The Chevrolet Corvette and Ford Mustang are two of a handful of American
    performance cars that have secured their place in automotive history
    books. They both contributed to building the young performance market
    in 50’s and 60’s America, and then passed the test of time. The Pontiac
    Firebird, Chevrolet Camaro, Ford Thunderbird, and Dodge Charger can
    also be counted amongst the most powerful cars of their day, though
    presently the Firebird is no longer produced and the Charger is offered
    as a performance sedan. Ford Muscle returned to classic styling with
    the release of the S197 2005 Mustang, a mega success. Around the same
    time, rumors of another vintage muscle car returning began to grow;
    this time for the Dodge Challenger.

    2008 challenger.jpg

    The original 1970-1974 Dodge Challenger was only built for 4 years
    until it returned as a Mitsubishi-built compact car, but made its
    lasting impact on the performance world and is still among the most
    desired Mopar muscle cars. The popularity of the original Dodge
    Challenger, along with Dodge enthusiasts’ pleads for a muscle car coupe
    to battle the Mustang, led Dodge to design a concept along the same
    line of retro styling. The 2006 Dodge Challenger Concept was released
    to the world at the 2006 North American International Auto Show in
    Detroit, Michigan where it stole the show.  Over the next six months,
    the market was abuzz as internet forums and blogs raved over the new

    Early on, there was no clear proof that the Dodge Challenger would ever
    be produced; gradually increasing fuel prices provided classic Mopar
    fans further consternation. Then in late June 2006, an exciting
    announcement featuring NASCAR legend Richard Petty proclaimed that the
    Challenger was “A-Go”. With that it was official, but Dodge would be
    very vague about what would change from concept to production and what
    options might be offered.

    After two years of waiting, conversing, and bickering about “what could
    be”, and spotting test mules around the Detroit Metro area and at car
    shows around the US, the public got a whiff of the new Dodge Challenger
    production model when it debuted at the 2008 Chicago Auto Show on
    February 6, 2008. A spread of three cars drew nearly everyone’s
    attention at the show, with the Orange Challenger sitting atop the
    display and a Silver Challenger and Black Challenger sitting on the
    sides, all SRT8 models. Two long years of rumor and speculation ended
    with the specifications release for the 2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8.

    Do you guys remember the build up leading up to the Challenger’s return? Do you feel Dodge did the classic justice? Did it turn out the way you wanted it to? Do you feel Dodge should have attempted to buck the trend and try something new rather than retro?

    Model Line Overview

    Model lineup: Dodge Challenger SE ($21,320); R/T ($29,320); SRT8 ($39,320)
    Engines: 250-hp 3.5-liter V6, 370-375 hp 5.7-liter V8, 425-hp 6.1-liter V8
    Transmissions: 4-speed automatic, 5-speed automatic, 6-speed manual
    Safety equipment (standard): frontal airbags, side-impact airbags, curtain airbags
    Safety equipment (optional): ABS, electronic stability control
    Basic warranty: 3 years/36,000 miles
    Assembled in: Brampton, Ontario, Canada

    Specifications As Tested

    Model tested (MSRP): Dodge Challenger SRT8 ($39,320)
    Standard equipment: leather
    upholstery, climate/air conditioning, power steering, power disc
    brakes, power windows/locks/heated mirrors, power driver seat,
    tilt/telescope steering wheel with audio/info controls, cruise control,
    bi-xenon headlamps, fog lamps, Boston-Acoustics audio system,
    split-folding rear seat
    Options as tested (MSRP): high-performance tires ($50)
    Destination charge: ($1700)
    Gas guzzler tax: 675
    Price as tested (MSRP): $41,745
    Layout: rear-wheel drive
    Engine: 6.1-liter ohv 16-valve V8
    Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 425 @ 6200
    Torque (lb.-ft. @ rpm): 420 @ 4800
    Transmission: 5-speed automatic
    EPA fuel economy, city/hwy: 13/19 mpg
    Wheelbase: 116.0 in.
    Length/width/height: 197.7/75.7/57.0 in.
    Track, f/r: 63.0/63.1 in.
    Turning circle: 37.5 ft.
    Seating capacity: 5
    Head/hip/leg room, f: 39.5/54.7/42.0 in.
    Head/hip/leg room, m: N/A
    Head/hip/leg room, r: 37.4/51.4/32.6 in.
    Cargo volume: 16.2 cu. ft.
    Payload: N/A
    Towing capacity: N/A
    Suspension, f: independent, coil springs, stabilizer bar
    Suspension, r: independent, coil springs, stabilizer bar
    Ground clearance: 5.5 in.
    Curb weight: 4140 lbs.
    Tires: P245/45R20 front, P255/45R20 rear
    Brakes, f/r: vented disc/vented disc, with ABS, EBD, Brake Assist
    Fuel capacity: 19.0 gal.