First gen Challenger was described in a book about 1960s American cars as Dodge's "answer to the Mustang and Camaro." Introduced in fall 1969 for the 1970 model year, it was one of two Chrysler E-body cars, the other being the slightly smaller Plymouth Barracuda. "Both the Challenger and Barracuda were available in a staggering number of trim and o...ption levels" and were intended "to compete against cars like the Chevrolet Camaro and Ford Mustang, and to do it while offering virtually every engine in Chrysler's inventory." However, the 1970 Challenger was "a rather late response to the ponycar wave the Ford Mustang had started" with its introduction in April 1964. In his book Hemi Muscle Cars, Robert Genat wrote that the Challenger was conceived in the late 1960s as Dodge's equivalent of the Plymouth Barracuda, and that the Barracuda was designed to compete against the Mustang. The 1964 Barracuda was actually the first car in this sporty car segment by a few weeks, but was quickly overshadowed by the release of the segment defining Mustang (the segment being referred to as "Pony Car"). He added that Chrysler intended the new 1970 Dodge as "the most potent ponycar ever," and positioned it "to compete against the Mercury Cougar and Pontiac Firebird." Genat also noted that the "Barracuda was intended to compete in the marketplace with the Mustang and Camaro/Firebird, while the Dodge was to be positioned against the Cougar" and other more luxury-type musclecars.
The Challenger's longer wheelbase, larger dimensions and more luxurious interior were prompted by the launch of the 1967 Mercury Cougar, likewise a bigger, more luxurious and more expensive pony car aimed at affluent young American buyers. The wheelbase, at 110 inches (2,794 mm), was two inches longer than the Barracuda, and the Dodge differed substantially from the Plymouth in its outer sheetmetal, much as the Cougar differed from the shorter-wheelbase Ford Mustang. Air conditioning and a rear window defogger were optional.
Exterior design was done by Carl Cameron, who also did the exterior for the 1966 Dodge Charger. Cameron based the 1970 Challenger grille off an older sketch of his 1966 Charger prototype that was to have a turbine engine. The Charger never got the turbine, but the Challenger featured that car's grille. Although the Challenger was well received by the public (with 76,935 produced for the 1970 model year), it was criticized by the press, and the pony car segment was already declining by the time the Challenger arrived. Sales fell dramatically after 1970, and though sales rose for the 1973 model year with over 27,800 cars being sold, Challenger production ceased midway through the 1974 model year. A total of 165,437 Challengers were sold over this generation's lifespan.
A 1970 Challenger R/T 440 Magnum was featured in the existentialist 1971 film Vanishing Point. For the 1973-74 season of the TV show Mannix the title character drove a 1974 Challenger Rallye, which was specially ordered and built for the show. The car had every option available including the 360 4-barrel engine and the rare factory sunroof.More
Dodge Charger Second generation. The entire B-body lineup for 1968 was redesigned and the Charger was further differentiated from the Dodge Coronet models. Designer Richard Sias developed a double-diamond coke bottle profile with curves around the front fenders and rear quarter panels. Front and rear end sheet metal was designed by Harvey J. Winn. ...The rear end featured a "kick up" spoiler appearance, inspired by Group 7 racing vehicles. On the roof, a "flying buttress" was added to give the rear window area a look similar to that of the 1966-67 Pontiac GTO. The Charger retained its full-width hidden headlight grille, but a vacuum operated cover replaced the electric motor rotating headlights. The previous full-width taillights were replaced with dual circular units at the direction of Styling Vice President, Elwood P. Engel. Dual scallops were added to the doors and hood.
Inside, the interior was new with a conventional fixed rear seat replacing the folding bucket seat design. The conventional trunk area included a vinyl mat, rather than the previous model's carpeted cargo area. The center console in the front remained, but there was no center armrest. The tachometer was now optional instead of standard and the electroluminescent gauges disappeared in favor of a conventional design.
The standard engine was the 318 cu in (5.2 L) 2-bbl V8, until it was replaced in mid-year with a 225 cu in (3.7 L) slant-six. The 383-2 and 383-4 remained unchanged. A new high-performance package was added, the R/T ("Road/Track" with no 'and' between Road and Track). The R/T came standard with the previous year's 440 "Magnum" and the 426 Hemi was optional.
In 1968, Chrysler Corporation began an ad campaign featuring a cartoon bee with an engine on its back featuring models called the "Scat Pack". The Coronet R/T, Super Bee, Dart GTS, and Charger R/T received bumble-bee stripes (two thin stripes framing two thick stripes). The stripes were standard on the R/Ts and came in red, white, or black, but could be deleted at no extra cost.
The 1968 model year Charger sales increased to 96,100, including over 17,000 Charger R/Ts. More
On December 3, 2007, Chrysler started taking deposits for the third-generation Dodge Challenger which debuted on February 6, 2008, simultaneously at the Chicago Auto Show and Philadelphia International Auto Show. Listing at US$40,095, the new version was a 2-door coupe which shared common design elements with the first generation Challenger, de...spite being significantly longer and taller. As with Chevrolet's new Camaro, the Challenger concept car's pillarless hardtop body was replaced with a fixed "B" pillar, hidden behind the side glass to give an illusion of the hardtop. The LC chassis is a modified (shortened wheelbase) version of the LX platform that underpins the Dodge Charger (LX), Dodge Magnum, and the Chrysler 300. The LX was developed in America from the previous Chrysler LH platform, which had been designed to allow it to be easily upgraded to rear and all-wheel drive. Many Mercedes components were incorporated, or used for inspiration, including the Mercedes-Benz W220 S-class control arm front suspension, the Mercedes-Benz W211 E-Class 5-link rear suspension, the W5A580 5-speed automatic, the rear differential, and the ESP system. All (7119) 2008 models were SRT8s and equipped with the 6.1 L (370 cu in) Hemi and a 5-speed AutoStick automatic transmission. The entire 2008 U.S. run of 6,400 cars were pre-sold (many of which for above MSRP), and production commenced on May 8, 2008.
Chrysler of Mexico offered only 100 SRT8s, with a 6.1-liter V8 and 425 brake horsepower (317 kW) (SAE). Chrysler auctioned off two 2008 SRT8s for charity with the first car going for $400,000 and a "B5" Blue No.43 car with a winning bid of $228,143.43.
The base model Challenger SE was initially powered by a 3.5 L (214 cu in) SOHC V6 producing 250 brake horsepower (190 kW) (SAE) and 250 lbf•ft (340 N•m) torque which was coupled to a 4-speed automatic transmission for the first half of 2009, and was then changed to have a standard 5-speed automatic transmission. Several different exterior colors, with either cloth or leather interiors became available. Standard features included air conditioning, power windows, locks, and mirrors; cruise control, and 17-inch (430 mm) aluminum wheels. Leather upholstery, heated front seats, sunroof, 18-inch aluminum wheels, and a premium audio system are available as options, as are ABS, and stability and traction control. The Canadian market also sports the SXT trim, similar to the SE, but more generous in terms of standard features. Some of these features being ESP, an alarm system, and 18-inch (460 mm) wheels. Starting with the 2012 model year, the SE was replaced in the U.S. with the SXT model.
Previous to the 2012 model year, the SXT version of the Challenger was only sold in Canada and is a more well-equipped variation of the SE. It adds fog lamps, a rear spoiler, larger wheels, illuminated vanity mirrors, security alarm and a leather-wrapped shifter. In addition, the SXT has increased option packages available to it that aren't available on the SE, and are also available to the R/T. (Such as the high-end navigation-enabled entertainment system.) More