Some portion of muscle car enthusiasts were upset that the sixth generation Dodge Charger lacked a manual transmission. This non-H behavioral pattern has stuck ever since that fateful day in 2006. Even today the charger is only offered with an automatic. Now more than ever it makes sense, seeing as how the market for manual cars is ever-shrinking.
Rather than chalk it up to the gift of foresight, the actual reason the Charger doesn’t come with a manual is much darker and uglier. Fear not, because now there is a glimmer of hope. With a donor Challenger, and a lot of money, a sixth and even seventh generation Dodge Charger can be manual-swapped.
Why doesn’t the Dodge Charger come with a manual transmission?
Dodge didn’t offer the Charger with a manual transmission, most likely because it simply wouldn’t sell. That’s only part of the story, and an effect of the real reason. In 2006 the car was crash tested and approved with a floor pan designed for only two pedals. 2008 saw Dodge design a new floor pan to accommodate three pedals.
In order to incorporate this floor pan, the Charger would need to be redesigned, which is an expensive proposition. That may have been when the conversation of “well, it won’t sell anyway” may have taken place. From then on, the manual Charger was no more.
Regardless, the Challenger got the new three pedal floor pan design, which is why the big coupe comes with a manual, and the big sedan does not. All of this was outlined in Jalopnik’s own Opposite-lock forum, by user Doodon2whls back in 2014.
So, is it possible to manual-swap a Dodge Charger?
Just to avoid any suspense, yes it is possible to manual swap a Charger. It’s a lot of work, it’s very expensive, and it might not be worth it, but that’s the answer. In fact, there’s more support for this project than might be expected. Some shops have done it a few times to older Chargers, from the 2006-2010 era. It’s bogged down by a few hiccups.
The wiring harness requires a rebuild, depending on the year. Also, the Charger’s transmission tunnel is too small for the Challenger’s TR-6060. A custom shop called Cleveland Power and Performance successfully swapped the auto for the Challenger’s manual transmission in a 2010 Charger SRT-8.
From this build, Cleveland cut out the Challenger’s tranny tunnel and welded it into the Charger. This build is expensive enough, so it would be a good idea to buy a donor Challenger with a manual transmission. It will have everything you need for the swap.
Is it worth it?
The most important thing for this swap to work is a staunch commitment to, and an unwavering love for, the Charger. If that doesn’t exist, the swap is probably not worth it, and the manual Challenger is probably a smarter buy.