2008 Challenger Officially Unveiled at Chicago Auto Show

Just two years after debuting as a concept car at the 2006 Detroit Auto Show, the Dodge Challenger is now ready to tear up the roadways after a 35-year absence.

    With its unveiling earlier this week it became official, the folks at Chrysler are reviving a name last used in the late ’70s and early ’80s on a compact, four-cylinder Mitsubishi-built coupe.

    This time around, though, Chrysler is going back to the roots of the brand with a tough rear-wheel-drive coupe.

    Unlike the original, which had a jaw-dropping nine powertrain options, the 2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8 has just one: a 6.1-liter, HEMI V-8 with 425 horsepower. Chrysler says the new Challenger can go from zero to 60 mph in a jaw-dropping 5 seconds and from zero to 100 in less than 17 seconds.

    Chrysler LLC reintroduced the legendary pony car at this week’s Chicago Auto Show.

    The new Challenger holds true to its ancestry with the long hood, wide stance and racing stripes of the original, which was introduced in the fall of 1969 as a 1970 model and phased out five model years later.

    And, if you liked the original orange color, rest easy, the same paint scheme is still available.

    But this time, the Challenger also has a navigation system, keyless entry and a hands-free communication system.

    Government emissions regulations were part of the undoing of the original Challenger, and it remains to be seen how well the new version will do in an era of high fuel prices and tightening federal fuel economy rules.

    But Chrysler marketing chief Deborah Wahl Meyer said last month that the company wasn’t worried since it had already sold 9,000 Challengers through its dealers, even though the car doesn’t arrive on the market until later this spring.

    Dodge will offer the 2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8 in three colors: orange, silver or black. Each of the two-door, rear-wheel-drive coupes will have a numbered dash plaque.

    The Challenger will hit the streets with a suggested retail price of $37,995.

    The Chicago Auto Show opens to the public Friday after two days of media previews.


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