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Challenger: back to '70s-era muscle

November 23, 2005|Jim Mateja | Chicago Tribune

Chrysler has again returned to the past to come up with a car for the future.

The automaker, which looked to the 1970s muscle car era to create the 2006 Dodge Charger, has gone back to that time to pluck another muscle car nameplate, the Challenger. It's on a concept of a car that Dodge says will take a bow at the Detroit Auto Show in January.

Though Challenger is expected to join the Dodge lineup in about a year, Tom Tremont, vice president of advance product design for Chrysler Group, wouldn't confirm that timetable.

Challenger is derived from the same platform as the Chrysler 300 sedan, with two major changes: It is built on a shorter wheelbase, 116 inches versus 120, and it's a two-door, not a four-door. "With Charger, we have a muscle sedan; with Challenger, a muscle coupe," Tremont said.

Challenger features the 6.1 liter, 425-horsepower version of Chrysler's Hemi V-8 engine with a six-speed manual transmission. Chrysler officials wouldn't speculate on Challenger volume, but a limited build of 5,000 to 10,000 annually is expected.

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