Ever see that guy on the street with the sign, “The end is near”? Generally, we just pass by and act as if it’s not, seeing that these folks have a poor track record with their fire and brimstone. So when enthusiasts post similar sentiments as the industry moves towards electrification, I simply walk on because I don’t entertain alarmists.
But over at Dodge, the end is coming. We’ve known this since last year, but we didn’t quite know what it would look like. Dodge has done a fantastic job exploiting the prowess of a platform that’s somewhat antiquated in today’s world (marketing majors take note) thanks to the wonders of horsepower, but the Challenger and Charger can’t continue like this forever. As such, Dodge announced yesterday how it plans to move towards that moment of uncertainty where you feel like the world is ending.
The last time you’ll be able to buy a V8 Challenger and Charger will be for the 2023 model year. But you can count on Dodge for pulling out all the stops in making the swan song a smorgasbord of horsepower, with some surprises along the way. Glancing at the ClassicCars.com Journal crystal ball, we predict many Boomers will be buying these and storing them in garages for future Barrett-Jackson low-mile sales, so let’s se what Dodges may be their mothball of choice for 2023.
Officially, there will be seven special-edition models. These cars were teased at a Woodward Dream Cruise event yesterday, so the cat hasn’t completely been let out of the bag. Six of those will have a connection to “iconic” Dodges from the past, with the seventh to be revealed at the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show in November 2022 . “Heritage” colors will be Plum Crazy, B5 Blue, Sublime, and a modern hue called Destroyer Grey. Each Challenger and Charger will come with a “Last Call” plaque underhood.
But wait, there’s more! SRT Jailbreak models will be expanded to include 717-horsepower Challenger and Charger SRT Hellcats. If you’re not familiar with Jailbreak models, you’re probably not familiar with Super Mario either so allow us to explain: for 2022, SRT Jailbreak models were introduced for the Challenger and Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye Widebody models where one has to “unlock” color combination ordering restrictions and exclusive content. For 2023, Jailbreak models will also be available for the 717-horse Challenger and Charger SRT Hellcat models.
Dodge also has a plan for distribution for 2023, again invoking a video game influence. “The entire 2023 Charger and Challenger model-year run will be allocated to dealerships all at once, helping customers identify and secure their dream cars more easily.” There’s an element of a treasure hunt to this, as Dodge will provide enthusiasts a guide for finding the location of the 2023 Challenger or Charger of their dreams via the DodgeGarage.com so you can learn more about the inventory of Dodge dealerships near and far.
If you like your Mopars and you like the sun, then maybe you will appreciate the officially sanctioned Challenger ragtop. Drop Top Customs, who claim the title of the oldest convertible coachbuilder in the U.S., will have Dodge send Challengers from Brampton, Ontario to Florida for the conversion, then back to a respective dealership. The cost to expose yourself to the sun while driving a new Mopar retails for $25,999. “Owners can order third-party modifications through our Dodge dealerships, and then pick up their finished convertible at the dealer once the vehicle is complete,” says Tim Kuniskis, Dodge brand chief executive officer.
And if your performance needs run a little utilitarian, the Durango SRT Hellcat returns for 2023 after taking a year-long respite. A 710-horsepower three-row SUV capable of running 0-60 in 3.5 seconds may be the answer to the question that was never asked, but this is America, daggummit, and we’re a country of beaucoup de horsepower. Other performance benchmarks include a 180 mph top speed (perfect for late-night pizza delivery) and an NHRA-certified 11.5 ET down the 1320. And, to be sure, this isn’t just about dropping a 6.2-liter Hemi into the engine bay and seeing what havoc can be wreaked—it’s about creating a balanced performance vehicle that hauls the goods. Witness the rear spoiler that provides 140 pounds of downforce at 180 mpg, the piston-cooling oil jets, the sodium-cooled exhaust valves, and dedicated cooling circuits.
If it’s feeling like 1970, I don’t blame ya, but the Malaise Era is not around the corner. Whatever performance tool you pick—Hellcat or eMuscle—go have some fun.