The Dodge Challenger has enjoyed a storied history, dominating the 1970s as one of the most popular muscle cars of its era. After a few decades away, the Challenger has been back for the last decade, instilling all the heritage of yesteryear with even more power and technology. From its entrance into the pony car ranks as a power and design-focused car to its current day status fostering those same ideals with modern-day advancements, the Dodge Challenger has made its mark on the automotive landscape.
The Dodge Challenger was introduced in 1970, offering the most powertrain options of any muscle car with up to 9 available engines. It was modelled after both the Chrysler E body and the Plymouth Barracuda. The vehicle was designed with performance in mind from its engines, paint style and racing style pedigree that saw it entered in a plethora of races. The muscle car became a pop culture icon right out of the gate, starring in the cult favourite movie Vanishing Point, with the Dodge Challenger R/T as the major star of this 1971 car chase film. Over 83,000 Challengers were sold in its first model year. The Dodge Challenger was off to a roaring start with its entrance into the muscle car world.
1971 saw minor design tweaks that made the Challenger look even more stylish, including tail lamp changes, grille modifications and more. In 1972, EPA emission mandates made the Challenger change torque and horsepower ratings to net from gross, which made them incomparable to previous ratings. 1972 also saw Challengers in hardtop only as convertibles dwindled in sales. 1973 only introduced new changes to the bumper off of new government regulations. With the mass of popularity of sports cars, 1974 introduced new safety equipment, most notably on the seatbelts with an inertia reel and a seatbelt-ignition interlock added. The Challenger as it was, ceased production in 1974. From 1978 to 1984 an imported two-door version from Mitsubishi was made, eventually being replaced by the Chrysler K and Dodge/Plymouth Conquest.
2008 and on
2008 saw the grand return of the Dodge Challenger. The SRT8 was the first new Challenger in decades, re-introduced at the Chicago Auto Show. This new model was much of the same that muscle car lovers had grown to love in the 1970s, just updated for the new millennium. It had its iconic design, fantastic performance and race-styled handling. Today, the Dodge Challenger offers a well-rounded vehicle experience for anyone into muscle cars or not. It’s not just a high-powered muscle car, it’s so much more than that in a vehicle that provides a comfortable ride and is loaded with all of the latest technology, connectivity and safety features you expect in a modern vehicle.