Readers Rides

The Dodge Challenger: From Lows To Highs.

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By Mark Weisseg

We all know about the current Dodge Challenger. It seems every other commercial at present shows a Challenger doing a 100 foot burnout or ripping through the night looking for its next prey. All true when you have 707 hp under the hood, so you have every right to consider yourself a badass.

The ad. featured here is of the second-generation Dodge Challenger, 1978–1983. I was spinning wrenches when this car came out, yet again. We all just cringed. Just like today’s Dodge Dart ( that was just axed again) we dreaded that Challenger in its new cut down form. Four cylinder, small, over hyped and loaded with bells and whistles. The car was slow and ugly. It did not deserve to be called a Challenger.
It was an insult to the Challenger name of old to reuse the name on a car that was nearly all Japanese, on a car that was an all American car. It turned my stomach and quite frankly pissed me off and not just me. We had technicians laugh at the car when it came in for service. We hoped it would fail and fail quickly.
Unfortunately, it did but almost took the whole company with it. Chrysler was so out of touch back then and so bad we all lost respect for the once great company that provided the great Roadrunner, Charger, the real Challenger, Superbird, and so on. We were happy it bombed.
There are many reasons why only a few years earlier, they were making vehicles that would stand the test of time, then produce cars, a shadow of their former selves. Gas prices, insurance prices, legislation, they lost their way big time, but now they are back on track.

We are happy the Charger and Challenger are back and back big. FCA found its footing again and understands us consumers will not let this bs happen again. It has been a long wait, but worth it. Thank goodness.

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