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Hagerty
Hagerty Employee

The story of the modern Challenger, from 2008 to the present day | Hagerty Media

Since its debut in 2008, the current Dodge Challenger has been the purest and most abiding of the modern muscle cars. Consider the competition: The updated Chevrolet Camaro arrived later (in 2010) and is already rumored to be on the way out. The Ford Mustang, all-new in 2005, received another stem-to-stern overhaul in 2015.
https://www.hagerty.com/media/car-profiles/the-story-of-the-modern-challenger-from-2008-to-the-prese...
24 REPLIES 24
Reinhold_Weege
Instructor

“We looked at a new platform,” Kuniskis admits. “It was going to be smaller. It was going to be lighter. It was going to handle better. But when we talked to people who bought the car, they said, ‘I considered your car over the competition because it was bigger, because it was heavier, because I drive it every day, because I need the back seat, because I need the trunk. And, oh, by the way, I like the fact that it’s more muscle car-like and less sports car-like.’”

You can all thank me, because I bought two of them between 2011-2012 and that's almost word-for-word what I wrote on every owner's survey I was sent.
redd6054
New Driver

Exactly my feelings also. I own a modern Shelby GT500, which is quicker but a much prefer my SRT8 challenger, in Plum Crazy Purple of course !!
noah300g
Intermediate Driver

I wish they had taken at least some of their design work and applied it to a new 300 'Letter Car', with only 2 doors and a high output engine. There would be one in my garage next to the 61 300G and 70 Hurst 300.
I also don't get why they didn't offer a convertible in the Challenger, and that isn't really touched upon in the story. Still looking around for an SRT-8 Challenger drop top done nicely to buy into.
Reinhold_Weege
Instructor

Absolutely agree... Not using the platform/inner stampings to build a more mature lux/performance coupe in the classic 300 mold was a huge mistake. As much as I love the Challenger, I'd love a up$cale version of it even more. Part of the reason is probably capacity, but that never stopped "real" Chrysler Corp... Few people remember that when the LH cars (also built in Brampton, ON) became a successful, more production was added at the company's Newark, Delaware plant.
compaqdeskpro
Detailer

I own a silver 2014 base model with no features, I love it, I love how it looks, I love the interior space and trunk, and will tell anyone who will listen. Not making this platform into a Cadillac ATS competitor likely saved not only the car but the Dodge and Chrysler brands as well.

If everyone votes for governments that mandate that fossil fuel is burned far away from cities and performance is dead because everyone needs to pussyfoot their iPhone battery cars around, then maybe this car can reinvent itself in the upcoming malaise era, maybe involving soft Corinthian leather.
Snailish
Engineer

I commented in the recent Cordoba retrospective article that they should use this platform to bring back a Cordoba special edition. We joke, but running with the Corinthian Leather and such theme might just be a winner.

Iso_Grifo
Instructor

Just by coincidence I revisited VANISHING POINT last week and haven't been able to stop dreaming of a white 1970 R/T 440 Challenger ever since. In my dream world I see a movie tribute car sitting side by side with a white "standard" Hellcat in the garage.
atat327
Pit Crew

...Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis, who sold a big-block ’71 Challenger R/T he’d lovingly restored himself to finance the purchase of a Demon.

So the CEO had to sell a car to pay for another one? Sure. Pull the other one.
omac
Intermediate Driver

All I can say is keep em coming. Don't ever stop.
Rider79
Technician

I still like these - preferably in Scat Pack trim, in B5 Pearl Blue. No damn black wheels, though!

Interesting that these are now called "muscle cars", when originally they were "pony cars". Of course, given the growth in size and weight, "pony cars" might not be a appropriate name anymore.
Snailish
Engineer

Sometime in the last 5-10 years the auto writing crowd (got younger?) has shifted to lumping anything performance into the muscle category.

 

Some enjoy debating these definitions on forums I guess.

 

Making it a catch-all category isn't as useful (to me) as I think of different things when someone says:

-sports car

-grand tourer

-muscle car

-modern muscle

-pony car

-personal luxury

 

(and probably more). 

