|Parent Company:||Chrysler Corporation (1970-74)|
Mitsubishi Motors (1978-1983)
Chrysler LLC (2008-present)
|Successor:||Dodge Conquest (for 1984)|
Dodge Daytona (for 1984)
|Class:||Pony car (1970-74, 2008-present)|
|Body Style:||2-door convertible|
2-door hardtop coupe
|Engine:|| Slant 6 I6|
Slant 6 I6
3-speed TorqueFlite automatic
|Assembly:||Hamtramck, Michigan, USA|
Los Angeles, California, USA
The Challenger is described in a book about 1960s American cars as Dodge’s "answer to the Mustang and Camaro." 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 they were "a rather late response to the ponycar wave the Ford Mustang had started." The author of a book about "Hemi"-powered muscle cars says 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 and Camaro. He adds that Chrysler intended the new Dodge as "the most potent ponycar ever," and positioned it "to compete against the Mercury Cougar and Pontiac Firebird."  Similarly, the author of a book about the Chrysler pony-cars notes that "[t]he 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 110inches, 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.
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 got 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 Challenger production ceased midway through the 1974 model year. About 165,500 Challengers were sold over this model's lifespan.
Four models were offered: Challenger Six, Challenger V8, T/A Challenger, and Challenger R/T. Challengers could either be hardtops, coupes, or convertibles (through 1971 only). The standard engine on the base model was the six-cylinder. Standard engine on the V8 was the V8 with a 2-barrel carburetor. Optional engines were the and V8s, all with a standard 3-speed manual transmission, except for the 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 383 CID V8.
The performance model was the R/T (Road/Track), with a 383 CID Magnum V8, rated at . Standard transmission was a 3-speed manual. Optional R/T engines were the 440 CID Magnum, the Six-Pack and the Hemi. The R/T was available in all three body styles; both standard and R/T hardtops could be ordered as 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 which included a 150mi/h speedometer, an 8,000 rpm tachometer, and an oil pressure gauge. The convertible Challenger was available with any engine, as well as in the R/T and SE trim levels. In 1973, Dodge dropped the R/T badging and now called it the "Rallye", although it was never badged as such. The shaker hood scoop was not an option for 1972.
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, it 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 Edelbrock aluminum intake manifold, creating the 340 Six Pack. Dodge rated the 340 Six Pack at , only 15bhp more than the original 340 engine (and mysteriously the same rating as the Camaro Z/28 and Ford Boss 302 Mustang), it actually made about . It breathed air through a suitcase sized air scoop molded into the pinned down, hinged matte-black fiberglass hood. Low-restriction dual exhausts ran to the stock muffler location under the trunk, 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 camber of the rear springs. The T/A was among the first production vehicles to use different size tires front and rear: E60x15 fronts, and G60x15 in back. The modified camber elevated the tail enough to clear the rear rubber and its side exhaust outlets, thick side stripes, bold ID graphics, a fiberglass ducktail rear spoiler, as well as a fiberglass front spoiler added to the image. The interior was strictly stock Challenger. Unfortunately, the race Challenger T/A was not competitive, due to the fact that they had to be large enough to accommodate engines as large as the 426 Hemi, and 440, the street version suffered from severe understeer in fast corners. It could turn mid 14s in the quarter mile, which would do any small block muscle car proud. The T/A would only be available for 1970 as Dodge pulled out of Trans Am racing. Only 2,142 T/As were made. A 1971 model using the 340 engine with a 4-barrel carburetor was planned and appeared in period advertising, but was not produced.
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.
By 1972, the convertible version and all the big-block engine options were gone. Maximum power was also downgraded to to reflect the more accurate Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) net hp calculations. The 1972 models also received a new grille that extended beneath the front bumper.
The 1973 models were no longer available with a six-cylinder engine. For 1974, the engine was replaced by a version, but the pony car market had deteriorated and production of Challengers ceased in mid-1974.
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 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 "5mi/h" bumpers (with a rubber type filler behind them) in conjunction with large bumper guards. 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 of the rear. 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. In a historic review, the editors of Edmunds Inside Line ranked these models as: 1970 was a "great" year, 1971 was "good" one, and then "three progressively lousier ones" (1972-1974).
