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Challenger flexes muscles

Aussies getting excited over the Dodge challenger especially over the orange colour.

In the first three days of orders this week, more than 6000 Americans left deposits for the all-new 2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8, before even setting eyes on the production car.

The first day alone attracted more than 4300 people placing their order for the coupe.

And while the heritage of the model, or the 6.1-litre HEMI V8 may have won them over, owners will have to wait until February to see what their new car will look like, when the limited edition production SRT8 is unveiled at the Chicago Auto Show.

The concept of the reinvented Challenger was revealed at last year's North American International Motor Show.

Dodge Challenger brand manager Mark Mallie says they began to take orders early due to customer demand.

“Its been almost 35 years since the last Challenger, and there's a lot of interest,” he says. “There are a lot of people anxious for it. It's certainly an iconic muscle car.”

But Australian Challenger fans shouldn't get too excited. Chrysler group spokesman Jerry Stamoulis says it won't be making its way Down Under any time soon.

“There are no plans for a right-hand-drive market or for sales outside of the US at all at this stage,” he says.

The modern interpretation of the muscle coupe carries a $US37,995 ($43,549) price tag in the US and will feature dual carbon-fibre hood stripes, pointing to the original Challenger.

It will also have a numbered dash plaque. And there will be a choice of three colours for the SRT8; black, silver or HEMI orange. More more than half the orders so far have opted for the orange.

Since announcing the pricing last week, website hits have also gone up 23 per cent.

Dodge will follow the SRT8 with a complete line-up of Challenger models.