The Dodge Challenger is a muscle car marketed by Chrysler’s Dodge Division and spans a total of three generations so far. The Dodge Silver Challenger with initially manufactured in 1958 to 1959. Between the years 1969 to 1974, the Dodge Challenger pony car was produced based on the Chrysler E platform and shared a number of its major components with the Plymouth Barracuda. The second generation of this vehicle, which was manufactured from 1978 to 1983, was engineered by Mitsubishi Galant Lambda. The third and current generation of this vehicle started production in 2008 in an effort to compete with the Ford Mustang as well as the fifth generation Chevrolet Camaro.
The Dodge Silver Challenger, which was the first incarnation of this pony car, was a limited edition Club Sedan and was available only in a silver body color with Chrysler’s 217.4” long 2-door body style on a 122.0” wheelbase. This vehicle could be purchased with a 230 cu in “Getaway” L-heard straight-six engine or a 325 cu in “Red Ram” V8 for slightly more. The demographic that Chrysler targeted when launching this vehicle was those who wanted to get as much as possible for as cheap as possible.
The first generation of the Dodge Challenger had a production spanning from 1969 to 1974 and was Chrysler’s answer to the Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro. This vehicle was introduced in the fall of 1969 and it was one of two Chrysler E-body cars, with the other being the Plymouth Barracuda. The primary difference between these two vehicles, other than the different exterior styling, was the size. The Barracuda was only slightly smaller than the Challenger, but they were both available in a variety of trim and option levels.
The second generation of the Dodge Challenger came in 1978 as a version of the Mitsubishi Galant Lambda coupe. In countries overseas, this vehicle was known as the Mitsubishi Sapporo or Scorpion and was sold through Dodge dealers as a captive import. This vehicle emphasized sportiness and was definitely targeted at consumers who were looking for a car with this sort of sleek look and power. There were many similarities between the second generation Challenger and the Plymouth Sapporo, except for the color and minor trim. This car kept the frameless hardtop styling of the old Challenger but this time had smaller engines in it, featuring inline-4s as opposed to the six and eight-cylinder engines that the original one had.
Production of the limited edition 2008 SRT8s ended in July of 2008, which is when the expended 2009 line up began. The new Challenger line for 2009 debuted at the New York Auto show the previous year with four different trim levels available, including SE, R/T, SRT8, and SXT which was available only in Canada. The SRT8 did not change in any way, except for the optional 6-speed manual transmission. This new lineup included the SE and SXT which used a 250 horsepower 3.5 liter V6 engine. The R/T model had a 5.7 Hemi which boasted a total of 370 horsepower and 398 pound-feet of torque.
The mid-level Challenger R/T had in it a 5.7 liter Hemi V8 with a 5-speed automatic transmission or a Tremec TR-6060 6-speed manual transmission. On all of the versions of this vehicle with a manual transmission, the engine featured a Multi-Displacement System which could produce a total of 372 brake horsepower and 398 pound-feet of torque. The 6-speed manual transmission version, the Multi-Displacement System was no longer available and the engine was capable of producing 376 brake horsepower and 404 pound-feet of torque. All in all, the Dodge Challenger is definitely a classic American car that continues to be extremely popular in this country for numerous reasons.