After 15 years in the muscle business, the third-generation Dodge Challenger is officially set to retire at the end of 2023 (together with the Charger). And with the Mopar people having already showcased the concept version of its successor, the 2024 Charger EV, you can bet that prices for certain third-gen Challengers will rise once production over at the Brampton Assembly in Ontario, Canada comes to a halt some months from now. And I’ll take you through 11 of those models below. You know, because 10 is never enough with these beautiful brutes!
According to multiple studies, such as one coming from automation specialist Zapier, the number of side hustles in America is booming. For 2022, 40% of Americans are engaged in a side gig, a noticeabble boost compared to 34% in December 2020, with most of these people having started their secondary activity in the past few years.
Having read this, I instantly though of a more or less similar path, albeit translated into one’s muscle car enthusiast life. Something along the lines of buying such a collectable Challenger before the expected price bump mentioned above and then enjoying it occasionally rather than locking it in a garage, while the car would still retain or even increase its value thanks to the limited mileage. Not quite a side hustle, but more of a financial guilt-free way of enjoy some good ole American muscle.
As a general rule, the modern Challenger isn’t particularly good at holding its value. Various sources show different depreciation rates for the “average” Challenger, with one of the lowest (by caredge) sitting at 29% after 5 years . After all, this is a mass-produced vehicle that defied all expectations by selling better with each new model year—the only exception saw the trend resetting—but then continuing—for 2020, albeit with that being the impact of the global health crisis. A total of over 783,000 units of the Challenger have found homes between its 2008 introduction and 2022.
2008 Challenger SRT8 First Edition
Speaking of the Gen III Dodge Challenger’s beginnings, I’ll kick off the list with the 2008 Challenger. As far as the US and Mexican models go, the OG was only available as a Challenger SRT8 First Edition, with production being capped at 6,400 units.
Sure, standards have changed meanwhile, so the five-speed automatic (the only tranny offered at the time) won’t be a thrill. However, the 6.1-liter HEMI V8’s 425 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque, along with the 13s quarter-mile time, are still respectable today.
Naturally, at the time of this writing, pricing for 2008 Challengers sat higher than in the case of newer 2009 or 2010 models using the said V8, obviously with this varying on the mileage and condition of the vehicles.
2011 Challenger SRT 392 Inaugural Edition
The second model on my list is the 2011 SRT 392 Inaugural Edition, of which 1,100 units were built for the US (plus 392 for Canada). While this edition brought somewhat limited exterior and interior features, the game changers here involve the tech novelties for that model year.
On the one hand, the otherwise respectable 6.1 HEMI was replaced with the 6.4L HEMI that we still get today, albeit in an updated version. Muscle jumped to 470 hp and 470 lb-ft of twist, and choosing the six-speed manual will bring you benefits in terms of both the driving experience and the resale value.
2012 Dodge Challenger SRT8 Yellow Jacket
This part of the article opens up the door for other similar edition, such as the 2012 Challenger SRT8 Yellow Jacket, of which just 1,300 were built as a nod to the 1969 namesake Challenger show car—go for the stick shift and that number drops to 641. And, being a 2012 car with a 6.4L HEMI, this benefits from two-mode adaptive suspension.
You’ll notice a bit of a model year jump here, as I’m moving straight into the 2015 model year (2014 calendar year) facelift of the Challenger. The main tech changes saw the 392 gaining 15 hp and 5 lb-ft of torque for a total of 480 hp and 475 lb-ft and, of course, the start of the Hellcat chapter.
This was also the model year when that five-speed auto made room for the current ZF 8-speed automatic. The latter is not just easier to use than the manual, but also quicker at the drag strip.
The brakes were also improved, with Hellcats and SRTs (not the only 6.4s, as this Apache V8 was also offered on the R/T Scat Pack as of the 2014MY) getting Bremo hardware: six-pistons calipers with two-piece 15.4-inch vented and slotted rotors up front and four-piston grabbers at the back.
