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History and Some technical Specifications on:

Dodge Challenger

Some History on the term "Dodge Challenger"

Dodge Challenger is the name of three different automobile models marketed by the Dodge division of the Chrysler Corporation since the 1970s.

First generation (1970-1974)

1974 Dodge ChallengerThe first Challenger was the division's late entrant to the pony car market segment in the United States, launched for the 1970 model year. It was based on the similar Plymouth Barracuda's new E-body, though the wheelbase, at 110" was two inches longer and had substanitally different outer sheetmetal than its Plymouth cousin. Exterior design was done by Carl "CAM'" Cameron, whom also did the exterior for the 1966 Dodge Charger. For the 1970 Challenger grille, CAM' based it off of an older sketch of his of a 1966 Charger prototype that was designed to have a turbine engine. The Charger never got the turbine, but the Challenger got that car's grille. Although the Challenger was well-received by the public (with 80,000 sales in 1970 alone), it was criticized by the press, and the pony car segment was already declining by the time the Challenger arrived. Challenger production ceased after the 1974 model year, only having lasted five years; performance dropped off dramatically after the 1971 models. About 165,500 Challengers were sold over this model's lifespan.

First model

1973 Dodge Challenger Rallye
Production 1970-1974
Class Pony car
Body style 2-door convertible
2-door coupe
Platform FR E-body
Engine 198 in³ Slant 6 225 in³ Slant 6 I6
318 in³ LA V8
340 in³ LA V8
360 in³ LA V8
383 in³ B V8
426 in³ Hemi V8
440 in³ RB V8
Transmission 4-speed manual
3-speed TorqueFlite automatic
Related Plymouth Barracuda
Similar Ford Mustang
Chevrolet Camaro
Designer Carl Cameron

Three models were offered: Challenger Six, Challenger V-8 and Challenger R/T. Challengers could either be hardtops, coupes, or convertibles (through 1971 only). The standard engine on the base model was the 225ci. six-cylinder. Standard engine on the V-8 was the 230 hp 318ci 2 barrel (2v) carburetor. Optional engines were the 340ci, 383ci, 2v and 4v, all with a 3 speed manual transmission, except for the 290hp 383ci 2v, which was available only in the torqueflight automatic transmission. The 4 speed manual was optional on all engines except the 225ci six cyl and 383 ci 2v V-8.

The performance model was the R/T (Road/Track), with a 335 hp 383ci Magnum. Standard transmission was a 3 speed manual. Optional R/T engines were the 375 hp 440ci Magnum, the 390hp 440ci Six-pack (3x2v) and the 425 hp 426 Hemi. available in both body styles; both standard and R/T hardtops could be ordered as the more luxurious SE specification, which included leather seats, a vinyl roof, a smaller 'formal' rear window, and an overhead interior cosole that contained three warning lights (door ajar, low fuel and seatbelts). The R/T Challengers came with a Rallye instrument cluster which included a 150 mph speedometer, an 8000 rpm tachometer and an oil pressure gauge. The convertible Challenger was available with any powerplant except for the 340-6, as well as in the R/T and SE trim levels. In 1972, Dodge dropped the R/T badging and now called it the "Rallye". Other options, as well as engines and a manual transmission, included steeper rear axle ratios, a limited-slip differential, and a shaker hood scoop were gone for 1972.

A 1970-only model was the Dodge Challenger T/A (Trans Am) racing homologation car, which used a specially tuned 290 hp Six-Pack version of the 340 in³ (5.6 L) engine, topped with a giant hood scoop on a fiberglass hood. 'Megaphone' exhaust outlets were fitted in front of the rear wheels. These cars came standard with front and rear sway bars to enhance handling. Different-sized tires were fitted front and back, with very fat rubber (G60-15) on the rear and power font disc brakes. The T/A came standard with a rear ducktail spoiler and could be fitted with a front spoiler as well.

The "Western Special" was version available to west coast dealers. It came with a rear-exit exhaust system and Western Special identification on the rear deck lid. Some examples came with a vacuum operated trunk release. Another late production version was the Challenger "Deputy".

