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The Web's Only Independent News Site Devoted To The New Dodge Challenger

Barrett-Jackson to Sell First Production '08 Challenger SRT8

Scottsdale, AZ - The 2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8 has a MSRP of $37,995. With only 10,000 scheduled to be built in '08 and Dodge dealers having already taken over 9000 orders, it's expected that more than a couple of dealers will add some profit on to the MSRP. After all, the Challenger is one of the most iconic of muscle cars with original HEMI powered versions from the late 1960s or early 1970s fetching truly ridiculous prices at auctions, and 'clones' selling for six figures. Why shouldn't the dealers try to make a few bucks on a high demand car?

Using that logic, and figuring that one particular Challenger will be in even greater demand, Chrysler has decided to help make a few bucks for a worthy charity by donating the very first production 2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8 to be auctioned off at the Barrett-Jackson auction Jan. 19 in Scottsdale. The sale of the first '08 Challenger will benefit Not My Kid, Inc. a not-for-profit organization dedicated to serving the interests of youth and families who are at-risk for drug abuse, delinquency, early school withdrawal, and other behavioral problems.

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Announcing Chrysler's participation, along with Ford's donation of a one-of-a-kind 540HP '08 Shelby GT500KR to benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Craig Jackson, a noted muscle car enthusiast, was almost giddy. "Two of the most sought after vehicles from America's unforgettable muscle car era are back and available only at Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale," said  Jackson, chairman and CEO of the Barrett-Jackson Auction Company. "Thanks to our partners at Ford and Chrysler, we'll give the KR and the Challenger the ultimate welcome back party and raise money for two worthy charities."

Chrysler Uses New Challenger Super Stock Concept to Launch Crate 392 HEMI

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LAS VEGAS - 2007 will be the 50th anniversary of the legendary 392 HEMI, introduced for the 1957 model year Chryslers and Imperials. With larger valves and ports, a beefier block and crankshaft, and improved bearings,  the 392 HEMI, often referred to simply as the “92,” was perfect for drag racing.

More than a few racers bolted on six or eight carburetors, slipped in a hotter cam, tipped some nitro into the tank and went racing. Racing legend Don Garlits ran a 392 in his Swamp Rat I at record speeds of over 180 mph on nitro with no supercharger. Garlits also used a 392 HEMI to officially break the 200-mph barrier when his Swamp Rat went 201.34 mph at Atco, N.J. in 1964.

To commemorate the legacy of the 392, and promote a new family of 392 crate engines, Chrysler Group and Mopar decided to make a Super Stock version of the new Challenger Concept. The car appears to be a later prototype than the NAIAS car, and features the legendary Sox & Martin drag racers red white and blue paint scheme. The crate engine is available in three different versions up to 540 HP.

Some of the bits on the show car look closer to production, including the fog lamps and taillight bar. The lower front bumper is a bit more prominent, perhaps for collision testing purposes.

The choice was logical, and it keeps interest alive while the production version of the Challenger is prepared. For all the interest in the Challenger it needs to be remembered that it was only available for 5 model years and less than 200,000 total were sold. Compare that to the Camaro that sold almost 5 million units. Without as large a base of fans, Dodge almost has to come up with new iterations of the Challenger concept to keep interest on full boil until the production version appears in dealer showrooms.

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The all-new Dodge Challenger will debut as a 2008 model and be on sale by the end of 2007.

Over 9000 Orders Booked for New Challenger in First Month

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Auburn Hills, Michgian - Chrysler, which started taking orders for the 2008 Dodge Challenger on December 3, announced that it has taken more than 9000 orders in the first month of sales. With an anticipated '08 build of less than 10,000 units, it was expected that Chrysler would announce an order cutoff in late December, but Chrysler dealers are continuing to take orders, as the company calculates exactly how many Challengers it can fit into the crowded production schedule at the Brampton, Ontario plant. All Chrysler RWD passenger cars for North America are assembled at Brampton. Earlier press reports anticipated eventual Challenger production at Brampton reaching 30,000 units, but  Chrysler is going to ramp up production slowly to keep quality up. The Challenger is the first model built on the new LY platform, successor to the LX used in the successful Chrysler 300 sedan.

While full scale production is scheduled to begin in April, work is undoubtedly progressing at Brampton, with the #1 production 2008 Challenger SRT8 set to be auctioned for charity on January19 at the Barrett-Jackson auction in Scottsdale, Arizona. The public will get its first glimpse of the production version at the 2008 Chicago Auto Show at McCormick Place in February.

The exterior of the production 2008/2009 Dodge Challenger will be identical to the concept version, according to Chrysler VP and lead designer Tom Tremont, "You're not going to be able to tell the difference." While Tremont's comments likely relate to the exterior of the car, the interior will also get a lot of attention. "We knew if we screwed this up, we would lose a lot of fans," said Alan Barrington, who designed the concept's interior.