Original "numbers matching" high-performance 1970-71 Challengers are now among the most sought-after collector cars. The rarity of specific models with big engines is the result of low buyer interest and sales with the correspondingly low production when new. The 440 and the 426 Hemi engines nowadays command sizable premiums over the smaller engines (with the exception of the limited edition Challenger T/A with its 340 six-pack).
The 1970 and 1971 models tend to generate more attention as performance and style options were still available to the public. However, with the popularity of these vehicles increasing, and the number of usable and restorable Challengers falling, many collectors now search for later models. Many "clones" of the 1970 and 1971 Challengers with high-performance drivetrains have been created by using low-end 6 cylinder and 318 powered non-R/T or T/A cars and installing one of the "Magnum" performance engine combinations (340, 383, 440 or 426 Hemi) and adding the specific badging and hoods.
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. A few French Challengers still exist today.
Engine choices included the following:
Light Gold Metallic-FY4, Plum Crazy (purple)-FC7, Sublime (green)-FJ5, Go-Mango(orange)-EK2, Hemi Orange-EV2, Banana (yellow)-FY1, Light Blue Metallic-EB3, Bright Blue Metallic-EB5, Dark Blue Metallic-EB7, Rallye Red-FE5, Light Green Metallic-FF4, Dark Green Metallic-EF8, Dark Burnt Orange-FK5, Beige-BL1, Dark Tan Metallic-FT6, White-EW1, Black-TX9, Cream-DY3, Panther Pink-FM3
Light Gunmetal Metallic-GA4, Light Blue Metallic-GB2, Bright Blue Metallic-GB5, Dark Blue Metallic-GB7, Dark Green Metallic-GF7, Light Green Metallic-GF3, Gold Metallic-GY8, Dark Gold Metallic-GY9, Dark Bronze Metallic-GK6, Tan Metallic-GT5, Bright Red-FE5, Bright White-GW3, Black-TX9, Butterscotch-EL5, Citron Yella-GY3, Hemi Orange-EV2, Green Go-FJ6, Plum Crazy-FC7, Top Banana-FY1
Light Blue-HB1, Bright Blue Metallic-HB5, Bright Red-FE5, Light Green Metallic-GF3, Dark Green Metallic-GF7, Eggshell White-GW1, Black-TX9, Light Gold-GY5, Gold Metallic-GY8, Dark Gold Metallic-GY9, Dark Tan Metallic-GT8, Light Gunmetal Metallic-GA4, Medium Tan Metallic-GA4, Super Blue-GB3, Hemi Orange-EV2, Top Banana-FY1
Black-TX9, Dark Silver Metallic-JA5, Eggshell White-EW1, Parchment-HL4, Light Gold-JY3, Dark Gold Metallic-JY9, Gold Metallic-JY6, Bronze Metallic-GK6, Pale Green-JF1, Dark Green Metallic-JF8, Light Blue-HB1, Super Blue-TB3, Bright Blue Metallic-GB5, Bright Red-FE5, Top Banana-FY1, Light Green Metallic-GF3
Yellow Blaze-KY5, Golden Fawn-KY4, Parchment-HL4, Bright Red-FE5, Deep Sherwood Metallic (Green)-KG8, Eggshell White-EW1, Black-TX9, Light Blue-HB1
|Body Style:||2-door coupe|
|Engine:|| 4G32 I4|
|Related:||Mitsubishi Galant Lambda|
|Wheelbase:||2530 mm (99.6 in)|
|Length:||4525 mm (178.1 in)|
|Width:||1675 mm (65.9 in)|
|Height:||1345 mm (53 in)–1355 mm (53.3 in)|
|Assembly:||Okazaki, Aichi, Japan|
See Mitsubishi Galant Lambda for more information
The Challenger name was revived in 1978 for a version of the early Mitsubishi Galant Lambda coupe, known overseas as the Mitsubishi Sapporo and sold through Dodge dealers as a captive import, identical except in color and minor trim to the Plymouth Sapporo. Although mechanically identical, the Dodge version emphasized sportiness, with bright colors and tape stripes, and the Plymouth on luxury with more subdued trim. 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 only a four-cylinder engine and was a long way in performance from its namesake. Nevertheless, it acquired a reputation as a reasonably brisk performer of its type, not least because of its available 2.6 L engine, exceptionally large for a four-cylinder. 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 damp this out, 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.
