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Evolution of the Dodge Challenger: 3 Models to Remember, & One to Come

Posted in Dodge, General, Mustang by Frank | February 1st, 2011 | Leave a Reply |

The Dodge Challenger is pretty much an old man- at over 40 years old.

Actually, only the name is over 40 years old. For some reason, Dodge has started and stopped production on this popular name several times over the years.

Recently there was an Edmunds 2012 Dodge Challenger SRT-8 road test- which was timely due to the 2012 release coming up quickly. It also helped to fill in the gap with missing production years- you’ll only find 18 model years. Instead of trying to calculate the correct number of candles to put on the cake, let’s take a closer look at a few Challengers to remember:

Oldies but Goodies

1. The Original

The very first, and the very best, Dodge Challenger was built in 1970. Although an inline-6 cylinder engine was available, nothing short of a roaring 8-cylinder motor would do for most fans of the first-generation Challenger. In fact, Dodge was so sure the 8-cylinder 1970 Challenger would be a hit they provided this car’s powerful engine in not one, but nine, different configurations.

Imagine opening your hood and showing off your six-pack to your buddies. No, we’re not talking about abs; we’re talking about a 440 cubic-inch, 8-cylinder masterpiece featuring three two-barrel carbs. For those of you who’ve forgotten basic math, three times two on the carbs gets you a six pack! Unfortunately, Dodge stopped production on this muscle car in 1974.

2. From the Land of the Rising Sun

In 1978, Dodge revived the Challenger brand name with a twist. To compete with the newly-popular Japanese imports, Dodge contracted with Mitsubishi to produce this 4-cylinder, rear-drive vehicle and marketed it as a Challenger. Of course, muscle-car fans that were still driving their favorites from the early ‘70s were embarrassed to be associated with this version of their favorite Dodge product.

While it contained state-of-the-art electronics and excellent fuel mileage, the second-generation Challenger was dropped from the Dodge line-up in 1983. Although you can find plenty of classic first generations running the roads today, you’ll be hard pressed to find one of these Japanese imports.

3. The Third Time Might Be a Charm

In 2008, Dodge revived the Challenger name in a remake of the original. Although the modern version is taller, bulkier, and heavier than its sleek grandfather, junior does visibly resemble gramps. The chassis isn’t quite as streamlined, but Dodge outdid themselves with the engine. While you no longer have nine different choices, the 425-hp V8 Hemi produces even more power than the original.

In addition to beating the original Challenger in speed, the new model will go from 0 to 60 in 5.1 seconds and lay down rubber with a 13.2-second quarter mile. This one also stops and turns smoothly! Although the third generation still doesn’t look quite as tough as the original, you have to give Dodge an A for effort on this one!

The 2012 Dodge Challenger Is Ready to Roll!

The 2012 Dodge Challenger should meet all the expectations of Challenger lovers. This updated model is destined to become the stuff of legends- who would ever choose a wimpy hybrid when this beefy work of art is waiting to call your driveway home?

Regardless of the body style you like, the Dodge Challenger definitely has something for everyone with their style and speed. What’s your favorite model?

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