By 1972, all big-block engines were gone, maximum power was down to 240 hp, and production ceased in mid-1974. For obvious reasons, the 440 and the 426 Hemi engines were considered the most desirable, and nowadays command sizeable premiums over the smaller engines.

Although the body style remained the same throughout the 5 year run, there were two notable changes to the front grille. 1971 models had a more stylized "split" grille, and the final manipulation coming in 1972, with the incorporation of the "sad-mouth" design. With this change to the front end, 1972 through 1974 models had little to no variation. The only way to properly distinguish said models is by the front and rear "bumperettes" which exponentially increased in size during each consecutive year. These changes were made to meet US regulations regarding crash test safety.

The 1970 taillights went all the way across the back of the car, with the backup light in the middle of the rear. In 1971, the backup lights were on the left and right instead of the middle. The taillight array also changed for 1972 onwards, with the Challenger now having four individual lamps similar to the mid-size Mercurys of the time.

Collector's value
As the Chrysler E-body line reaches legendary proportions, so too do the prices to buy them. 1970 and 1971 models tend to generate more attention from potential (and usually deep pocketed) buyers, as the performance and style options had not yet been toned down. However, with the popularity of these vehicles on the increase, coupled with the number of useable and restorable Challengers being on the decrease, many collectors have begun looking towards the later models to create their own customizable dream machines. Indeed, many "clones" of the more visceral 1970 and 1971 Challengers have been created by using 1972 through 1974 donors; The front and rear grilles/bumpers on these vehicles are easily interchangeable. However, the tail panel is not so easy to change, since the 1970 and 1971 tail panels are quite different from the 1972 to 1974 models. Today they are considered one of the most sought-after muscle cars of all time. The rarity of specific models and combinations today is primarily the result of low buyer interest and production at the time.

Engine choices included the following:

B-198 in³ (3.2 L) Slant 6: A93 Challenger Deputy (101 bhp) 1970-1971
C-225 in³ (3.7 L) Slant 6: (145 bhp)1970-1972
G-318 in³ (5.2 L) LA V8: (230 bhp) 1970-1974
J-340 in³ (5.6 L) LA V8: (290 bhp) 1970 *T/A
H-340 in³ (5.6 L) LA V8: (275 bhp) 1970-1973
J-360 in³ (5.9 L) LA V8: (245 bhp) 1974
L-383 in³ (6.3 L) B V8: (290 bhp and 330 bhp) 1970-1971
N-383 in³ (6.3 L) B V8: (335 bhp) 1970-1971
U-440 in³ (7.2 L) RB V8: Available in Magnum 4-barrel carbureted form (375 bhp) 1970-1971
V-440 in³ (7.2 L) RB V8 Six-Pack (3 × 2-barrel carburetors and 390 bhp/490 ft.lbf) 1970
R-426 in³ (7.0 L) Hemi V8: (425 bhp) (317 kW)/490 ft.lbf, costing an extra US$1,228, and very few sold. 1970-1971.

340 : 14.8 @ 96mph
340 T/A : 14.4 @ 97mph
383 : 15.1 @ 93mph
440 Magnum R/T : 13.9 @ 101mph
440 Six-Pack : 13.8 @ 104mph
426 Hemi : 13.6 @ 105mph

Serial numbers
ex. JS27R0B100001

J - Car line, Dodge Challenger
S - Price class (H-High, S-Special)
27 - Body type (23-Hardtop, 27-Convertible, 29-Sports hartop)
R - Engine code (see engines above)
0 - Last digit of model year
B - Assembly plant code (B-Hamtramck E-Los Angeles)
100001 - Consecutive sequence number

