Saturday, 14 April 2007

Dodge Challenger's The World

Like we say you don't have to be a member of the Barry Newman fan club to see that it's a dead ringer for the 1970 Challenger R/T.
From the dual headlights to the kicked-up shoulders in back, the Challenger concept is a heritage design from top to bottom. Not everything is early-'70s vintage. Take a good look at that grille. Dodge designers managed to cram the Dodge crosshairs in there without making it look quite as obvious, or as hard to swallow, as the same treatment on the Charger. There's more 21st-century hardware under the lightweight hood in the form of a 6.1-liter Hemi V8 hooked to a six-speed manual transmission. And yes, it does have a pistol-grip shifter.

Built on a shortened version of the rear-wheel-drive LX platform used for the Charger sedan and Magnum wagon, the Challenger concept is more than just a one-off design study. Dodge officials told us that if there's enough positive reaction to this coupe on the auto show circuit we could see production versions as early as the 2008 model year. We can't imagine a poor reaction to this modern-day Kowalski cruiser, so as far as we're concerned the Challenger is a done deal.
With production of the 2009 Dodge Challenger slated for next spring, it was only a matter of time before prototypes started showing up. What we have here isn't quite a full-blown prototype just yet, but our newest spy photos show what appears to be the front clip of a Challenger grafted onto the body of a Charger R/T. This is a common practice when engineers want to test airflow to the engine of a car that has a radically different grille design compared to existing models. Despite the heavy camouflage, it's clear the Challenger's front end will look almost identical to the prototype which should come as no surprise given that Dodge officials have already promised minimal styling changes for the production Challenger.

With an official unveiling scheduled for the 2008 Chicago Auto Show, we expect this will be the first of many Challenger spy photos to come.

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