The rebirth of the American muscle car is about a lot more than retro. It's about pride. It's about recalling a time when Americans looked down the road to the future with confidence, and they wanted a great big V8 engine to get them there as soon as possible.
It's no wonder the 2008 Ford Mustang Bullitt has our respect. It's the best version yet of the 2005 Ford Mustang, the car that set Detroit on fire again with enthusiasm for good old American muscle. Maybe the fuel-guzzling muscle car won't save Detroit from the challenge to build cars that people need, but it's surely restored the domestic car industry's confidence in its ability to do so. And it's shown that Americans can build cars that are utterly unlike anything you'll find in Stuttgart, Shanghai, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur or any of those other places that economists think they're so clever to know about.
Now that the 2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8 is here, Chrysler is cracking the seal on its own Mopar-branded can of muscle-car whoop-ass to show that it understands what's at stake in the muscle-car sweepstakes. The Bullitt and the Challenger are the two coolest cars in America, and it's only natural to bring them together.
2008 SEMA: Dodge Challenger Convertible
MORE SEMA INFO:
HIGH SPRINGS, Florida — Dodge has no plans to offer a Challenger
convertible, which provides Coach Builders Ltd. an open shot at muscle car
enthusiasts looking for an alternative to the popular Ford Mustang drop top. Now in final
preparations for its official debut at the upcoming 2008 SEMA Show, the
Coach Builders Dodge Challenger convertible will be shown alongside the
company's Chrysler 300C and Cadillac CTS convertible conversions.
Coach Builders' Larry Moran told Inside Line that production of the
Challenger convertible will begin on November 15, and that the company is
"already taking deposits for getting a place in line." The Challenger
convertible conversion is priced at $16,000, Moran said. A 2009 Dodge
Challenger SRT8 currently costs $41,695 including shipping charges and
gas-guzzler tax, so expect to pay nearly $58,000 for open-air Challenger
Moran also says that "custom interiors, performance options and wheels and
tires" will be offered, but the details "are not firmed up yet." The car
that will debut at SEMA was fortified with a Vortech Supercharger that bumps the 6.1-liter Hemi V8 to
560 horsepower and
510 pound-feet of torque. It rides slightly lower on a KW coil-over
suspension kit and 22-inch Foose Challenger wheels wrapped in Nitto tires.
The convertible conversion reinforces the Challenger with strut bars hidden
inside the trunk instead of a visible roll bar, and the acrylic polyester
cloth hydraulic top is padded between the structure and the exterior fabric
for sound and temperature insulation. A heated glass rear window and
matching fabric headliner are also included.
Dodge Challenger SRT8 @ the Track
LEARN MORE ABOUT THE DODGE CHALLENGER SRT8:
The 2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8 is a muscle car, right? An American muscle
car. So naturally, the first thing I want to do when I jump behind the
wheel is a big American smoky burnout.
"Not here," says Pete Gladysz, the Dodge guy babysitting our test car and
riding shotgun, as he looks around the leafy, tranquil residential street
we're on in the middle of Pasadena. "Wait 'till we get to the track."
Gladysz, powertrain senior manager for Chrysler LLC's SRT Group, sounds
serious. So I wait.
Battle of the Bimmers: BMW M3 v BMW 135i v BMW 335i
Before you start sending us flaming e-mails complaining that a comparison
between the 2008 Audi S5 and the 2008 BMW M3 Coupe is an obvious mismatch
from the get-go, you should know a few things.
Our first full test of the $53,000, all-wheel-drive 2008 Audi S5 was a bit
of a revelation. With a 354-horsepower version of Audi's
direct-injection 4.2-liter V8 under its hood, the voluptuous Audi S5 ran a
13.3-second quarter-mile at 104 mph, just 0.1 second and 2 mph shy of the
420-hp 2007 Audi RS4 sedan. What's more, the S5's slalom speed is within a
couple mph of the harsh-riding RS-spec sedan. "It ran a 13.3? With that
kind of speed, who needs a $67,000 RS4?" we asked ourselves.
We believe so strongly in the 2008 Audi S5 that it earned our Inside Line's
inaugural Editors' Choice Award.
