Dodge is giving the venerable Charger and Challenger a farewell tour with a series of special-edition variants before replacing both models with electric vehicles.
The marque also teased seven special models on the first day of Dodge Speed Week in Pontiac, Michigan, though all of them were hidden under a car cover with a cryptic pattern on it.
Dodge says each will have a connection to an iconic model from the brand’s past, dating back to the muscle car era of the 1960s and early 1970s. Dodge has tapped into this rich vein of its history before, reviving nameplates like Super Bee and Demon.
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Since one of the hidden vehicles had a car cover with a suspicious honeycomb pattern on it, we’re expecting a return from the Super Bee, again on the charger.
It will release more information on the first six special edition models later this year, before unveiling the seventh and final 2023 Dodge at the 2022 SEMA Show in Las Vegas on November 1-4.
In addition to this information on “current muscle” offerings, it has also promised “gateway muscle” and “future muscle” announcements and reveals during Dodge Speed Week celebrations.
All 2023 Charger and Challenger models will receive a commemorative ‘Last Call’ plaque under their hoods.
The Dodge brand is also known for its iconic exterior colors, and it’s bringing back several for 2023, including Plum Crazy purple, Sublime green, Destroyer Gray and B5 Blue.
Challenger fans have been clamoring for a convertible for years, and Dodge granted their wish – more or less.
Dodge dealers offer an “expedited ordering process” for Challenger convertible conversions performed by third-party Drop Top Customs, allowing customers to place orders and pick up vehicles through Dodge dealers.
The marque has only offered a convertible Challenger for two model years: 1970 and 1971, during the run of the first generation Challenger. It only produced 6408 convertibles at the time, and these remain highly sought after.
Drop Top Customs offers convertible conversions of the R/T, R/T Scat Pack and all SRT models through Dodge dealers, with the conversion itself costing US$25,999 (A$37,168).
Dodge is also expanding availability from its Jailbreak models — which unlock previously limited color combinations and “exclusive content” — to the SRT Hellcat versions of the Charger and Challenger.
The Jailbreak option debuted this year on the Charger and Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye Widebody.
In addition to the Charger and Challenger lineup, Dodge’s performance car lineup will grow to once again include the Durango SRT Hellcat for 2023.
This Hellcat has proven to have at least two lives, initially unveiled in 2020 as a one-year special model.
Once again, the hot three-row SUV is powered by a supercharged 6.2-litre V8 engine producing 529kW of power and 847Nm of torque, with a 0-60mph time of 3.5 seconds.
The Durango is closely related to the outgoing WK2 series Jeep Grand Cherokee, which offered the same engine in Trackhawk guise.
No such model is planned for the new WL series, while Dodge has yet to confirm a replacement for the Durango that launched way back in 2011.
It will debut this year with a new small SUV, the Hornet, which is considered a close relative of the Alfa Romeo Tonale and will offer a plug-in hybrid powertrain.
It will introduce its first electric vehicle in 2024, which it calls an e-muscle car. It teased the vehicle last year, revealing square-jawed retro styling, and Carlos Tavares, CEO of Stellantis, has said it will have a “shocking” sound.
“We are celebrating the end of an era – and the beginning of a bright new electrified future – by staying true to our brand,” said Tim Kuniskis, Dodge CEO.
“At Dodge, we never lift, and the brand will mark the last of our iconic Charger and Challenger nameplates in their current form in the same way we got here, with a passion for both our products and our enthusiasts that drives us to to create as much uniqueness in the muscle car community and market as possible.
Dodge boasted that the Challenger outsold the Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro in the US last year.
Although it was lower than previous years’ figures, the Challenger’s sales performance has broken the trend for coupes, as it actually grew between its launch in 2008 and 2015 and has remained remarkably stable since then.
The Charger is miles ahead of its dwindling array of rivals, though it’s supported somewhat by strong fleet sales, including to police departments.
It was introduced in 2011 as a heavily revised version of the first Charger sedan, which entered production in 2005.
Like the Challenger, it’s also offered with a modest naturally aspirated V6 engine, and these quieter Chargers have traditionally competed with Toyota Avalon, Nissan Maxima, Chevrolet Impala and Ford Taurus – all of which have either been scrapped or will soon cease production.