The Plymouth Barracuda may have been the first pony car, but its E-body cousin, the Dodge Challenger, brought the same potent powertrains to the streets starting in 1970 and created a strong following of its own. Though the original iteration only lasted five years, Challenger cemented its muscle car status with a number of memorable engines.
When it was time to rekindle the long-dormant pony car war, Dodge resurrected the Challenger and has offered rumbling Hemi V-8s in varying horsepower levels ever since. It has now been 50 years since Challengers first hit the road, and we’re looking back as well as forward to our 10 favorite Challenger variants of the past, present, and future—in no particular order.
Read the full article at Hagerty.com: https://www.hagerty.com/media/lists/our-10-favorite-dodge-challengers/
The original, nimble, true Chrysler E-body Challengers will always be hard for any repop to truly improve. Considering 50 years of advancement potential, the new ones just are not living up to 50 years of true advancement.
We had a 71 Charger, that came out with a 383 4 bbl. I bought a 440 Magnum at a junk yard for $100. Back then, they were a dime a dozen, and nobody had a clue of future value. The 440 Magnum got a double 4 bbl setup, and I spent three years building that car. I took it out to an infamous road called the "Lake City Flats", and got it up to the end of the speedometer at 160 mph. That scared the crap out of me, when I started to ponder what a chuck-hole in the road, a piece of debris, or a loose bolt would do to me, so I let it coast down to sane speeds. I loved that car. All that remained to be done was a new paint job. 1980, my wife was pregnant with our first child, so one day I took her to the OB/Gynecologist for her exam. On our way there, as we went through an intersection, a criminal driving a tow truck with a four-wheeled battleship on the back, ran a red light, and t-boned us. He tried to run, but got caught. He had three Federal warrants out on him, so they took him to jail on those, and dropped charges for what he'd done to us. Karma got him though. A few weeks later, while out on bail, he was killed in a gang-related drive-by. My wife (and baby) wasn't hurt, and nor was I, but the Charger was totaled, with the whole front-end shifted about 3 feet to one side. That incident pretty much killed any desire I had to build a hot rod, and cars became just a means to get from point A to point B. It wasn't until 2017 that the hot rod bug bit me again, when I found our 84 Corvette Z51. I still miss that ole 71 Charger!
I bought a 2013 Challenger R/T back in May. It had 24,000 miles on it and it was in nice shape. It has the 375 hp Hemi, with an 6 speed manual transmission and a 3.92 rear gear. It’s only options were the moonroof and 20”inch wheels. I really enjoy driving it.
I'd take that Challenger Hemi anyday, followed by that Challenger T/A. Could care less about any Chrysler product made after the early 70's. Just cheap, overpriced imitations of the real things.
I'm glad your list started with the 1970 T/A because that's the one that would start my list. It had my favorite hood scoop of all time.
My list would include the T/A from the current generation, but limiting the list to 10 would be challenging (couldn't resist).
I like that you included the 1970 R/T 440 and used a photo of the R/T SE. That package brought a nice touch of personal luxury to a muscular pony car. Notice how I worded that? I believe a pony car with the right drivetrain can also be considered a muscle car.
I'm surprised the "original" 2008 SRT8 didn't make the list. Got the ball rolling for this whole Hellcat thing. I had one in Hemi Orange and the SLP 475 HP package. One of my favorite sounding cars of all time. Full throttle exhaust sounds were heavenly and have to be experienced in person.
Everybody will probably laugh at me but I missed out on a 70s Challenger Convertible with a Slant 6. That's right. I think 383s are enough for the car, an automatic, power steering and so on. If I could find a slant six in a hardtop I'd probably buy it provided it did not come home in boxes.
I like the exterior design very much, the interiors are bizarre and interesting, and the only
unfortunate aspect of the car is that once inside it feels like you are sitting in a hole. A
true of Camaros, Firebirds and so on.
Having been a high school teenager in the early '60s when the first muscle cars started to appear at the local hamburger stands, and the Hemi-Mopars were there, but few & far between, I have to say that the 70-71 Challenger R/T 426 Hemi with dog-dish caps would be my choice...as I am now in my mid-70s, "rounding 3rd, and heading home" , I do "have a bit of loose change in my pocket", and still have the wild idea that "someday...maybe"....
I had a 1973 Challenger, white with a white vinyl roof, white bucket seats, no console, automatic on the column. The engine was a 318 c.i. with a 2 bbl. I bought it new in 1974 from a Ford dealer in Bay City who had acquired it from a defunct Chrysler dealer in Tawas during one of Chrysler's mini collapses. Not a high performance car, but it took it's share of abuse and kept on ticking. Sure wish I had it today.
My favorite will not make anyone else's list - a 1973, dark brown, white vinyl top, white interior with black carpet & dash, 318 V8 and a 3-speed automatic. My first car, bought it from a friend's brother in '76 and drove it into the 90's when it finally disintegrated from salt immersion in the early years followed by Gulf Coast humidity in the latter. It was a painfully lovely car, and that small V8 was still running strong at the end - the engine itself may still live on to this day, I would not be surprised.
Great to see an article devoted to Challengers, one of the best American cars ever made, of course I am partial as I currently own 2. However my list would be quite different. The new challengers like the Hellcat, Demon, etc. are amazing with their horsepower, however I am a classic person and I would probably have 7 of the "real" Challengers and 3 of the new Challengers, opposite of this list! I have a 70 convertible with factory A/C and power windows, A/C very rare on a convertible and power windows rare on any Challenger. It is Dark Burnt Orange with black top and black interior. Unfortunately it has a 318 with auto. I am the second owner. My second one is a 1974 Rallye. Instead of the original engine I got it with a 440! It is yellow blaze with a black interior, but has a lot of rust and needs restoration. I actually had 3 at one time, but unfortunate when I moved I let a 1972 383 go, I wish I hadn't but when you are moving, relocating a collection of cars is not easy and you make bad decisions! I have thought about getting a new challenger, but I think if I where to get another Challenger I would end up getting a classic "real" Challenger with a stick!
A base model Challenger of either generation should make the list. The entry-level cars may not be the car an enthusiasts wants, but it does not mean they are not important machines. A Challenger with an inline-six is a rare sight at a car show. If that's the car you owned, that's probably your favorite.