On Monday, August 15, the Dodge brand held the first of three “muscle announcements” at the M1 Concourse road racing facility in Pontiac, Michigan. This first day of news focused on the current lineup, and brand boss Tim Kuniskis certainly didn’t disappoint, offering a ton of news on the 2023 Challenger, Charger and Durango. Along with updates pertaining to the Direct Connection catalog – all of which make it clear that Dodge isn’t letting the current generation of vehicles slip quietly into non-existence.
There is only one bit of news on the 2023 Dodge Durango, but it is a big deal. Dodge introduced the Durango SRT Hellcat with 710 horsepower for the 2021 model year. Due to the fact that the package did not meet government emission regulations, the supercharged SUV was sadly discontinued after that one year.
However, during the Speed Week Current Muscle Announcements, Kuniskis explained that the engine development team had figured out a way to get the supercharged 6.2-liter Hemi to meet federal regulations. So, it is back for 2023 without any drop in power. It will still pack 710 horsepower and 645 lb-ft of torque, while also being able to tow 8,700 pounds.
The 2023 model year will be the last for this generation of the Dodge Challenger and Charger. Good news, Dodge is making sure that they go out at full speed just like Vanishing Point.
First, every Dodge Challenger and Charger built for the 2023 model year will have a “Last Call” aluminum plaque under the hood. Plum Crazy, B5 Blue and Destroyer Grey are all returning for the final model year and the Jailbreak package is now available on the “standard” Hellcat models.
The Jailbreak package was introduced last year for the Redeye models, allowing owners to create their own unique combinations of colors, trim, wheels and options, but for 2023, the 717-horsepower Hellcat models get this package as well.
The biggest news from the first day of Dodge Speed Week announcements is that customers can now order a 2022 Challenger Convertible in any Hemi-powered trim level. The convertible package is ordered from a dealership like any other option, but it is not fully built on the Brampton Assembly line.
Once the Challenger rolls off of the assembly line, it is shipped to Drop Top Customs for the convertible conversion, then sent to the dealership for delivery. For the customer, there are no additional steps when compared to ordering a standard Challenger coupe, but the topless conversion isn’t cheap.
The Challenger Convertible package has an MSRP of $25,999, so a $65,000 Hellcat with the power drop top will cost just over $90,000. However, for someone who wants a more unique collectible Challenger from the final model year, this pricey package is likely to be relatively rare.
Finally, Dodge will debut seven “heritage-inspired” models coming for the 2023 model year over the next few months. The first six will all be buzz models. The first being introduced on August 24, and another debuting just about every week through the end of September.
These buzz models will not be available for ordering. Instead, Dodge will build and ship them to top dealerships around the country, with information on where to buy those vehicles posted on the brand’s website. Kuniskis said that these limited edition models will be sold like a “sneaker drop”, on a first come, first serve basis, likely making these very collectible in the future.
The seventh, which Tim Kuniskis has promised will be far more than a buzz model, instead joining the ranks of automotive legends, will debut at the 2022 SEMA Show in Las Vegas. This car was teased at the Monday Speed Week event in the form of a covered Dodge Challenger with the license plate “1FAST29”.
The Direct Connection will also have a few unique offerings to mark the end of the line of the current Dodge Challenger. This includes a Dodge Challenger body-in-white and a Challenger Drag Pak Rolling Chassis.
The body-in-white is just the basic body and chassis structure, but with a price of $7,995, it is a very affordable way to get a basis for a Challenger track build. However, if you are looking to drop your own engine and transmission in a ready-built drag car, the Direct Connection Challenger Drag Pak Rolling Chassis is the answer.
This package includes double-adjustable Drag Pak-specific tuned Bilstein coilover shocks, a four-link rear suspension setup, a Strange Engineering 9-inch rear end and Strange Engineering Pro Series II racing brakes. It will also come with Weld beadlock lightweight wheels with Mickey Thompson drag racing tires and a chromoly roll cage that is NHRA approved to run 7-second quarter mile times. This package costs $89,999, making it a very affordable option for someone who is serious about drag racing.
For those Dodge Hellcat owners who want to make more power, the 2.7- and 3.0-liter IHI supercharger kits will soon be included in the Direct Connection catalog, along with American Racing Headers for several models of the Challenger, Charger and Durango. Then for those folks building modern or classic cars with Scat Pack power, the 8HP70 transmission is coming to the Direct Connection catalog soon and in the near future, the 8HP90 will be available for builds with more power.
Finally, the Direct Connection catalog will soon begin offering carbon fiber parts from Speedkore for the Dodge Challenger, including things like the chin spoiler, the rear exhaust trim panel, the spoiler and more. Also, Dodge is working with the company Finale Speed to offer complete 1970 Dodge Charger bodies in carbon fiber. While these carbon fiber bodies are surely going to be expensive, they will definitely lead to some remarkable builds.