Remember the modern Dodge Challenger convertible for sale that made its rounds across the blogosphere a few weeks ago? The majority of muscle car enthusiasts seemed to enjoy it, but the kicker is that it’s not officially made by FCA. Instead, all of the Challenger cabriolets on the road are a product of the aftermarket, with many of them being manufactured by Drop Top Customs in Florida. Quite a few examples of them were parading topless during the 2019 Woodward Dream Cruise – a natural habitat for the swaggering Challenger coupe convertible.
We recently caught up with Kevin Hellman, product manager for the Dodge Challenger, and asked him about the prospect of a Dodge Challenger convertible, why there never was one for this generation, and if there will ever be one.
“I can’t speak on any prior vehicle development, or any future, but we are aware that people are meeting demand for a Dodge Challenger convertible through the aftermarket,” said Hellman to MC&T during the Roadkill Nights event two weekends ago. “I’ve seen one personally, it’s a pretty nice looking car. But like anything else, there has to be a business case that will support it.”
Whatever that might mean, Hellman couldn’t elaborate. Whether or not it revolves around architectural limitation of the Dodge Challenger’s “LA” platform was not provided. Even though the aftermarket currently offers a Challenger convertible, such an offering from the factory would require significant fortifications to the vehicle’s body to keep it from flexing.
“I can’t speak to what they do, and all the details that’s done to the car beyond just taking the roof off,” said Hellman.
It’s understood that FCA will continue to use the existing architecture (that’s likely well paid for at this point) to underpin both the Dodge Challenger and Charger for several years to come, as customers are content with FCA leaving well enough alone. By extension that means the product teams behind these muscle cars will have to find ways to keep the vehicles fresh for repeat customers, and that could eventually mean chopping the top. There are doubts that this could ever happen. But just as people didn’t think that the Challenger would ever get something like all-wheel-drive, doubters could one day be proven wrong.
The 50th anniversary for the Dodge Challenger is the 2020 model year, so we expect a few more aces up the sleeves of Hellman and company.