Rebadged
By 1974, the whole ballgame had changed and Hemis were on their way out. So, what to do about the Dodge Challenger? Surprisingly, the second-generation Dodge wasn’t much of a Dodge; it was a badge-engineered Mitsubishi Galant Lambda.
On its re-entry in 1978, it was dubbed as the Colt Challenger and was a two-door coupe. It came with a 1.6-liter 77-horsepower inline-four engine that could be tuned to 105 horsepower. The mighty did fall with this version, and sales fell from 80,000+ a year to 12,000-14,000 a year. Even then, the Challenger soldiered on till 1984 for six solid years till it was taken off the market, finally.
- A Third Revival, A Third Generation
After being off the market for more than 20 years, 2006 saw the Challenger being reintroduced in the Dodge lineup. Chrysler revealed the all-new Challenger in auto shows worldwide, and it received instant attention and fame. The look was very 1970s; the wide stance and almost challenging hood of the car were back, albeit in a completely new avatar.
The rear-wheel LX platform, a long hood and flawless styling coupled with the 6.1-liter Hemi made the Challenger instant flame for all the car moths out there. Luckily for them, this flame did not burn out, this time and only got better a few years down the line.
- 2008 Saw The SRT Lineup Takeover
In 2008, the Dodge Challenger introduced the SRT8 to the streets, and the Challenger was really back where it belonged. The dream 'Murican muscle car with amazing performance, a beautiful eye-catching design coupled with everything new that technology could offer in a car.
Two cars that rolled off the assembly line were auctioned off for charity, and they fetched $400,000 and $229,000 respectively—all this for a car with a listing price of $40K! Great braking, seven different exterior color options with leather or cloth interiors, and the best-in-class of everything under the hood kept making it grow its market by leaps and bounds.
- The Hellcat Enters The Fray
2015 retired the SRT8 for good but gave us something better in return. The SRT Hellcat and SRT 392 came to play instead. They came equipped with an 8-speed ZF 8HP automatic transmission married to a 6.4-liter Apache V8, and the total output is an awesome 485 horsepower and 475 ft-lb torque.
The Hemi models now featured a functional hood instead of it being just a design element, and exteriors were given a subtle but suave facelift. The SRT Hellcat can reach top speeds of 199mph and can go 0-60mph in 3.6 seconds flat—any faster, and we could probably fly the Hellcat to the moon and back.
- Time To Welcome The Demon
2017 saw the debut of the SRT Demon. This one is as no-holds-barred as it gets, and probably the devil himself would love to get his hands on one of these. The 6.2-liter V8 engine has a topping of a 2.7-liter supercharger, taking the total output of the demon to a massive 808 horsepower.
Of course, dose this Demon with high-octane fuel, and the output revs to 840 horsepower, with a side of 770 ft-lb torque. It reaches 0-30mph in one flat second and 0-60mph in 2.3 seconds—as long as nothing gets in its way. The tires were consumer, but a bit special to withstand the Demon chewing the road.
- 2019 And Looking Forward
For the 2019 model year, the Dodge Challenger can be had as SRT Hellcat, SRT Hellcat Redeye, replacing the Demon, Scat Pack 1320 Package, and, of course, the Widebody Package.
While the sale numbers have never really reached the 83,000+ of the 1970 model in one year, the Challenger is doing fine for itself. It has its fans, and it has its races. After a 40-year absence, the Challenger returned to Trans-Am at Sebring amped with a Penske Engine Mopar R5/P7 carburated engine whipping 855 horsepower. It finished 9th out of a field of 24. Clearly, the Challenger’s future is bright in 2020, as well.’
-Hotcars.com, August 29, 2019 & Photo from Hotcars.com