The Dodge Charger and Challenger flexed their modern-day muscle during the DaimlerChrysler, Cerberus, Fiat and now Stellantis years, but the party is coming to an end. Dodge will discontinue the two great muscle cars at the end of 2023, but not without a proper farewell. Special packages are on the way to celebrate what these cars mean to a sea of horsepower-loving fans, and the team at Dodge’s Direct Connection will be joined by a long list of supporting aftermarket parts.
Their departure was largely expected, but not because of tank sales. Among the big American muscle cars, the Charger was No. 1 in sales in the first six months, with more than 38,459 respectable deliveries, followed by the Ford Mustang (26,244), Challenger (25,682) and Chevrolet Camaro (11,255), accordingly. to Wards Intelligence data. But the sector overall is down about 20% from the same period last year, and fuel-intensive sports cars are struggling to find their place in an electrified future. Departure will only leave a Durango SUV in the Dodge stable, until the battery-powered muscle car, planned for 2024, arrives in 2024. Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis revealed the Challenger/Charger news Monday night at the Speed Week event in Pontiac, Michigan , in the period before that. To Woodward Dream Cruise.
While the latest version of Challengers and Chargers has yet to be revealed, Dodge says seven of them will be hitting a lot of dealers. Six of these models going away will revive the previous Dodges model, with the seventh model apparently “the last of its kind” according to Dodge and making its debut at this year’s SEMA Show. All of these special models will be shipped to Dodge dealerships and easily marketed to potential customers through the Dodge website.
These special editions get most of Dodge’s attention, but the company isn’t ignoring the standard production models. Every Charger and Challenger out of Brampton, Ontario, will be leaving with a ceremonial “Last Call” plaque under the hood. This plaque will decorate the car’s silhouette along with the words “Designed in Auburn Hills” and “Built in Brampton.” This aluminum sign may seem silly now but could add value at high-profile auctions decades from now.
Dodge is also unlocking its own Jailbreak program, which allowed Challenger and Charger customers more leeway when ordering their muscle machine and allowed them to mix and match features and options that might not be generally available. Jailbreak was limited to Hellcat Redeye Widebody variants only, but Dodge is making the software available for more affordable Hellcat models for 2023.
But there’s more to Dodge’s phasing out of its more iconic nameplates. The team at Dodge and Direct Connection works through Challenger Sheet Metal by making the chassis white available to customers. Aimed at racing enthusiasts, this challenging body can be transformed into anything your heart or wallet desires for a surprisingly $7,995. If you want a more serious chassis, Dodge also offers its Rolling Drag Pak chassis. Equipped with an NHRA-certified 7.5-second roll cage, this Drag Pak chassis is a powertrain far from being a strip-pull tool. Looking at the equipped hardware, its $89,999 price tag is a lot more expensive than the bare case.
Dodge is also working with SpeedKore to offer carbon fiber parts through the Direct Connection catalog. These parts are engineered to meet Dodge’s requirements for fit and finish while also reducing some weight. The Direct Connection catalog will see more performance parts soon targeting the Challenger and Charger to extinction.
After the farewells are over, Dodge finally introduces a drop-down Challenger. While the company does not manufacture the convertible in-house, the automaker partners with Florida-based Drop Top Customs to do the work. But the buying process will not change: customers will place an order, the car will go to Drop Top customs for transfer, and then the car appears at the dealership. Now, this conversion adds $25,999 to the price tag, but Dodge notes that the final price has already been set by the dealer. These convertibles are actually available for the 2022 and 2023 models, which means you can disable one of them before your last Challenger call.
Dodge’s flagship muscle machines seem to be disappearing as the motoring legacy celebrates. Adding a convertible to the mix, and including a fleet of custom-made final versions, is a fitting nod to the company’s past, and a smart move to embrace the company’s performance heritage. We’re still curious as to what will replace these two essential bikes. Given that Dodge’s electric muscle car is slated to debut in 2024, there might not be a very large gap between the internal combustion muscle and the electric battery.