The Challenger, a muscle car that truly “challenged” every rival, and the industry as a whole, and became one of the most famous American muscle cars for sale then, and now. During the golden age of muscle cars, the Challenger was one of the three rivals in a three-way battle between the Chevy Camaro, and the Ford Mustang. It is a revival that was renewed in the late 2000s, with the unveiling of their respective next generation models.
During the height of muscle cars, however, the Challenger was a latecomer. It arrived early in the 1970s, when the market was already dominated by the Camaro and the Mustang. The Challenger had a monumental task ahead of it, and it would have to live up to its name if it was to succeed. To do this, Chrysler offered the Challenger in many engine sizes, to make it a flexible choice for potential car buyers.
It succeeded, and despite entering late into the game, the Challenger became a popular choice, even with many criticisms from experts and critics. It enjoyed a number of years in the spotlight, but eventually, its late entry caught up to it. Just as the Challenger was gaining ground, the interest in muscle cars, that were at the time, gas guzzlers, declined, in favor of smaller, more efficient vehicles. It ceased production in just 4 years, but during this time, 165,500+ units were sold.
The next generation Challenger arrived 4 years later, but it had very little in common with the original. It was technically and mechanically identical, but that’s where the similarities end. The design, the concept, and the whole objective of the car, which now sported smaller engines, focused more on luxury and style, and fuel efficiency, was a far cry from the 1st generation. It performed very well, and was sold in good numbers, having a longer production run than the first, but many saw it as a departure to the spirit of the Challenger, well into its stoppage in 1983.
25 years later, fans of the Challenger got their wish when the next generation Challenger, unveiled in 2008, sported a design that was taken from the first generation: large, powerful, fast. It sported large, powerful engines, came in a very “muscle” appearance, and re-ignited the 3-way rivalry with the next generation Camaro and Mustang. Next generation car fans were treated to a true muscle car experience, with advanced engineering and technology, but classic, muscle car spirit. It ensured that, well into the next decades, the Challenger would still be remembered as an icon.
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