|Body Style:||2-door coupe|
|Platform:||Chrysler LC platform|
|Transmission:||4-speed Automatic (2009 & later V6)|
6-speed Manual (2009 & later)
|Assembly:||Brampton, Ontario, Canada|
|Engine:|| HEMI V8|
HEMI V8 (2009 & later)
SOHC V6 (2009 & later)
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 is a 2-door coupe which shares common design elements with the first generation Challenger, despite being significantly longer and taller. The chassis is a modified (shortened wheelbase) version of the LX platform that underpins the 2006-Current Dodge Charger, 2005-2008 Dodge Magnum, and the 2005-Current Chrysler 300. All 2008 models were SRT8s and equipped with the Hemi and a 5-speed AutoStick automatic transmission, which outperforms the legendary 1970 Hemi Challenger. The entire 2008 run of 6,400 cars were pre-sold (many of which for above MSRP), and production commenced on May 8, 2008. Chrysler Canada is offering the Canada 500 and Chrysler of Mexico is offering only 100 of this car for that country with a 6.1 liter engine and (SAE); the version is SRT/8. Chrysler auctioned off two 2008 SRT8 for charity with car #1 going for $400,000.00 to benefit the notMYkid non-profit org, and a 'B5' Blue #43 car fetching a winning bid of $228,143.43 with the proceeds going to Victory Junction Gang Camp. . Many of the "first delivery" Challengers were either pre-sold, or sold for above MSRP (as is often the case with a highly anticipated vehicle launch).
At the 2008 New York Auto Show, Chrysler debuted the full Dodge Challenger line for 2009, with three different trims (SE, R/T, and SRT8) to choose from:
The base model Challenger is powered by a  SOHC V6 producing (SAE) and torque which is coupled to a 4-speed automatic transmission. Several different exterior colors, and either cloth or leather interiors are available. Standard features include air conditioning; power windows, locks, and mirrors; cruise control; and 17inches 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, however is even more generous in terms of standard features. Some of these features being ESP, an alarm system, and 18inches wheels.
The mid-level Challenger is powered by a HEMI V8 producing 375 brake horsepower and coupled to either a 5-speed auto or 6-speed manual transmission. With the 6-speed manual, the Multi-Displacement System option is deleted, but the engine produces (SAE) and torque, whereas the V8 with automatic transmission has (SAE) and torque. Also available on R/T is the "Track Pak" option group. Included, is a six-speed manual transmission, anti-spin differential (3.73 with standard 18inches wheels, 3.92 with optional 20inches wheels), as well as an "ESP full-off" switch.
The brochure of the 2009 Challenger shows a "classic" version of the Dodge Challenger R/T, with the HEMI, and retro aspects such as script "Challenger" badges on the front panels and black "R/T" stripes. According to a Chrysler press relase from 01/16/09 it will come with a six-speed-manual transmission (including a pistol-grip-shifter) as standard. It will be available in Brillant Black Crystal Pearl, Bright Silver Metallic, Stone White and in three "heritage" colors: HEMI-Orange, TorRed and B5 Blue. Prices start at $34,005 (including destination) and production will start in February 2009.
The 2009 SRT8 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 20inches forged aluminum wheels in addition to most amenities offered on the lower R/T and SE models such as air conditioning and cruise control. In addition, the 2009 will have a true "limited slip" differential.
It was built to commemorate the 10th anniversary of 392 HEMI engine, as well as showcase Mopar's new available 392 (6.4L) HEMI crate engine. The body was based on the 2006 Dodge Challenger Concept. The vehicle was unveiled at SEMA show.
A race model designed for NHRA competition, based on Dodge Challenger SRT-8. The car is 1000lb 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 116inches wheelbase was shortened by ½ inch. They also feature a front cradle with bolt-in crossmember and solid engine mounts.
At least 100 Challenger Drag Race Package Cars were built to meet NHRA requirements. Engine options include 6.1L HEMI, 5.7-L HEMI, 5.9L Magnum Wedge. Manual or automatic transmissions are available. "Big Daddy" Don Garlits bought the first drag race package car and plans to race it in NHRA competition. 
The Challenger have been shown or used in a number of media, including: