Challenger Blogger

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Five Years Ago

This article is from the New York Times almost exactly 5 years ago. What was happening around the country and the world 5 years ago? Think about it, it’s not that long ago—yet so much has happened. The crisis in Darfur had reached critical levels; Saddam Hussein was captured, sentenced and publicly executed by hanging in Iraq; the Godfather of Soul—James Brown dies at age 73; Pittsburgh trumps Seattle in the Superbowl and Miami beats Dallas in the NBA Finals; and Dodge joins the vintage revolution of American cars rebirthing 60’s and 70’s iconic cars. Dodge set its sights on 2008 and the release of the Challenger. They had shown a preproduction model in Chicago in January and were excited at the overwhelming response to the announcement of the new Challenger. The recession wasn’t a reference to modern day, but a memory of the gas crisis of the late 70’s, and today 5 years ago the economy was booming. Gas was dipping back down after a price surge in the last half of 2005 and the devastation brought by Katrina. It was beginning to arrive back around the 2 dollar mark for most of the country and the economy were still on the up and up seemingly to never end. Obviously this was not to be, but regardless this is still an interesting article to read about from the inception of the new Challenger.


Dodge Challenger Gets a Green Light

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Published: July 2, 2006

Dodge will join the rush to take advantage of a booming market in new and vintage muscle cars by offering a revival of its street-racing Challenger for 2008.

The Chrysler Group plans to announce the Challenger’s comeback at the Pepsi 400 NASCAR race today in Daytona Beach, Fla. A design study for the car, styled as a pure homage to the original of 1970-74, was unveiled in January at the Detroit auto show.

“We haven’t seen this kind of spontaneous, passionate response to a car since we unveiled the Dodge Viper concept in 1989,” said Tom LaSorda, the Chrysler Group’s president and chief executive. The original Challenger was a rival to pony cars like the Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro, and a close cousin to the Plymouth Barracuda. Its optional 426-cubic-inch Hemi V-8 made Chrysler’s Mopar models among the most fearsome drag racers of the era.

Like the Dodge Charger, the Challenger will share its platform with the large Chrysler 300. Unlike the Charger, which purists criticized for its practical sedan layout, the Challenger satisfies demands for a two-door muscle car. It will offer the modernized Hemi engine that has been a hit in several Chrysler products.

Three plants will vie to produce the car: St. Louis; Brampton, Ontario; and Saltillo, Mexico.

The Challenger’s go-ahead, following the success of retro-muscle cars like the Mustang, puts more pressure on General Motors to move quickly to revive its Camaro. While G.M. says it is only considering a reborn Camaro, it is expected to build a showroom version of the concept car that it also showed in Detroit, but not before 2009.


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