The History of the Dodge Challenger
Taking a Good Idea and Making it Better
The Dodge Challenger was brought into the world in 1970 and was based upon the Plymouth Barracuda. Unlike the Barracuda, the Dodge Challenger contained a wheelbase that was stretched by two inches in order to provide more interior room and even came available in either a hard or soft top. There were two engines to chose from, which were available as either the four-barrel Magnum with 375 bhp and the tri-carb six-pack with 390 bhp. A very powerful HEMI was also available with 425 bhp and TorqueFlite automatic and more options included the four-speed manual transmission, which included a pistol-grip Hurst shifter and a Dana 60 axle. The following year delivered a ton of updates to the Dodge Challenger, such as the convertible top option being discontinued and added colored-keyed bumpers, dummy brake cooling slots located on the rear flanks, and new tape stripes. Also, a small group of Dodge dealers decided to improve upon sales by providing 50 specially prepared official and pace cars for the Indianapolis 500 race.
Early Changes in the Challenger
In 1972, the Dodge Challenger was upgraded even further with new front end styling and a new egg-crate grille with down-turned ends. The convertible was completely eliminated as an option at this point in time along with the Hemi engine. Shortly after, the Rallye edition was introduced and would replaced the R/T edition. This increase in capacity would allow for its power production to meet the newly tightened emission control regulations. The Dodge Challenger was one of the first vehicle’s in its class to include four-cylinder engines, which had not usually been done to the inherent vibration, but the Challenger pioneered the use of balance shafts in order to dampen this effect.
The Challenger Evolved with the 2000’s
The preview of the 3rd generation Dodge Challenger was unveiled at the 2006 Detroit Motor Show and would begin production in 2007 with many design cues being taken from the original 1970 Dodge Challenger. The new version was a two-door coupe and was noticeably longer and taller than the first generation of the Challenger. The Challenger was also updated with a fixed “B” pillar, which was hidden behind the side glass in order to give the illusion of a hard top. The production of the Dodge Challenger expanded in 2009 with the four different trim levels. These trims included the SE, R/T, SRT8, and the SXT(which was only available in Canada). The SRT8 would remain virtually unchanged with the exception of the option of a six-speed manual transmission and standard slip differential.
The Latest for the Dodge Challenger
In 2015, many changes developed in the Dodge Challenger, which include the two added SRT versions and was no longer referred to as the “SRT8.” The new titles of this trim was either the SRT 392 or the SRT Hellcat. There was also the replacement of the five-speed automatic transmission with the new eight-speed automatic transmission with a power output 6.4-liter V8, which increased to a total of 485 horsepower and 475 lb.-ft of torque. The SRT Hellcat was a powerful trim level with its 6.2-liter HEMI engine, which was rated at 707 horsepower and 650 lb.-ft of torque. Since the beginning the Dodge Challenger has remained a vehicle that aims to improve and change along with the times.