Law enforcement officials across the nation will be eager to learn about Dodgeâ€™s new Shakedown package for the Challenger and … oh, whatâ€™s that, Steph? Not that kind of shakedown? Alright then.
In an effort to inject a bit of interest in a car that was introduced a year before Barack Obama took the Oath of Office for the first time â€“ beyond, yâ€™know, psychotic 707- and 840-horsepower editions â€“ Dodge has tossed a stereo and a bit of wallpaper at its retro two-door.
The all-new Shakedown Package is available on Shaker-equipped Challengers of the R/T, R/T Plus, and 392 Hemi Scat Pack variety. The package adds an Alpine audio system, white-faced gauges, and asymmetrical black racing exterior stripes. That wallpaper is said to have been inspired by the 1971 Dodge Shakedown Challenger concept first shown at the 2016 SEMA show in Vegas. This package will hoover $995 from your bank account.
Audiophiles take note: With the upgraded Alpine deck (deck? Iâ€™m dating myself), the R/T Shaker receives six speakers and a 275-watt amplifier, while customers of R/T Shaker Plus and 392 Hemi Scat Pack Shaker machines are treated to nine speakers and a 500-watt amp.
Hot-rod Challenger R/T and R/T Plus coupes are powered by the venerable 5.7-liter Hemi V8, making 375 horsepower and hooked to a six-speed manual. Hairy-chested 392 Hemi Challengers have a 6.4-liter under the hood making 485 horses. It, too, has a stickshift. The 392 Hemi is an engine which, oddly, demands 0W-40 synthetic oil. Thereâ€™s your Jeopardy trivia for today.
Technically, all three are available with FCAâ€™s eight-speed TorqueFlite automatic, but any customer choosing that option in this car should have their driverâ€™s license revoked immediately. Someone whoâ€™s lost the use of their left leg is exempt from this rule, but thatâ€™s about it.
This, of course, is not the first special edition package thatâ€™s been hurled at the Challenger. Far from it, in fact. A myriad of paint options have appeared over the years, ranging from the fabulous B5 Blue to aggro-named Destroyer Gray. In fact, the entire Dodge palette is a fantastic tour of an alternate-reality Skittles menu: SubLime, TorRed, Go Mango, and Plum Crazy just to name a few. This extrovert thinks it is wonderful.
To be fair, the Challenger has gotten its fair share of upgrades since 2009, the most practical of which being a revised interior that upgraded the two-doorâ€™s cabin from Playskool materials to a very agreeable design. This author dailies a Pentastar-powered Charger and, now that the youngster is more than old enough to heave himself in and out of the backseat on a school run, only the prospect of once again having a car payment is preventing me from visiting Blaikieâ€™s Dodge and signing the note on a slightly used model.
Last year, Dodge moved a total of 64,537 Challengers. Thatâ€™s within shouting distance of its best year, 2015, when 66,365 of them roared off dealer lots. Murica!
(Matthew, 2003 called and wants half of its headline back – Ed.)
[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]