Confirmed by several Stellantis employees on social media on Friday was the end of muscle car production at the Brampton Assembly Plant. Nearly 20 years of building LX-platform vehicles, now behind us. More bitter than sweet is the occasion, as the end of the current-generation Dodge Charger, Dodge Challenger and Chrysler 300 mean an end to the best horsepower:dollar ratio one could find anywhere.
Whatever comes next will not be anywhere close to as affordable, whether it comes down to cylinder count, horsepower, or variety. Inflation, regulations, and certain societal pressures are all working against the muscle car, and the American auto industry has firmly entered Malaise Era 2.0. The send off was one last 1,025 hp Dodge Challenger Demon 170 that rolled off the Brampton assembly line before workers hit the lights, heading into the last week of 2023 for a well-deserved break.
The Brampton Assembly plant produced Dodge and Chrysler LX-platform muscle cars since 2004, with the RWD Chrysler 300 and Dodge Magnum wagon, followed by the reborn Dodge Charger in 2005. Come 2008, the year before Chrysler LLC’s bankruptcy, the retro-futuristic Dodge Challenger roared onto the scene, capped by the SRT8 that ushered in second golden age of muscle cars. That was just the beginning.
In 2011, Dodge introduced the Charger and Challenger SRT, with a new 6.4L “392” Hemi V8 engine, answering to the recently launched fifth-generation Chevrolet Camaro. But the game truly changed in 2014, with the introduction of the Challenger SRT Hellcat. At 707 horsepower, the Challenger Hellcat was the most powerful production muscle car the world has ever seen at the time. And even crazier, it stickered for just $60,990 USD. This product truly created unequaled brand cachet for Dodge, with the “Brotherhood of Muscle” fanbase growing on the ethos of giving the people more power for the money than anybody else dared to.
Then came the Charger SRT Hellcat for the 2015 model year, then the 840 horsepower, 9-second Challenger SRT Demon for the 2018 model year. Then the widebodies, and the 797 hp Redeyes. Then the crate engines. And the quality awards. Then the 811 hp Challenger Super Stock, and the Stage Kits, and finally, the “Last Call” models. This was capped by the 1,025 horsepower Challenger SRT Demon 170, the quickest, most powerful production muscle car ever with a quarter-mile time of under 9-seconds.
For the American performance car enthusiast, it was the best of times, and most of us had no idea.
The last LX muscle car to roll off the Brampton Assembly line was a Pitch Black 2023 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon 170. The finale muscle car emerged through the chute, just before the lights went out. At first, it was expected the plant would run until December 31st. And we have no idea on the final tally on just how many Demon 170s, let alone other varieties of the Challenger and Charger were able to be finished before the deadline.
We can only salute the Brampton employees for their years of hard work, building some of the most sought-after, iconic and powerful automobiles the world has ever seen.
Next for Brampton is the next-generation Jeep Compass in 2025, riding on the STLA Medium architecture. As for the successors to the Dodge and Chrysler LX muscle cars, that duty will be passed to the Stellantis Windsor Assembly plant, where we’ve already seen leaked images of the next-gen Charger’s body, confirming that the future will be far more than just electric.