AUBURN HILLS, MI – Stellantis wraps up an 18-year run of gasoline-powered muscle cars with a string of ’23 model-year vehicles, from a limited-edition Dodge Challenger SRT, a Durango SRT Hellcat and a Challenger convertible.
The Challenger and Charger nameplates date back to the beginning of the muscle-car era in the 1960s and 1970s.
The vehicles roll out during the coming year as the company winds down production at its Brampton, ON, plant. Production of the rear-drive cars at the plant ends in December 2023, but Stellantis officials are quick to assure that future product will come to the facility.
The 36-year-old Brampton Assembly Plant, which currently builds the Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger and Dodge Challenger, will be retooled and fully modernized beginning in 2024 as part of a $2.8 billion investment. When production resumes in 2025, the plant will introduce an all-new, flexible architecture to support the company’s electrification plans. Stellantis says at least one new EV will be built at the plant outside Toronto.
Among the highlights for the coming ’23 model year:
- Seven special edition models in a “rainbow of heritage colors,” to be unveiled between now and November when the last Dodge model will debut at SEMA in Las Vegas. The special models wrap up production at Brampton that began with launch of the Charger in 2005. Since then, the plant has built 3 million Dodge vehicles, powered by a billion horsepower, says Tim Kuniskis, Dodge brand CEO.
“We are celebrating the end of an era – and the start of a bright new electrified future – by staying true to our brand,” Kuniskis says. “At Dodge, we never lift, and the brand will mark the last of our iconic Charger and Challenger nameplates in their current form in the same way that got us here, with a passion both for our products and our enthusiasts that drives us to create as much uniqueness in the muscle car community and marketplace as possible.”
- The Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat (below) returns to the lineup for a single-year final run. Powered by a supercharged 6.2L Hemi V-8 producing 710 hp and 645 lb.-ft. (875 Nm) of torque, the Durango claims a 0-60 mph (97 km/h) time of 3.5 seconds. The brand previously sold the model in 2021.
- Dodge contracts with Drop Top Customs to offer a convertible version of ’22 and ’23 Dodge Challengers. Dodge is relying on Drop Top Customs’ 46-year history of creating convertibles to create the open-air Challengers. The convertible option adds about $30,000 to the cost of a Challenger.
- Finally, Dodge will expand its Direct Connection performance parts portfolio to include everything from rolling chassis, body in white, crate engines and transmissions and carbon-fiber reproductions of pre-1979 muscle car bodies.