Dodge Challenger: History of Horsepower

Everyone has seen Dodge’s premier two-door muscle car storming down a drag strip or sliding around corners. However, the Dodge Challenger has a history beyond the new high-horsepower tire annihilators. Here’s a little background on one of the most sinister muscle cars in history. 

When was the Challenger first sold?

Dodge first revealed the storied Challenger in 1969 but released it to the public for the 1970 model year. The car was an instant classic, featuring Chrysler’s E-body platform. Specifically, the car was a short rear deck, long front end, and two-door muscle coupe (and convertible) with a classically wide stance. The Dodge muscle car was two inches longer than its sibling, the Plymouth Barracuda, and every bit as angry-looking. 

The Dodge Challenger is a wild muscle car with history.
A spoiler with the T/A logo | Simon Clay, Getty Images

The first cars were available as an SE, an R/T, and a T/A variant, with nine engine options. While the smallest option was an anemic 225 cubic-inch six-cylinder, Dodge offered the car with a 426 HEMI V8 and a 440 V8. In addition to big-block V8 muscle, it offered manual transmissions and even a limited-slip differential to channel the power.

When did Dodge stop making the first generation Challenger? 

Dodge produced the muscle car until 1974 when the oil crisis was in full swing. Unfortunately for Mopar fans, the Challenger didn’t survive the event, and Dodge discontinued the icon. Dodge sold around 170,000 first-generation cars during its production. However, the hiatus would be short-lived. 

The Dodge Challenger is a muscle car with a pretty cool history.
A 1970 Dodge Challenger T/A | Simon Clay, Getty Images

When did Dodge make a second generation?

The Challenger returned in 1978 after years of slumber. However, it arguably should’ve stayed asleep. The muscle car’s return involved an imported and rebadged Mitsubishi platform packing sad engines like a 105 horsepower 2.6L HEMI. Stellantis says that Dodge produced the second-generation vehicle until 1984. 

When did the Dodge come back?

Dodge brought the Challenger back out of the history books in 2006 with a concept that excited every gearhead in America. That concept paved the way for the 2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8, which packed a 6.1L HEMI V8 producing 425 horsepower, according to Car and Driver. The Challenger was back and here to play. In 2011, Dodge first stuffed the monstrous 6.4L V8 engine into the car, but they still weren’t done. 

Dodge updated the car in 2015 and created the look that modern Mopar fans love so much. The refresh was a game-changer with 70s-inspired tail lights and a library of new engines. Also, the muscle car received LED front lamps and an updated interior. 

However, the most exciting changes were in the horsepower department. The Dodge endowed the coupes with a new supercharged 6.2L V8 engine making a certifiably insane 707 horsepower, codenamed Hellcat. Since the Hellcat’s launch in 2015, Dodge has been pushing the envelope with cars like the Demon, Redeye, and Super Stock, all built on the beloved Challenger platform.    

Will Dodge stop making the Challenger?

Unfortunately, Dodge has announced that it will be discontinuing Challenger and Charger after 2023. However, the company also announced that it would be producing electric muscle cars soon. Will the muscle cars return in an electrified state?

Scroll down to the following article to read more about the Challenger.  

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