By Dave Ashton
After stumbling across this Facebook post by Braby Motors it brought into sharp focus the almost 50 year evolution of the Dodge Challenger. The two Challengers shown here are a 1971 Challenger R/T 440 with 425HP and a 2019 Challenger Red Eye with 797HP.
Firstly, thanks to Braby Motors, Canada for the fine images. Secondly, it shows the stark contrast of how the Challenger has progressed over nearly 50 years. First introduced in the fall of 1969, the E-body Challenger had a lot in common with the Plymouth Barracuda, but had a longer wheelbase and more luxurious features.
By the mid-1970s, like most muscle and pony cars, the Challenger started to get its wind knocked out of its sails by a number of factors such as escalating insurance prices, fuel shortages and clampdowns on emissions. This obviously didn’t stop healthy engines being fitted, such as the 440 cu in (7.2 L) and the 426 cu in (7.0 L).
The very weird looking second generation lasted from 1978 to 1983, with a comeback in 2008. The current platform has proved ever popular, with a design shakeup predicted in the next few years. However, with models such as the Challenger Redeye with its mighty 797HP, it looks like the platform could easily keep going for years to come.
Comparing the vintage to the new shows how the designers have mixed in a very aesthetic way, the old and the new in the latest platform with arguably more muscular looks than the originals. No wonder the current platform is still going strong over 10 years later.