If you’ve ever watched stock car racing in the United States, you know who Richard Petty is. His “Petty blue” color and the number 43 are iconic and instantly recognizable, and now he’s lending his name to a limited production version of the Dodge Challenger. The first 43 Petty Garage Challengers will be available in any color you want, as long as it’s gloss black with matte black trim. I think the Dodge Challenger is the best looking of the modern muscle cars, and the “less is more” Petty Garage version is even sexier than stock.
When it comes to cars, beauty is more than skin deep. Gone is the stock 5.7 liter, 425 horsepower Hemi motor, replaced by an Arrington Engines supercharged Hemi, good for 610 horsepower at the crank. The stock transmission is replaced by a Tremec six speed, and a Hurst shifter ensures that gear throws are short and precise. The Petty Garage Challengers ride on custom Forgeline 20” wheels, and Brembo brakes (six piston fronts, four piston rears) ensure that the car stops as well as it goes.
Unlike muscle cars of old, the Petty Challenger is built to handle turns. The car rides on a coilover suspension, which also uses tunable dampeners. Front and rear roll bars are beefier than stock, and can be adjusted for the driver’s handling preferences. Enhanced bushings are offered, and Petty’s Garage does a custom alignment and four corner balance check.
Inside, the Petty Challengers get a custom interior, complete with Richard Petty’s signature on the dash and gauges. You’d best like looking at King Richard, since his cowboy-hat-wearing visage also graces the door panels, just in case you forget who the founder of this particular feast is.
Jay Leno gives the car an enthusiastic thumbs up, and I’d love the chance to drive one myself. As you’d guess, all this improvement comes at a price, and a Petty Garage built Challenger starts at $67,535 (including $32,605 for a Challeger R/T with the 27F package and $34,930 for the Petty conversion). That’s not inexpensive, and you could certainly build a comparable car for less money. On the other hand, that’s a reasonable price to pay for a piece of American racing history. Like Carrol Shelby, Richard Petty isn’t going to be around forever, which makes me think a Petty Garage Challenger may be a pretty sound investment.