After a 22-year hiatus, the Dodge Challenger roared back onto the American car scene in January 2006 at the North American International Auto Show. The Challenger Concept was the smash hit of the show in Detroit that year, winning both the Peoples Choice and Best of Show awards.
In response to the tremendous demand from consumers, including 40,000 hand-raisers who answered a web survey, the Challenger was quickly green-lighted for production. While Michael Castiglione of Chrysler’s Pacifica Studio had designed the original concept, with Allen Barrington performing the dash and interior, the transformation to volume production car was accomplished by Brian Nielander and Chrysler Design Manager Jeff Gale, son of famed Chrysler designer Tom Gale.
In December of 2007, Dodge began taking orders for the 2008 Challenger, selling out the entire years model run before production began. Just over 7000 specially badged Challengers were built that model year, all SRT8 models with 6.1L HEMI V8s and five-speed AutoStick transmissions. For 2009 a full model lineup was offered with an entire range of powertrain and trim options.
With steady equipment upgrades and technical improvements, this third-gen Challenger, as it became known among enthusiasts, is the same basic Challenger that is offered today. The top of the line for 2013 is the SRT8 392, featuring a 6.4L HEMI V8 with 470 hp, or economy-minded buyers can opt for the 3.5L V6 that offers 27 highway mpg.
To build your Challenger, go to Dodge.com.