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2020 Dodge Challenger Marks 50th Anniversary Of Iconic Muscle Car

Will Dodge Celebrate In Style?

Dodge Challenger

History buffs may have taken notice that 2020 marks a special milestone for the Dodge Challenger. While production has been on/off/on/off and on again over the years, the Challenger nameplate will turn 50 years old for the 2020 model year. It would be silly to assume that Dodge won’t celebrate this milestone with some sort of 50th anniversary package.

Said to be described as initially as a “rather late response” to the Ford Mustang, the Dodge Challenger skidded onto the scene in the fall of 1969 as a 1970 model year muscle car, with more colors than a crayon box, plus an incredible selection of eight engine choices. At the time, the Challenger played in the lineup above the (now highly sought-after) Plymouth Barracuda, and was more the answer to the Mercury Cougar and Pontiac Firebird, rather than the entry-level Chevrolet Camaro and Mustang.

Unfortunately, the coming-out party was short lived, and Dodge pulled the plug on the Challenger by 1974. We’d like to think the 1973 OPEC oil embargo had a lot to do with this, but the Challenger was indeed late to the party, as the pony car segment began to bust. Only 27,800 Challengers were sold in 1973, compared to its breakout year of 1970, selling just under 80,000 units.

The Challenger nameplate would be shelved until 1977, where it was actually a rebadged Mitsubishi Galant Lambda that was built in Japan. We won’t talk about that.

It took 25 years before the Challenger we know and love today took form. In 2008, as Chrysler seemed to be on its deathbed, it revived the muscle car nameplate, as a retro-styled coupe to compliment the Dodge Charger sedan in showrooms. 2010 was 1970 all over again, with muscle car consumers enjoying offerings from each Detroit Three automaker, between the Challenger, Chevy Camaro and Ford Mustang.

It might still be on relatively the same platform from over ten years ago, but the Dodge Challenger has only gotten better with age. Keeping the faith with its unmistakable design, and constantly adding little updates here and there – such as the GT all-wheel-drive package, and the introduction of the show-stopping Hellcat model with 707 horsepower. Then came the limited-run Dodge Challenger SRT Demon, with an uncharted 840 horsepower when on race gas.

The 2019 model year introduced upgrades to the Challenger Hellcat, boosting its supercharged output to 717 horsepower. And while Demon production was finished, Dodge revealed the 797 horsepower Hellcat Redeye, which can still be bought today. The 2020 Dodge Challenger is sure to continue this power trip.

2019 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye Widebody

 

Written by Manoli Katakis

Muscle Cars & Trucks was founded by Manoli Katakis - an automotive media veteran that has been covering the latest car news since 2009. His journalism has uncovered dozens of major product changes, updates, plans, and cancellations long before automakers were ready to make things official.

Some highlights over the years of his reporting include the uncovering of the Zora trademark before anybody else reported on the coming of a mid-engine Corvette, as well as the dead-accurate reporting of the coming of the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2, two years before it hit the market, and even before the debut of the concept vehicle. This type of reporting has immediately continued here, with reports of the original seventh-generation Camaro plans being shelved, as well as what's in store for the Chevrolet Silverado.

Some of his work can be found on massive automotive media outlets, such as Motor1. He also has been a guest on the 910AM Radio Station with Detroit News auto critic Henry Payne, as well as the enthusiast-oriented Camaro Show podcast.

Over the years, Manoli has interviewed various automotive industry titans, leaders, and people that make things happen otherwise. These include figureheads such as GM CEO Mary Barra, GM President Mark Reuss, automotive aftermarket icon Ken Lingenfelter, Dodge firebrand Tim Kuniskis, along with various chief engineers of vehicles such as the Ford F-150 & Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro & Corvette, and many more.

At MC&T, Manoli is taking his journalism expertise, deeply planted sources, driving abilities, and automotive industry knowledge to new levels, covering more vehicles and brands than ever before. This is the place where you will continue to read groundbreaking stories about American performance vehicles, pickup trucks, and sport utility vehicles. Here is where you’ll also read insights and quotes from various automotive subject matter experts on the latest relevant products, as well as some of the latest official news from their manufacturers.

Fun facts: he also once beat Corvette Racing driver Tommy Milner in an autocross with a Chevrolet Bolt EV. The biggest vehicle he’s ever driven is a John Deere mining truck. Besides a go-kart, the smallest vehicle he’s driven has been a Hyundai i10. He’s also spent time in the cockpit of various American performance vehicle icons, including the fifth-generation Chevrolet Camaro Z/28, Dodge Challenger Demon, and Ford Mustang GT350R. He has reviewed dozens of trucks, SUVs, and performance vehicles over the years.

One of his favorite new vehicles on the market today happens to be the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison. He is also a card carrying member of the Sports Car Club of America, and regularly participates in Detroit Region autocross events.

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