1970 Model Year = 76,935 *includes 2,399 T/A's
Hardtop 6 cyl. 9,929
Hardtop 8 cyl. 39,350*
Sports hardtop 6 cyl. 350
Sports hardtop 8 cyl. 5,873
Convertible 6 cyl. 378
Convertible 8 cyl. 2,543
Hardtop R/T 13,796
Sports hardtop R/T 3,753
Convertible R/T 963
1971 Model Year = 26,299
Hardtop 6 cyl. 1,672
Hardtop 8 cyl. 18,956
Convertible 6 cyl. 83
Convertible 8 cyl. 1,774
Hardtop 8 cyl. R/T 3,814
1972 Model Year = 22,919
Hardtop 6 cyl. 842
Hardtop 8 cyl. 15,175
Hardtop 8 cyl "Rallye" 6,902 1973 Model Year
Hardtop 8 cyl. 27,930
1974 Model Year
Hardtop 8 cyl. 11,354

Light Gold Metallic-FY4, Plum Crazy (purple)-FC7, Sublime (green)-FJ5, Go-Mango(orange)-EK2, Hemi Orange-EV2, Banana (yellow)-FY1

Light Gunmetal Metallic-GA4, Light Blue Metallic-GB2, Bright Blue Metallic-GB5, Dark Blue Metallic-GB7, Dark Green Metallic-GF7, Light Green Metallic-GF3, Gold Metallic-GY8, Dark Gold Metallic-GY9, Dark Bronze Metallic-GK6, Tan Metallic-GT5, Bright Red-FE5, Bright White-GW3, Black-TX9, Butterscotch-EL5, Citron Yella-GY3, Hemi Orange-EV2, Green Go-FJ6, Plum Crazy-FC7, Top Banana-FY1

Light Blue-HB1, Bright Blue Metallic-HB5, Bright Red-FE5, Light Green Metallic-GF3, Dark Green Metalic-GF7, Eggshell White-GW1, Black-TX9, Light Gold-GY5, Gold Metallic-GY8, Dark Gold Metallic-GY9, Dark Tan Metallic-GT8, Light Gunmetal Metallic-GA4, Medium Tan Metallic-GA4, Super Blue-GB3, Hemi Orange-EV2, Top Banana-FY1

Black-TX9, Dark Silver Metallic-JA5, Eggshell White-EW1, Parchment-HL4, Light Gold-JY3, Dark Gold Metallic-JY9, Gold Metallic-JY6, Bronze Metallic-GK6, Pale Green-JF1, Dark Green Metallic-JF8, Light Blue-HB1, Super Blue-TB3, Bright Blue Metallic-GB5, Bright Red-FE5, Top Banana-FY1, Light Green Metallic-GF3

Yellow Blaze-KY5, Golden Fawn-KY4, Parchment-HL4, Bright Red-FE5, Eggshell White-EW1, Black-TX9

Second generation (1978-1983)
Second model
Production 1978-1983
Class Sports car
Body style 2-door coupe
Engine 1.6 L 4G32 I4
2.6 L 4G54 I4
Related Mitsubishi Galant Lambda
Plymouth Sapporo
See Mitsubishi Galant Lambda for more information
The Challenger name was revived in 1978 for a version of the early Mitsubishi Galant Lambda coupe, known overseas as the Mitsubishi Sapporo and sold through Dodge dealers as a captive import, identical except in color and minor trim to the Plymouth Sapporo. Although mechanically identical, the Dodge version emphasized sportiness, with bright colors and tape stripes, and the Plymouth on luxury with more subdued trim. Both cars were sold until 1983, until being replaced by the Conquest and Daytona.

The car retained the frameless hardtop styling of the old Challenger, but had only a four-cylinder engine and was a long way in performance from its namesake. Nevertheless, it acquired a reputation as a reasonably brisk performer of its type, not least because of its available 2.6 L engine, exceptionally large for a four-cylinder. Four-cylinder engines of this size had not usually been built due to inherent vibration, but Mitsubishi pioneered the use of balance shafts to help damp this out, and the Challenger was one of the first vehicles to bring this technology to the American market; it has since been licensed to many other manufacturers.

