What began as a full-size, two-door sedan marketed and sold to prospective new car owners in the late 1950’s, the Dodge Silver Challenger (so named because of the chosen color – there were no other color options for the Challenger at the time) has reinvented itself through four generations, becoming a 2-door notchback coupe, muscle car, and a citizen of the world, when production moved from the U.S. (Los Angeles, California, and Hamtramck, Michigan) to Okazaki and Aichi, Japan, and Brampton, Ontario, Canada. Though it has changed hands over the years (from Chrysler Corp to Mitsubishi Motors to Fiat Chrysler Automobiles), the Dodge Challenger has kept its image as a competitor with both the Mustang and the Camaro.
Designed by the likes of Carl Cameron, Jeff Gate, and Brian Nielander, the Challenger started with the option of a “Getaway” L-head straight-six engine or the “Red Ram” V8, with a standard three-speed manual transmission (though automatic was an option). After the Mustang was relesased as the first ever “pony car” in the mid 1960’s, the Challenger was positioned to become “the most potent ponycar ever” and switched from competing with the Mustang to the more luxurious Mercury Cougar and the Pontiac Firebird.
Later, the Dodge Challenger turned into a muscle car, with an eight-speed ZF 8HP automatic transmission, 6.4 liter Apache V8 engine, and six-piston front Brembo brakes with two-piece 15.4 inch vented/slotted rotors. There are also two new variants on the Challenger, the SRT Hellcat and the SRT Demon. The Hellcat has a supercharged engine and 20-inch aluminum wheels, making it a devil to catch on the raceway. The other new variant, the SRT Demon, debuted at the New York Auto Show in April 2017. It has a 6.2 liter V8 engine and a 2.7 liter supercharger. This variant is street legal, but its unique tire from Nitto was built for the drag strip. This makes the Challenger SRT Demon the first production car to have such tires. It is slated to appear in 2018.
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