Why No Dodge Challenger, Charger Convertible? Blame Speed and Sales

Whether you want muscular style or genuine Hellcat muscle, the Dodge Challenger and Charger are here for you. And now that summer’s here, these muscle cars should have plenty of traction. But compared to the Mustang and Camaro, they can’t let in quite as much sunshine. That’s because, despite a not-insignificant amount of interest, Dodge doesn’t sell a Charger or Challenger convertible. However, while that seems like an oversight to some, it’s really because of muscle and money.

Dodge never made a Charger convertible, but there are classic Challenger convertibles

A blue 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T Convertible in a garage
1970 Dodge Challenger R/T Convertible | Stellantis

Although Dodge doesn’t make a Challenger convertible today, it did before. When the original Challenger launched for the 1970 model year, a convertible was available alongside the coupe. However, when the second-gen model, which was technically a re-badged Mitsubishi, arrived in 1978, the convertible was nowhere to be seen. Therefore, if you want a genuine Dodge Challenger convertible, you’ll have to go classic.

In contrast, Dodge never offered any Charger as a convertible from the factory. Well, no Charger that was badged as such, at least. See, the Charger shared a platform with several other muscle cars, including the Plymouth GTX, Road Runner, and Barracuda. And though rarer than the coupes, especially in Hemi form, all those cars were sold as convertibles. The Charger, though, remained fixed-roof only.

So, purely on a historical basis, Dodge doesn’t have much motivation to make a modern Charger or Challenger convertible. Furthermore, Hemi ‘Cuda convertibles are so valuable because they didn’t sell well. And the reasons why also apply to the current Challenger and Charger.

Even if the numbers made sense, the modern Challenger and Charger have too much muscle to get drop-tops

A yellow-with-black-stripes custom 2010 Dodge Challenger convertible in the SEMA 2009 parking lot
A custom 2010 Dodge Challenger convertible | ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images

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Now, Dodge could make the current Challenger and Charger into convertibles. Yes, their platform’s roots stretch back to the 1990s Mercedes-Benz E-Class. However, Mercedes has made E-Class convertibles. Furthermore, with enough chassis reinforcement, you could theoretically make almost any car into a convertible.

However, that takes time and money, which makes the convertible model more expensive. In addition, reinforcing a car’s structure enough to compensate for the lack of a roof adds weight, which ruins performance. That’s before you consider roof mechanisms, too. And even then, the finished product is rarely as rigid as the original.

These cons aren’t terrible for, say, a luxury sedan or crossover. But they’re anathema in a performance car, whether you’re talking about a sports car or a muscle car. Hence why Ford isn’t making a modern Shelby GT500 convertible. Nissan said something similar about the 2023 Z. And with how much power the Hellcat models bring, Dodge can’t afford to compromise the Challenger’s or Charger’s structural rigidity with convertibles. However, that’s not Dodge’s only reason.

Remember the Hemi ‘Cuda convertible I mentioned earlier? These cars are rare for the same reasons we’ve been discussing. Reinforcing the chassis made it heavier, thus slower, and even worse in the corners. And the cost of those reinforcements made it more expensive than the ‘Cuda coupe, so sales were poor.

That’s ultimately why Dodge has no plans to make modern Challenger or Charger convertibles: there’s no business case, Motor1 explains. The potential sales figures wouldn’t justify spending the money to engineer them. And Dodge doesn’t just have economics on its side here—it has history, too. Know how the classic Challenger was available as a convertible? It sold so poorly that Dodge canceled it after just two years.

How much does a custom 2022 Dodge Challenger or Charger convertible cost?

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With Dodge about to go all-in on electric muscle, there’s even less incentive for it to make the current-gen Challenger and Charger into convertibles. And given everything I just mentioned, it’s unlikely their next-gen replacements will offer drop-top options, either. But where the factory won’t step up, the aftermarket takes over.

If you have the cash, there are several shops that can turn your current-gen Dodge Charger or Challenger into a convertible. One of the most prominent is Droptop Customs, which made Shaquille O’Neal’s 2016 Challenger RT convertible and just finished a Dodge Demon drop-top. But these conversions don’t come cheap. That Demon convertible? It’s currently listed at $139,000.

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