Expected Pricing: $25,000-$35,000 | Release Date: Early 2008?
Sneak Preview: 2008 Dodge Challenger
Deja vu, and it's orange, too (Orange Pearl to be precise).
It was in the 1970 model year that Dodge finally got into the pony car race. Ford established the pattern for this vehicle category when it introduced the Mustang as a 1964 1/2 model. Chevrolet followed suit with its 1967 Camaro, as did Pontiac with the Firebird.
Dodge didn't respond until its challenger, the 1970 Challenger.
Fast forward 35 years. With the pony car reborn in the form of the 2005 Ford Mustang, Chevy and Dodge are saddling up new ponies and getting ready to gallop. Both displayed concept cars at the 2006 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, and the Dodge Challenger concept looked ready to roll from the show stand to the show room.
Built on the Chrysler Group LX platform that underpins the Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger and Magnum, the Challenger might go into production as soon as late 2007, assuming, of course, that the concept is approved for production, something that seems likely with the popularity of the new Mustang and with Chevy's reveal of a new Camaro concept. That also assumes that the car could be built on the current chassis rather than having to wait for the next generation of the platform due in 2009. In that case, the Challenger likely would be a 2010 model.We wanted the concept car to evoke all those sweet memories . . . everything you thought the Challenger was, and more, said Tom Tremont, Chrysler Group vice president for advanced vehicle design.
The Challenger concept was powered by Chrysler's 6.1-liter Hemi V8 that cranks out 425 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque to a pair of 21-inch rear wheels. Dodge says the car should be able to sprint to 60 miles per hour in 4.5 seconds (nearly a second faster than the famed 1970 original), could have a top speed of more than 170 miles per hour and yet could cover 300 miles on a single tank of fuel, thanks to the Hemi's ability to cruise down the highway with only four of its eight cylinders firing. (Some of the old ones can do that, too, but it isn't intentional.) While the 2006 concept looks a lot like the Coke bottle shaped 1970 original, it is built on a 116-inch wheelbase vs. 110 for the original. The concept also is more than six inches longer, two inches wider and more than five inches taller than the original, yet the concept maintains the beautiful long-nose, short deck and nicely rounded proportions of the original.
Its designers had to set aside much of their modern knowledge to maintain the exciting proportions of the original. The concept features relatively long front and rear overhangs, which does not make for outstanding aerodynamics. The only modern design cues are the big wheels and tires that fill the wheel wells. By today's standards, the original had small wheels and tires.
We wanted the concept car to evoke all those sweet memories . . . everything you thought the Challenger was, and more, said Tom Tremont, Chrysler Group vice president for advanced vehicle design.
Those racy stripes going down the center of the hood are actually sections of unpainted carbon fiber. The concept's interior is as exciting as its exterior. Seats have '70s-style pleats, with a single orange-colored trim panel in the seatback providing a visual highlight.
The original Challenger was the first production car with injection-molded interior door trim panels so special attention was paid to the doors of the concept, which look like machined billet aluminum with a rubberized material cover.
In place of the standard instrument panel, the Challenger concept has a gauge cluster designed to look like a bank of the Hemi engine with its head cover removed, and with an enlarged first cylinder housing a special engine computer that allows the driver to track 0-60 mph and quarter-mile times, quarter-mile and top speeds as well as maximum engine rpm in each of the six forward gears.
The Challenger concept was unveiled at the 2006 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
3/19/2006 10:47:31 AM