It’s the week of the 2022 SEMA Show, and Dodge is officially in attendance with what has to be the biggest booth in the entirety of the Las Vegas Convention Center. There, customers will find new Direct Connection crate engines, an updated electric Charger Banshee Concept, and a lot more. And while there’s plenty of new products on display, Dodge still had to hold something back. Originally, the brand was going to reveal the seventh and final “Last Call” limited edition Challenger, which was supposed to be a muscle car for the record books. While Dodge has been transparent about the delay, speculation was that it had something to do with global supply chain issues. But the reason Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis gave to media was something far more explosive.
Final Dodge “Last Call” Challenger Engine Setback
During recent Dodge SEMA Show backgrounder briefing attended by MC&T, Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis revealed that the final “Last Call” model is so powerful that the engines would explode during durability testing. The automaker’s protocol requires a new engine to clock dozens of hours running flat out on the dyno before it’s certified for sale.
“We’ve grenaded seven engines, literally,” said Kuniskis. “But I think we got it figured out… if we don’t blow up any more, we’re still doing this. We’re still doing this anyways. It’s just gonna be a matter of when is it going to be. So, deep breath, a little bit of a pause, and we’re going to be back on track we’re hoping Q1 (2023)… it’s a cool car, and it will be a funny story later when it all works out.”
Kuniskis did note that it would have been much “easier” to get the high-output engine to pass quality testing if it were subject to the less stringent standards that 885 hp Direct Connection Stage II kits or crate engines like the 1,000 hp Hellephant are subject to. The latter two are more lax because they don’t need to go through production vehicle duty cycles. This could also be a clue as to what Dodge was aiming for with the grand finale of the LX Platform, in terms of output.
Considering that the 797 horsepower Hellcat Redeye, 807 horsepower Challenger Super Stock, and 840 horsepower Demon were all able to pass FCA’s production cycle validation test, it goes to show that Dodge has to really be pushing the limits of the Hemi V8 engine architecture here. Which, as a family of some of the most powerful mass produced engines on the planet, is saying a lot.
“This will be a commemorative car, it will celebrate something that came before it, but unlike the other ones… that had the standard power that was in the car, this was going to be the only one that we were gonna add some more power to. Quite frankly, we ran into some problems.”
During the same presentation, Kuniskis added clarity regarding how customers can find the other six “Last Call” special edition Chargers and Challengers through a special “Horsepower Locator,” as well as detailing the Stage 2 Charger SRT Daytona Banshee Concept that will be on display at the Dodge SEMA Show booth.
In the meantime, fans can still aim to get their hands on the other limited edition models, including Shakedown, Super Bee, Swinger, Black Ghost, Go Mango, and King Daytona. With the help of Dodge’s new 2023 Dodge Horsepower Locator website, potential buyers can enter their zip code and the spec of the vehicle they want. They’ll then receive a list of nearby dealers who’ll be getting that precise model, and if nothing is found, buyers will be able to expand their search nationwide.
The final “last call” Challenger is set to celebrate a car that came before it, with the only clue so far being a license plate that reads “ONEFAST29.”