Dodge will end current production of the Charger and Challenger at the end of 2023, the last model year of the two cars.
Dodge will be launching seven special editions in honor of its two beloved muscle machines, which will be revealed later.
A Challenger convertible – available this year and next – will be built by Drop Top Customs, adding $25,999 to the price tag.
The Dodge Charger and Challenger flexed their modern muscles through the years of DaimlerChrysler, Cerberus, Fiat and now Stellantis, but the party is coming to an end. Dodge will stop production of the two popular muscle cars at the end of 2023, but not without a decent delivery. Special packages are on the way to celebrate what these cars mean to a sea of horsepower-loving fans, and the team at Dodge’s Direct Connection will join in with a long list of supporting aftermarket parts.
Their departure was largely expected, but not because of tank sales. Among major American muscle cars, the Charger was #1 in sales in its first six months, with more than a respectable 38,459 deliveries, followed by the Ford Mustang (26,244), Challenger (25,682) and Chevrolet Camaro (11,255), according to the report. Wards Intelligence data. But the segment overall is down about 20% from the same period last year, and gas-guzzling sports cars are struggling to find their place in a future paved with electrification. The departure would leave only the Durango SUV in the Dodge stable, until a battery-electric muscle car arrives, slated for 2024.
While the latest edition Challengers and Chargers have yet to be unveiled, Dodge says seven of them will hit dealer lots. Six of these discontinued models will pay tribute to previous Dodges, with the seventh model appearing to be the “last of its kind,” according to Dodge, and will make its public debut at this year’s SEMA show. All of these special models are shipped to Dodge dealers and can be easily purchased by potential customers through a Dodge website.
These special editions attract most of Dodge’s attention, but the company doesn’t ignore standard production models. Every Charger and Challenger rolling out of the Brampton, Ontario will leave with a ceremonial “Last Call” plaque under the hood. This plaque will display the silhouette of the vehicle next to ‘Designed in Auburn Hills’ and ‘Built in Brampton’. This aluminum tag may seem crazy now, but it could add value to high-profile auctions in decades to come.
Dodge is also expanding its Jailbreak program even further, giving Challenger and Charger customers more leeway when ordering their muscle machine and allowing them to mix and match features and options that may not be widely available. Jailbreak was limited to only the Hellcat Redeye Widebody variants, but Dodge will make the program available for more affordable Hellcat models by 2023.
But there’s more to the phasing out of Dodge’s most popular nameplates. The Dodge and Direct Connection team goes through Challenger’s bodywork by making white bodies available to customers. Aimed at racing enthusiasts, this Challenger body can be transformed into just about anything your heart or wallet desires, for a surprisingly affordable $7,995. If you want a more serious scale, Dodge also makes its Drag Pak rolling chassis available. Equipped with a NHRA-certified 7.5-second roll cage, this Drag Pak chassis is a drivetrain that is not a drag strip conditioner. Considering the equipped hardware, the $89,999 price tag is significantly more expensive than the bare shell.
Dodge is also partnering with SpeedKore to offer carbon fiber parts through the Direct Connection catalog. These pieces are designed to meet Dodge’s requirements for fit and finish while also shaving some weight. The Direct Connection catalog will feature more performance parts focused on the soon-to-be-defunct Challenger and Charger.
Rounding out the broadcasts, Dodge is And last but not least offering a drop-top Challenger. While the company doesn’t manufacture the convertible in-house, the automaker is partnering with Florida-based Drop Top Customs to do the work. But the purchasing process doesn’t change: customers place an order, the car goes to Drop Top Customs for conversion, and then the car appears at the dealership. Now this conversion adds $25,999 to the price tag, but Dodge notes that the final price is actually set by the dealer. These convertible Challengers are actually available for the 2022 and 2023 models, meaning you can grab one before the Challenger makes its last call.
Dodge’s major muscle machines seem to be disappearing with a celebration of the automobile’s legacy. Adding a convertible to the mix and a fleet of specially prepared latest editions is a fitting nod to the company’s past and a smart move to embrace the company’s performance heritage. We’re still curious to see what will replace these two Dodge staples. Since Dodge’s battery-electric muscle car is slated for 2024, there might not be too much of a gap between the internal combustion muscle and a battery-electric powerhouse.
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