2008-2009 Dodge Challenger SRT8: Return of the Mopar Legend (Specs Included)

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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.

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