So we acquired (hastily perhaps) another 2008 Audi S5 and set it against
the new 2008 BMW M3 Coupe, a car now fortified with V8 power for the first
time. Speed-reading the specifications sheets of these two cars, they seem
like natural rivals: the 354-hp, all-wheel-drive 2008 Audi S5 measured
against the 414-hp, rear-wheel-drive 2008 BMW M3.
But as it turns out, we gave the 2008 Audi S5 a bigger challenge than we
had initially intended.
Hurst Hemi Challenger @ 2008 SEMA
FOR MORE SEMA COVERAGE:
CHATSWORTH, California — Hurst gets its turn in the barrel with the new
Dodge Challenger, readying a 2009 Hurst/Hemi Challenger for a splashy debut
at the 2008 SEMA Show.
The tuner says it takes a Dodge Challenger SRT8 and beefs it up to 500-plus
horses. Hurst said the Hurst/Hemi Challenger will be available in four trim
levels through participating Dodge dealers. Details include five-spoke
Hurst alloy wheels and a classic pistol-grip Hurst shifter.
Pricing has not yet been announced for the four trim levels. But Hurst
spokesman Ron Flint said the special model will add a minimum $10,000
premium to the Challenger.
"We are targeting a range of $10,000-$20,000 MSRP above the cost of the
vehicles for Stages 1 through 3," he said in an e-mail to Inside Line.
"Stage 4 will come later and is a built-to-order model that can range much
higher depending on special options like special paint colors."
Challenger Drag Race! - SE vs R/T vs SRT8
MT Technical Director Frank Markus tests the three 2009 Dodge Challenger
variants - SE, R/T, SRT8 - with a three-way drag race and laps around our
figure eight. Read the story here:
MuscleCar Tuner Showdown: HPE650/SuperSnake/SpeedfactorySRT8
We've compared nearly every combination of modern American muscle cars on
the market. Now it's time for the ultimate showdown - Hennessey's Camaro HPE650 vs Shelby's GT500
Super Snake vs Speedfactory's Challenger SRT8. We head to the Dyno, the test track and the
racetrack to determine which of these tuned pony cars reigns supreme.
Read the story here:
Hot Rod Time Machine: Old vs New
Just How Good Were the Good Ol' Days? To find out, we've gathered three
modern high-spec ponycars and matched them with their glory days ancestors.
We're pitting a 2011 Camaro SS against the '69 Camaro SS396 that inspired its
design; a 2011 Challenger SRT8 meets the '70 Challenger it so faithfully
resembles; and a freshly minted Shelby Mustang GT500 convertible meets its
Read full story here:
Also find Motor Trend on:
Shot by: Jim Gleason and Gordon Green
Edited by: Jim Gleason
First Test: 2010 SMS 570 Challenger
Associate Editor Scott Evans is out at the Motor Trend test track to find
out how fast the all-new 2010 SMS 570 Challenger is.
Read the full story here:
2008 Dodge Challenger SRT-8 Burnout
This was a media launch of the 2008 Challenger SRT8 at Willow Springs. The
tires had some laps around the track and the only thing they were good for
is what you are looking at. 3 cars were used in this video and all were
UPDATE 7/15/12: 2012 Challenger 392 as well as other SRT cars will be
posted on my channel soon.
Dodge Challenger SRT8 392 vs. Shelby GT350
Video of our muscle car showdown between the 2011 Dodge Challenger SRT8 392
and the 2012 Shelby GT350. Only 1492 Challengers like this one will be
built, and Shelby has a cap of 2200, with only 500. Read the Dodge
Challenger SRT8 392 vs. Shelby GT350 photos and comparison test here:
2008 Dodge Challenger Burn Out
Get more info on the Dodge Challenger -
2008 Dodge Challenger Burn Out and power slide.
2011 Dodge Challenger SRT8 392 - First Test
The strategy for the 2011 Challenger SRT8 is simple: more power.
Read the full story here:
Also find Motor Trend on:
Shot by: Duane Sempson & Gordon Green
Edited by: Duane Sempson