Dodge Challenger (2008)

Published: 10 August 2007

So, Chrysler wasn't joking when it said it might build this beauty?

Yes, thirty seven years after the original became an integral part of America’s automotive psyche, Dodge’s Challenger is back. And how. Looking every inch the exact replica of the stunning Challenger concept car we drove last year, the road-going Challenger brings the musclecar bang up to date with spot-on proportions, neat detailing and plenty of power.

Looks like a dead ringer for the original, not to mention last year's concept...

The concept was designed at Chrysler’s West Coast Pacifica Studio by Michael Castiglione – the man behind the Calibre – and it looks as if his work has been carried over wholesale. No surprise really, given Chrysler’s relative high concept-to-production ratio that includes Compass Viper, Prowler and PT Cruiser.

Talk me through it all then

Look past the camouflage and you can clearly see the Challenger’s ‘thrust’ line – the kink in its flanks that runs from headlamp and kicks up over the rear wheelarches. The quad circular headlamp layout has made it through to production, and we’re hoping that the full-length rear taillight of the concept car also got the design nod. Even the big 19inch alloy wheels and bullethead-shaped wing mirrors are dead ringers for those on the concept car. We’re not sure if the concept Challenger’s bonnet – complete with twin scoops and exposed black carbonfibre racing stripes – will make it through to production, but given the similarities between concept and production models, we can only hope. The road-ready Challenger will sit on Chrysler’s new large rear-wheel drive chassis architecture – it’ll be the first car in the Chrysler family to use this layout. A Challenger wouldn’t be a Challenger without a big Hemi upfront - and Dodge’s latest doesn’t disappoint. It’s powered by a revised version of the 6.1-litre V8 used in the current SRT-8 version of the 300C. Tuned for a healthy 450bhp, the gutsy Hemi, hooked up to a six-speed automatic transmission, should rocket the Dodge to 60mph in just under five seconds and top out at around 170mph.

Does the recent Chrysler sale have any impact on this?

Excellent question. There’s no word yet on the effect the recent sale of Chrysler will have on increasing the chances of the Dodge musclecar making it over to Europe – let along to the UK in right-hand-drive – but our sources claim that New Chrysler will be keen to expand sales of current and new models as quickly and effectively as possible. Which means we should see the Challenger arriving in Europe next year, and potentially in the UK with a £40,000 price tag before the end of the decade. That’s a long wait, but expect plenty of imports to make their way over here long before then.

By Ben Whitworth

Contributing editor, sartorial over-achiever, HANS device shirt collars