77GL
Detailer

When your best ideas are over 50 years old, that's more than a half century folks, your only hope for true innovation is a joint venture with Tesla. Ditto for every car manufacturer on the planet, you're followers, not innovators.
WeisPanzer
Intermediate Driver

If it ain't broke...

This car is pretty much a money printer at this point, because "it just works." Other manufacturers MUST redesign their cars every 3-5 years because after the shine wears off, there's no desire. THIS car seems to be the only thing on the planet that defies (car business) gravity.
Snailish
Engineer

Thank you for that comment Weispanzer. That gravity you mention comes across in so many articles and posts here (and everywhere else).

 

Anyone that reads car mags (especially those that test new vehicles) has been subject to decades of "old model/platform bad, new thing best".

 

With the exception of changes for safety (that actually did improve safety) lots of platform changes have not been for the consumer benefit that the mass market would notice and appreciate.

 

Take any of the models that have only had minor evolutions in design for generations. Meanwhile the VW Beetle was an ancient design by the time it became popular in North America. The Challenger/Charger/300 platform is a modern example of this (and probably what should be the norm).

 

To some degree, as consumers I think we have been tricked on this for a long time.

SJ
Technician

“We solved this equation back in the ’60s,” says Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis, who sold a big-block ’71 Challenger R/T he’d lovingly restored himself to finance the purchase of a Demon.
Really! If its true(a CEO couldn't afford both?)and sells his "lovingly restored " '71 BB for a Demon he has definite mental problems. Sure a Demon is nice, but '71 BB, come on this sounds like PR BS.
Bill
Detailer

WHATS NOT TO LiKE... THEY ARE HUGE
mhealy1
Advanced Driver

As a kid in the early, I was absolutely ape-(stuff) over the original E-bodies. My hands-on experience was limited at first to riding in the back seat (then the perfect size for a ten year old); later I owned a clapped-out 71 Barracuda convertible. When the Challenger came back I was driving a base econobox (Ford Focus). I had a 75 mile commute and felt I’d never be able to justify the purchase or operating cost of a Challenger.
I changed my mind in late 2011. I convinced my wife (spelled b-e-g-g-e-d!) that a base Challenger would be a good all-around commuter car. 182000 miles later, I still like the car so much that I’m fighting with her to be able to keep it. It’s quick (not fast), economical (24 mpg average) , comfortable, roomy, and durable. Despite its age, I regularly get compliments on it it.
The end is in sight, however. Do you think I could convince my wife that a six-speed R/T would be a good mid-life crisis commuter?
Snailish
Engineer

drive happy mhealy1.

 

Get the Challenger you want, or at least the closest one to it.

espo70
Advanced Driver

The interior update in 2015 should have been mentioned. It went from a rather drab sea of cheap-looking, grayish-black plastic to the best pony car interior on the market.

I love the styling of the Chally, but the one thing that always bothered me was the too tall looking, slab sides. I think they should have made a cut line around the rocker area that and turned the area below it inward. It would have visually minimized the mass.
Snailish
Engineer

I think you are onto it, all the post 2000 retro cars I can think of (well, most vehicles actually) have the tall side proportions.

Gary_Bechtold
Specialist

I wish they had kept the Magnum and it had gotten the interior and powertrain updates the Charger/Challenger have received. Would have been really cool. The Challenger doesn't really appeal to me but I do get the appeal of this car for others.
HHCO
Intermediate Driver

I’ve had 5 challengers,they kept upping horsepower and trims so had to keep buying,they wonderful cars.when the originals were out I couldn’t afford one so patients paid off and these new ones are faster and nicer to drive.I presently have charger hellcat,carry too many people now it seems,but still like the looks of challenger the best

brb
Instructor

Great article. This would be the counterpoint to Jack Baruth's "Why nobody likes enthusiasts". The T/A 392 Widebody with the six-speed Tremec manual in powder white would scratch the Vanishing Point itch.
DaveB
Detailer

Hell yeah!