How the Dodge Challenger Got Its Start
The revival of the famed Challenger at every Dodge in Miami, has made a whole lot of speed lovers happy over the last few years.
And now the Challenger SRT Hellcat has come along to heat things up even more. With 707 horsepower busting out from under the hood, it has dominated conversation in the automotive world for months.
But in order to really understand how the Challenger became the most powerful muscle car ever, you have to take a look back at its original days.
The Very Beginning
This model dates back to the 1958, when the original Dodge Silver Challenger was released. This first version, which remained in showrooms for two years, was sold with all sorts of prime features.
Electric wipers, premium materials, and white wall tires were all included in the package when you purchased the two-door sedan.
The Real Deal
The first true generation of Challengers didn’t arrive until 1969, when the model was introduced in response to Ford’s Mustang and Chevy’s Camaro.
Dodge also aimed at higher level luxury makers who were getting in on the muscle car scene. They gave the Challenger an elongated wheelbase and a luxurious cabin to put it right up against competitors like the Mercury Cougar.
It was available as a hardtop or a convertible, and owners got to choose an I6 or V8 engine. There was also a performance model, the R/T (Road/Track) that upped the ante with more engine power and more lavish details inside.
The Times They Are a Changin’
’71 and ’72 brought about a few shifts. First, Dodge came out with the Challenger T/A (Trans Am), but that only lasted one year. And the following year, the Challenger Rallye replaced the R/T.
The list of options had been significantly reduced, and the convertible was no longer offered. At the same time, the excitement around pony cars started to take a nose dive.
Seeing the writing on the wall, Dodge decided that it was time to take the Challenger out of production. Little did they know what an epic return it was going to make decades later.
An Unbelievable Comeback
The Challenger made its return in 2008, manifesting as a completely modern take on the ’71 model. With a strikingly retro body and state-of-the-art engineering, the new Challenger was a hit from the start.
In 2011, all models were given new engines that ranged from a 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 to a 6.4-liter HEMI V8 in the SRT8 trim.
The muscle car has seen a few refreshing updates for the 2015 model year, including increased horsepower, a new 8-speed transmission, and touchscreen controls.
With performance that will make you swoon, sound that’s reminiscent of a disgruntled lion, and a plethora of the latest amenities, this Challenger is in a class of its own.