Arguably the cult hero of the American automotive industry, Dodge’s retro-inspired third-generation Challenger muscle car was a huge hit when it hit US showrooms in April 2008.
With the return of the famed Chrysler Hemi V8 up front it has helped kick-start a second muscle car era that has seen power and performance figures eclipse purpose-built race cars in recent year.
A comprehensive mid-cycle update occurred for the 2015 model year, moving from the LC platform to the LA platform, with an eight-speed auto, plus styling and interior updates. The engines also changed with more potent 362kW (485hp) 6.4-litre Hemi harking back to the legendary first-generation 392ci Hemi of 1957.
The big news was the introduction of the SRT Hellcat packing a 527kW (707hp) supercharged 6.2-litre Hemi V8, capable of running 0-100km/h in 3.9 seconds and 11.2-second on the quarter-mile. The Hellcat was blown into the weeds in 2018 with the launch of the 626kW (840hp) Dodge Demon.
The Demon, trading on a famous Chrysler muscle car from the 1970s, is a limited-edition model that uses a larger supercharger and updated engine internals to do 0-100km/h in 2.3-seconds and run the quarter-mile 9.65-seconds. Only 3300 were built, intended to be road-legal drag racing cars.
The success of the Demon saw Dodge release a range of high-performance models in 2019. This includes bringing back the famous Scat Pack name on the 1320 drag pack Challengers, while the SRT Hellcat Redeye sits at the top of the tree with a slightly detuned Demon engine packing 594kW (797hp).
Australia hasn’t had factory-imported Challengers as the Mopar muscle car is only built in left-hand-drive and therefore requires an expensive, complex conversion process that can double the price of the car compared to its RRP in the USA.
A converted right-hand-drive Challenger R/T averages $100,000 as a second-hand car, while the special editions like the higher-performance Scat Packs normally run to $130,000 or more. If you want a ferocious supercharged 6.2-litre Hellcat you’ll need between $170,000 and $200,000 depending on mileage and options, with the hand-built Demon limited-edition costing anywhere from $300,000 up to $450,000.
Fiat Chysler Australia (FCA), who are responsible for the Dodge brand Down Under, have gone on record stating they’re keenly watching the market to ascertain if there is a business case here for the Challenger. Given the age of the current Challenger platform a new model is due shortly, and that might well include a right-hand-drive option, though this hasn’t been confirmed.
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