Dodge Challenger and Charger V8 muscle-car production ends

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The era of V8 muscle cars from the Big Three US car giants has ended, as the final Dodge Challenger and Charger V8s – as well as the Chrysler 300 – follow the Chevrolet Camaro into retirement.

Production of the Dodge Challenger coupe and Charger sedan with V6 and V8 power has concluded – after nearly two decades – ahead of electric and turbo inline six-cylinder replacements due in US showrooms next year.

The final Challenger to roll off the line on December 22 was the most powerful yet, a SRT Demon 170 special edition in Pitch Black with a 764kW – or 1025 horsepower – version of the much-loved 6.2-litre supercharged Hemi V8.

Meanwhile the final Charger was a Scat Pack Widebody in Destroyer Grey, with a 362kW 6.4-litre naturally-aspirated Hemi V8.

It brings to an end the era of petrol-powered muscle cars from the ‘Big Three’ US car giants – Ford, General Motors and Chrysler/Dodge – after the final petrol-powered Chevrolet Camaro was built two weeks ago.

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New Dodge muscle cars are due in showrooms next year, but they will initially be electric – though turbocharged inline six-cylinder versions are waiting in the wings.

In various forms the current Charger has been in US showrooms for 18 years – and today’s Challenger has been sold for 15 years – since the classic 1960s nameplates were revived for the modern era in the mid-2000s.

The final Chrysler 300 – twinned under the skin with the Challenger and Charger, and built in the same factory in Canada – was produced days earlier, on December 20, less than two weeks before its 20th birthday.

The last 300 with a 6.4-litre V8 was built earlier this month, but versions with 3.6-litre V6 and 5.7-litre V8 engines continued for two more weeks.

According to US publication Road and Track, more than four million Charger sedans, Challenger coupes, 300 sedans and wagons, and Dodge Magnum wagons (sold from 2005 to 2008) were built.

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The majority were Chargers (1.8 million) and 300s (1.4 million).

Only the 300 was factory-built in right-hand drive and sold in Australia, with 14,922 deliveries – including a number of wagons, an export-market exclusive based on the Dodge Magnum wagon sold in the US – between launch in 2005 and the final registrations reported earlier this year.

Horsepower from the V8s under the bonnet has more than doubled since launch, from a 317kW (415hp) 6.1-litre naturally-aspirated in the original 2005 Charger SRT-8 and 2008 Challenger SRT-8, to a 764kW (1025hp) 6.2-litre supercharged V8 in the 2023 Challenger SRT Demon 170.

The factory build slot for the last Challenger – the SRT Demon 170 – sold for $US300,000 ($AU440,000) at auction earlier this year, and helped raise more than $US700,000 ($AU1.04 million) for a US non-profit organisation which focuses on ending child abuse and child sex trafficking.

Alex Misoyannis has been writing about cars since 2017, when he started his own website, Redline. He contributed for Drive in 2018, before joining CarAdvice in 2019, becoming a regular contributing journalist within the news team in 2020.

Cars have played a central role throughout Alex’s life, from flicking through car magazines at a young age, to growing up around performance vehicles in a car-loving family.

Read more about Alex MisoyannisLinkIcon

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