Challenger Concept Timeline
For you Challenger history buffs, here's an interesting timeline about the development of the 2006 Challenger concept and its evolution to the 2008 production car:
January - Planning and design begins for the 2006 concept Challenger.
Feb 1 - Chrysler gives the go-ahead to build a full-size running concept and gives the designers four months to complete the clay model and deliver it to Metalcrafters, a California company that builds Chrysler's concept vehicles. The finished concept, its body made of carbon fiber, had to be ready in time for the world debut at NAIAS 6 months later.
April - Final exterior design sketches are completed.
April - Interior design work begins on the concept Challenger.
June - Complete clay model and design specifications are turned over to Metalcrafters.
Nov 1 - Dodge debuts the 392 Hemi crate engine in an original 1970 Dodge Challenger at the SEMA show in Las Vegas. Inside information gathered at the show strongly hints that a production version of the 392 will debut in a future Challenger model.
Nov 3 - Metalcrafters of California completes the main assembly of the 4,160 lb. Challenger concept model and begins the final prep for its world debut at NAIAS in January.
Nov 20 - First spy photos of the Challenger concept appear on the internet. The two unauthorized and undisguised photos were taken of the Challenger while it was being prepped for an outdoor photo shoot.
Nov 21 - Dodge formally announces the 2006 Dodge Challenger Concept Vehicle and releases a color drawing of the vehicle. The press release states that "The 2006 Dodge Challenger concept resurrects another authentic American muscle car for the Dodge brand and continues to build on the success and heritage of the HEMI engine."
Nov 26 - Kevin Verduyn, head of Chrysler's U.S. design operations, states publicly that Chrysler currently has no plans to produce the Challenger.
Dec 20 - More spy photos of the Challenger concept appear on the internet.
Dec 22 - A MPH magazine cover photo leaked on the internet reveals the clearest photo to date of the Challenger concept. The cover was an advance mock-up of the February, 2006 issue.
Dec 27 - Car and Driver & Road and Track magazines start to arrive in subscribers' mailboxes, with new photos as well as preliminary specifications of the Challenger concept.
Jan 8 - World debut of the 2006 Challenger concept at the Detroit Auto Show.
May 22 - The Challenger concept appears in public, driven to two car enthusiasts gatherings in Huntington Beach, Ca. and Newport Beach, Ca.
July 1 - Unprecedented public response to the Dodge Challenger concept results in Chrysler announcing that after nearly 35 years, the Dodge Challenger will return as the ultimate modern American muscle coupe. Chrysler Group President and CEO Tom LaSorda officially announces that the Dodge Challenger is a 'Go' and that the all-new Dodge Challenger would debut as a 2008 model in calendar-year 2008. The announcement was made shortly before the Pepsi 400 NASCAR race at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla.
Aug 15 - Chrysler announces a contest giveaway for three vehiles each of the 2009 Challenger R/T, 2007 Chrysler Sebring and 2007 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited in the "Dream Car Sweepstakes". Of the more than 24,000 entries received, over 55 percent of the entrants registered to win the all-new Dodge Challenger. The winners of the Challengers were Brenda Freeman of Jasper, Ga.; Evelyn Puett of Plainfield, Ill.; and Phil Sholtes of Grosse Ile, Mich. No one caught the fact that this was the first "clue" that the R/T would not debut until the 2009 year.
Oct 31 - Dodge displays a white and blue Challenger Super Stock 392 concept at the SEMA show in Las Vegas.
Feb 13 - Dodge announces that Ontario will become the home of the all-new 2008 Dodge Challenger, to be built at the Brampton assembly plant with production starting in the spring of 2008.
Feb 15 - At the 2007 Chicago auto show Dodge announces that the production Challenger "will debut in 358 days at the 2008 Chicago Auto Show". A large countdown clock is displayed next to the Challenger concept.
