When you think “muscle car," what do you see? Camaro. GTO. Mustang, of course. These rides have definitely made their mark on American car culture. But there’s one car that remains synonymous with American muscle: The Dodge Challenger. Since the early 70s, this beastly beauty has turned heads all over the world. And if recent models are any indication, she’s just getting started. Want to know how the Challenger has evolved over the years? Let’s take a side-by-side look this fine ride: classic vs. modern.
The first car to hold the “Challenger” name was released as a special edition in 1959. But it wasn’t until 10 years later that Dodge unveiled this true muscle car in all its glory. The 1970 R/T was built on a ‘Cuda platform. Hardtop, convertible, ducktail spoiler, solid, stripes, pop-open fuel cap. For the time, this mean machine was all options. That’s probably why the 2017 Challenger takes inspiration from its classic counterpart: vintage colors, side and top stripe options, and dual headlights (made modern with halos). Yes, this new school muscle car brings old-school back in the best ways, but with a sleeker style than ever before.
The classic Challenger may have lacked modern comforts, but it was all style. For starters, a good-looking wood grain finish on the dash and steering wheel came standard on the ‘70 R/T. Drivers could also go bucket or bench depending on the model. Other upgrades included leather seats, a small rear window, and a vinyl roof. The roomier 2017 model comes with all the bells and whistles, including an 8.8’’ touchscreen communications system. Rear-view camera and Bluetooth are standard. Next? New and improved leather seats with heating and cooling capability. Added safety tech like active head restraints puts this modern muscle car on top too. And if that wasn’t enough, drivers can choose from 14 different interior color schemes.
Though it may have been a top Mustang competitor, the 1970 Challenger offered a lot more muscle than your typical “pony car." Several engines were available, but the standard R/T had a Magnum V8 with 335HP. Upgrade to the Hemi and you were looking at 425HP. Drivers could roll with a 3-speed automatic or opt for a 4-speed manual. So how does the modern Challenger measure up? Engine options range from 3.6L to 6.4L. With the super fuel efficient AWD GT, you’re riding at 305HP. Ramp that up to 375HP for the R/T. And the all-powerful SRT Hellcat? A wild 707HP. As for transmission, you can go 6-speed manual or 8-speed automatic. Want to see that Challenger power in action? Check out our #DaleGas joyride in the mighty 2015 Hellcat!
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