The exterior changes include a new grille, quad LED headlights and functional hood vents, along with LED taillights. And since the Challenger was no exception to the average interior quality “rule” of the muscle car segment, the cabin updates were welcome. We’re talking about a 7-inch display flanked by retro-styled gauges, an 8-4-inch infotainment display and others. But none of these are standout, so we’ll move on.
2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon
Forget the only internal combustion muscle car coming with AWD from the factory, the 2017 Challenger GT, as that’s a V6. Instead, maintaining the chronological order, I’ll reach the 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon. Why is this the mack daddy? Well, thanks to drag strip-friendly, but still street-legal hardware like a Trans Brake, Torque Reserve, specific suspension calibration and Nitto NT05R drag radials, the Demon became the quickest production car when it came out, with an official quarter-mile time of 9.65s.
However, that requires race gas to take the 6.2L supercharged HEMI from 808 to 840 hp and a prepped surface—you may still have trouble hooking up—so the Demon isn’t your best choice for the road. Still, somebody is giving this Challenger Demon a six-speed manual swap!
Then again, with just 3,300 units being built for the US an Canada and prices sometimes climbing past the $200,000 mark, this leans more towards the investment part of the tale.
2019-2023 Challenger Hellcat Redeye
With the Demon being a one-year special, its throne was occupied by the Challenger Hellcat Redeye starting with the 2019 model year. Packing what is essentially a somewhat less beefy Demon HEMI, the Redeye treats the driver to 797 hp. By the way, having you seen this Redeye-swapped Viper doing its drag racing thing?
The tech upgrades setting this apart from the “regular” Hellcat include the beefed-up 8-speed automatic, the Demon’s Torque Reserve feature and SRT power chiller/after-run chiller, along with stiffer suspension and others.
2019 was also the model year that marked the introduction of the Widebody Package for the Scat Pack, Hellcat and Hellcat Redeye, with this adding wider wheels and tires, fender flares, beefed-up suspension and others.
2019-2023 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack 1320
Dodge hasn’t forgotten the N/A part of the Brotherhood, and the result is the Scat Pack 1320 Package. Introduced in 2019, this lives on for 2023, with production being limited (e.g. over 1,000 units for the first year and above 600 for the second).
The V8 offers the same 485 ponies, but the quarter-mile friendly treatment includes 20-inch wheels, optionally shod in drag radial tires, custom suspension tuning, a TransBrake, Torque Reserve, Line Lock and custom adaptive suspension. As with the Demon, this comes in standard with just one seat, which shaves some 114 lbs (you can once again add seating for your family for just $1).
Even without the available modifications for competing in the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) according to Stock and Super Stock class rules, the road version—this is the theme for today—can complete the 1/4-mile in 11.7s at 115 mph.
2020-2023 Dodge Challenger SRT Super Stock
The 2020 model year saw Dodge digging even deeper into the Demon parts bin to introduce the Challenger SRT Super Stock. Sporting a slightly more muscular engine than the Hellcat Redeye (think: 797 hp), this sports a shorter final drive, drag-friendly suspension and the same drag radials as the Demon. Once again, there are smaller brakes.
2023 Dodge Challenger Last Call
Any Challenger (and Charger) rolling off the production line in 2023 gets an aluminum plaque spelling “Last Call” under the hood, which will definitely boost the value of the vehicle in the all-electric future.
More importantly, Dodge is rolling out seven Last Call Challenger and Charger limited editions for 2023. For the coupe we’re discussing they include the Challenger Shakedown and Challenger Swinger (R/T Scat Packs), Black Ghost Special (Hellcat Redeye Widebody), along with a mysterious, leprechaun-teased, last-of-the-last Challenger that will be revealed on March 20, 2023.
There are many other ways of taking home a modern ICE age Challenger that can moonlight as an investment without getting the “barn find” treatment, but most of them require special attention: they’re either not road legal, come as “DIY” builds (think: rolling chassis or body-in-white) or involve now-officially-sanctioned third-party Challenger Convertible transformations. And if anybody finds extra ways to win at this drive and thrive Mopar game, I’ll be glad to hear about it.