Production Challenger to Premiere @ '08 Chicago Auto Show

Chicago, IL - In a move that surely warmed the hearts of the organizers of the Chicago Auto Show, ever eager to persuade journalists to come to the windy city in bitter cold February, Chrysler executives announced that the 2008 Chicago show will be the venue for the world premiere of the production Dodge Challenger. A countdown clock showing the time till 11:00 AM on Feb. 6, 2008 was displayed at the '07 Chicago show and has been on the Chrysler web site since then.

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“The 2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8 offers pure American pony-car muscle,” said Jim Press, vice chairman & president – Chrysler
LLC. “With styling that stays true to Challenger’s original heritage, an abundance of modern amenities and cutting-edge technology, the Challenger SRT8 will deliver the SRT credo of benchmark performance at a tremendous value. The Challenger SRT8 is only the beginning of the story, as we’ll soon follow with a complete lineup of Challenger models that will offer a wide array of features and deliver outstanding value for our customers,” Press added.

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Click for Countdown Clock

'08 Challenger Build Begins @ Brampton - Hints of Convertible to Come

Brampton, ONT - Production on the revived Dodge Challenger will begin in late March or early April at Chrysler's Brampton plant. The exterior of the car is little changed from the concept, first shown in 2006, but the interior has undergone some revisions including an iPod dock. Of particular note is that though the Challenger is a hardtop, the front seat belts mount to the B pillar as they would on a convertible, giving some credence to rumors of a soft top Challenger (or 'Cuda) down the road.

The first models produced will be the 6.1L HEMI powered SRT8 versions, priced (before the gas guzzler tax) at $37,995 including destination charges. At first black, silver and orange will be the only available exterior colors. The SRT8 will be offered with either a 5 speed automatic or 6 speed manual gearbox, as will be the R/T models that come equipped with the 5.7L HEMI. Six cylinder models will come with a four speed auto. All 2008 models will be the 6.1L SRT8 version. Starting in July 2008, the R/T and SXT models will start rolling off the line. The anticipated convertible will appear in early '09. Eventually the 4.0L Phoenix engine will replace the 3.5 and variable cam timing versions of the HEMIs will boost power - up to close to 500HP on a 6.4L High Output version if the new fuel economy rules out of Washington don't kill it.

Will There Be A Challenger Convertible Too?

Rumors and computer simultions have swirled about a possible softtop version of the revived Dodge Challenger. Hints and clues might be seen on the Challenger Super Stock concept displayed at the  SEMA show.

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The top appeared to have some last minute modifications, with a non functional pillar between the two side glass panels. Reportedly there are a number of prototypes being tested, so the project is pretty far along. Speculation is that production on the coupe will start in February of 2008.

Sources say that Chrysler is trying to decide on which strategy to follow: a high-price, low-volume run, or a high-volume, lower-price run. Also undecided is if there will be a V6 engine option. The stock Challenger will come with the 5.7 Hemi with an SRT8 version equipped with the 6.1 liter version of the Hemi. There are speculative rumors about a supposed 6.6 liter Hemi or a 6.4 putting out 500+ HP, but that may be as mythical as the 700 HP Code Blue Corvette.

The first year production might be on the order of 50,000 units of the 'stock' 5.7 Hemi Challenger with smaller runs for the SRT8 cars.

Though Trevor Creed, head of Chrysler design told Dodge Challenger news that the LX platform could easily be used, with just 4" of unused space removed from the unit body, it is reported that the second generation LX platform, the LY platform, will be used for the Challenger and will be shared with the next generation E, CLS and R classe Mercedes Benz cars. The concept car has a 116 inch wheelbase, while the other LXs use a 120 inch wheelbase.

The Challenger concept is a genuine four-passenger car. Compared to the original, the greenhouse is longer, the windshield and backlite faster, and the side glass narrower. All glass is set flush with the body without moldings, another touch, along with flush bumpers, that the original designers could only wish for.

The production Challenger will keep the LX’s multilink rear suspension. If the Challenger sells well, and production is flawless - or rapidly fixed - so that the Challenger, Charger, and 300C were all running nicely on the same assembly line (which is the current plan), then later years might see a V6 model - probably the 3.5 with the six-speed automatic to keep speeds up.

Chrysler reportedly has much more control over the engineering with the LY than they did with the LX, and the tuning and interior design may be different. Just as the original rode on a shortened B-body platform (with some A-body elements, called the E-body platform), the new Challenger will ride on a shortened LX platform - with two doors.

The Dodge people have apparently talked about the two-door design as a "flexibility test" for the platform, which sounds interesting coming from the company that produced coupes, luxury cars, economy cars, and minivans from a single basic platform K-Car. The real flexibility comes in their ability to build the Challenger on the same assembly line, at the same time, as the other LY models — which would be a major advance, since the body is very different. It’s also possible that the entire LY platform will be on a slightly shorter wheelbase - in which case the LY would not be shortened, and would be cheaper to engineer and produce.

But realities of the LY platform, the hard points, force the designer to create innovative solutions while still being recognized as its namesake. While the wheelbase is six inches longer, the hood is actually shorter. But the illusion is created by moving the windshield's center forward and losing the front overhang where the original hood had a drop off. In addition, the classic bullet mirrors are moved rearward compared to today's A-pillar mountings, adding even more visual length to the front end. Just like the old days.

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