Third generation (2008-)
This article contains information about a scheduled or anticipated future automobile.
It may contain preliminary or speculative information, and may not reflect the final version of the vehicle.
Third model Production 2008-
Class Pony car
Body style 2-door hardtop
Platform FR LC
Length 197.6"
Related Dodge Charger
Chrysler 300
Dodge Magnum
Similar Ford Mustang

Challenger concept at the 2006 Orange County Auto ShowA new "retro" Dodge Challenger concept car was shown at the 2006 North American International Auto Show. The concept uses a shortened LX platform, has the 6.1 L Hemi V8 coupled to a manual transmission, and borrows many styling cues from the original 1970 model. On July 1, 2006, prior to the Pepsi 400 at the Daytona International Speedway, Dodge announced that this concept would, in fact, be made for the 2008 model year.[1] It will be built on the Chrysler LC platform, which is the shortend version of the Chrysler LX platform in 2008, similar to the concepts platform. The rear-wheel drive performance coupe will be a direct competitor to the hugely-successful Ford Mustang, as well as to the potential future Chevrolet Camaro and Pontiac GTO muscle cars. The Challenger will be made in limited numbers on the same line as the Dodge Charger, Chrysler 300, and Dodge Magnum, as the same flexible manufacturing system that allows the Jeep Commander and Jeep Grand Cherokee to be built on the same line, as well as the Dodge Caliber, Jeep Compass, and Jeep Patriot, one after the other (instead of in batches). The SRT-8 Challenger will feature the 6.1 L Hemi V8 as standard equipment. Both manual and automatic transmissions will be offered. There will be no other model for 2008, others may be added in 2009.

Unlike all other U.S. domestic sport coupes, the new Challenger is a true two-door hardtop, with no "B" pillar.

Dodge Challenger

Manufacturer Chrysler Corporation
Mitsubishi Motors

Production 1970-1974
Successor Dodge Conquest (for 1984)
Dodge Daytona (for 1984)
Similar Plymouth Barracuda
Ford Mustang
Chevrolet Camaro

Popular culture (Film appearances)
Vanishing Point (1971) : 1970 Challenger R/T - IMDB
Gone in 60 Seconds (1974) : 1973 Dodge Challenger (fictitious R/T w/bumblebee stripe, both unavailable since 1970) - IMDB
Natural Born Killers (1994) : 1970 Challenger R/T convertible - IMDB
Terminal Velocity (1994) : 1970 Challenger R/T - IMDB
Drive (1997) : 1970 Challenger - IMDB
Vanishing Point Remake (1997) : 1970 Challenger R/T - IMDB
2 Fast 2 Furious (2003) : 1970 Challenger R/T - IMDB
Just Married (2003) : 1970 Challenger - IMDB
Viper (1996) : 1972 Challenger - IMDB

TV appearances
Mannix (1973) : 1973 Dodge Challenger Rallye [2]
american dreams(1990s)1970 Dodge Challenger R/T

Music videos
Audioslave - "Show Me How To Live" : 1970 Challenger R/T
Iron Maiden - "The Wicker Man" : 1970 Challenger R/T

Video game appearances
Need For Speed: Carbon (2006) : 2008 Challenger and 1971 Challenger
Gran Turismo HD (2006) : 1971 Dodge Challenger and 2008 Dodge Challenger
Forza Motorsport (2005) : 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T Hemi 1970

Book appearances
Needful Things (1991) : 70's Challenger. A souped-up, lime-green Dodge Challenger from the 70's era appears as the car driven by notorious hood John "Ace" Merrill.

See also
Dodge Charger
Plymouth Barracuda - Chrysler's other pony car
Ford Mustang, Mercury Cougar, Chevrolet Camaro, Pontiac Firebird - the competition
List of Dodge automobiles

Likely Challenger. AutoWeek. Retrieved on June 13, 2005.

Additonal Resources

Jada BIGTIME Muscle Cars
Diecast American Muscle Cars
Understanding Scale

1:18 Scale
Diecast Directory
Muscle Cars


This page was last modified 4 January 2007.
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