Apr 7 - Brampton assembly plant starts production of the first AME (Advance Manufacturing Engineering) Challenger pilot models. Seven build days are scheduled between April and June.
Apr 29 - Seven very clear photos of the bare Challenger body frame are secretly taken inside the Brampton assembly plant and leaked to the internet.
June 28 - First spy photos of a cameo'd test mule Challenger, taken by Brenda Priddy, are released to the internet.
Aug 19 - A spy video of a cameo'd test mule Challenger driving on the streets of Auburn Hills, Michigan, appears on the internet.
Sep 17 - Dodge announces that the first three 2008 Challengers off the assembly line, SRT8 5-speed automatic models, will be auctioned for charity.
Sep 26 -The first of the three Challenger charity auctions, for dealers only on Ebay, opens with a $25,000 starting bid for Challenger No. 0002. The first details of some of the key features of the SRT8 Challenger are revealed for the first time in the auction listing - the 6.1L engine and a 5-speed automatic transmission are officially confirmed.
Oct 3 -Dave Smith Motors of Kellogg, Idaho puts in the winning ebay bid of $175,407.07 for Challenger No. 0002.
Oct 13 -Three camera phone images of a completely unmasked production Challenger, taken without permission at a dealer show in Las Vegas, appear across the internet.
Nov 29 - In an email to dealers, Dodge announces that order banks will open up on December 3rd. The email states that every franchised dealer will receive at least one 2008 Challenger.
Dec 3 - Dodge opens up the order banks and announces pricing for the "All-New 2008 Challenger SRT8", set at $37,995 plus a $2100 Gas Guzzler tax. New details are officially confirmed including the three colors to be offered on the 2008 models (Black, Silver and Orange), a Kicker audio system, 20"x9" wheels, carbon fiber hood decals, MyGIG navigation radio and power sunroof option. In the first day 4,300 Challengers are sold.
Dec 6 - First Official photos released of the "All-new 2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8". Dodge releases five partial-view high resolution "teaser" photos. In response to persistent rumors that only 5,000 2008 models would be built, Kathy Graham, Dodge Challenger public relations specialist announces "We haven't decided yet. It will be less than 10,000."
Dec 10 - Advance orders for the 2008 Challenger pass the 7,000 mark.
Dec 31 - Advance orders for the 2008 Challenger pass the 9,000 mark.
Jan 16 - First photo of an unmasked 2009 Challenger R/T is posted on the internet, caught while being valet-parked. The same day, the clearest photos yet of an unmasked Challenger also appear, a 2008 silver SRT8 model spotted driving on the streets of Michigan.
Jan 19 - The second of the three Challenger charity auctions is held by Barrett-Jackson in Scottsdale, Arizona. Challenger No. 0001 brings a winning bid of $400,000.
Jan 21 - Chrysler announces that it will build 6,400 2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8 coupes for the United States, with several hundred more slated for Mexico and Canada.
Jan 23 - A clear spy photo appears showing the center stack and floor console area of a 2009 pre-production 6-speed R/T Challenger. An additional photo appears, shot through the drivers window, showing the steering wheel and dash area.
Jan 24 - Car and Driver magazine releases embargoed exterior images of the production SRT8 Challenger, some of which are shown on two prototype magazine covers for the April 2008 issue.
Feb 6 - The long-awaited world debut of the production SRT8 Challenger at the 2008 Chicago auto show, with a simultaneous debut at the Philadelphia auto show.
Feb 12 - Bid opening date on Ebay for 2008 Challenger Number 0043, a one-only B5 Blue model. The proceeds will benefit the Victory Junction Gang, an organization dedicated to enriching the lives of children with chronic illness, founded by Kyle Petty, in honor of his late son, Adam.
Mar 19 - Scheduled debut of the 2009 base model and 2009 R/T model Challengers, 2008 NY Auto show.
Apr 15-21 - Start of production for the 2008 Challenger SRT8.
July 2009 - Start of production for the 2009 Challenger models.
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