“Then and Now” will be a short series comparing vehicles that have either come back into production in the past few years or that have continued to be core products for a long period of time. For the first blog entry of this series, I will be taking a look at the Dodge Challenger, one of the original Dodge muscle cars that has been reinvented for modern drivers.
In 1970, the Dodge Challenger was introduced and intended to compete against many of the pony cars out there, specifically the Ford Mustang and the Chevy Camaro. The Challengers were known for their wide variety of trim levels and options. The performance oriented Callenger R/T (Road and Track) came with a 383 (roughly 6.25 liters) V8 that put out around 335 horsepower. Optional however, was the 425 horsepower 426 (7 liters) Hemi V8 that made the standard engine look puny. The 426 could do the quarter mile in just around 13.2 seconds at 108mph. Remember, that’s an engine that was offered straight from the factory… pretty impressive if you ask me.
In 2008, Dodge decided to reintroduce the Challenger as a modern muscle car with all of the comforts and technology that modern drivers have come to expect. Again, the Challenger seems to have been in response to the Mustang and the Camaro which had both undergone “retro” makeovers. This modern two-door coupe is very similar in design to the original Challenger even though its dimensions are larger all around. For the 2008 model year and the reintroduction of the Challenger, all models were SRT8 trim meaning that they were performance oriented only. Later on, base models of the challenger were introduced along with multiple trim levels. These Challenger SRT8s came with a 6.1 Liter (370 cu. in.) Hemi V8 putting down 425 horsepower and capable of running a quarter mile in 13.3 seconds and 0 – 60 in 4.8. If you’ll notice, the modern Challenger has about 1 Liter less engine but is almost exactly the same in terms of horsepower and acceleration times. This is all due to some impressive modern technology that makes the new Challenger just as comfortable to drive as it is a beast!