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The 2022 SEMA Show in Las Vegas this week was to be the release of the last of the “Last Call” Dodge Charger and Challenger. They’re the 2023 limited-edition sendoff models that close out the iconic nameplates’ run. In 2024 Dodge will replace them with an all-electric Charger Daytona SRT8 muscle car. But the reason for the postponement is a bit embarrassing.  

What is Dodge planning for the last of the last Charger and Challenger?

Dodge Challenger
Dodge Challenger smokey burnout | Stellantis

At a SEMA pre-event attended by The Detroit Bureau, Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis said the last of the Last Call special edition models is the most anticipated. That’s because Dodge has something special brewing. He called the last of the last a “history-making” Hellcat-powered Dodge. That means more power than the 808 hp 2018 Challenger SRT Demon, the most powerful American muscle car ever made. 

“But we ran into some problems,” Kuniskis said at the event. “To be more precise, the modified V8 has been blowing up when pushed to the limits in the Dodge test lab. We’re not talking about a minor breakdown. Apparently, the engines really have been blowing up.”

Should Hellcat racers be concerned about modifications?

The Dodge Challenger SRT Demon is one of the loudest cars of recent years.
2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon | Stellantis

We sort of like that the engines are so hot they explode. But we also wonder about those modified Hellcat engines floating around the U.S. Are they having similar results? Or is everyone running a Hellcat-powered Dodge at the local drags keeping them stock? 

So far, Dodge has released six of the seven Last Call Challengers and Chargers. They are the Dodge Challenger Shakedown, Dodge Charger Super Bee, Dodge Challenger, Charger Scat Pack Swinger, Dodge Charger King Daytona, and Dodge Challenger Black Ghost. They even provide an app to locate dealers with allocated Last Call models on their lots. Not all Dodge dealers will be getting them. The MSRP prices come in at just under $100,000 for each edition. 

What powers the last of the last Charger and Challenger?

Dodge Hellcat
Last Call Dodge Hellcat SRT engine | Stellantis

Back to the last Last Call Chargers and Challengers, the rumors about an absolute ultimate Hellcat for the last of the Dodges have been floating around for some time. Reportedly, it can run on E85 fuel, resulting in 909 hp. Yes, no typo, 909 hp. 

These are production cars with manufacturers’ warranties, so they must withstand established testing before selling them to the public. They must complete much more rigorous pounding than any aftermarket-modified engine. That explains why local racers are probably not experiencing the catastrophic failures that the folks in Auburn Hills are seeing. 

Is this “exploding engine” story really true?

Charger and Challenger
Last Call Dodge Charger and Challenger | Stellantis

“I think we’ve got it figured out — if we don’t blow up any more engines,” said Kuniskis. “We think we got it fixed, but I’m still holding my breath.” Some of this may be pure marketing, but it makes for a great story.

If we can believe Kuniskis, and we do, we might see this final Final Call version by Christmas. Dodge only has a set amount of time to complete its run of 2023 Challengers and Chargers. The Brampton, Ontario assembly plant where they’re built is slated to be shut down. It will then be repurposed to start EV production in 2023. 


2023 Dodge Challenger Shakedown: Last Call Starts With a Shaker