Gallery: The Modern Era of Mopar Muscle has Ended

On the morning of Friday, December 22, a black 2023 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon 170 Jailbreak rolled off of the Brampton Assembly Plant line in Canada, marking the end of production of the modern Mopar muscle car. Earlier that morning, a Destroyer Gray 2023 Dodge Charger R/T Scat Pack represented the final example of the high performance sedan to come down the line.

Two days earlier, a Velvet Red 2023 Chrysler 300S marked the end of production of the luxury-performance sedan. Those three cars represent the end of production of the “L cars” at Brampton and with an expected shift to smaller engines and electrification in the next generation, the modern era of the Mopar muscle car has ended.

When Dodge discontinued the Mirada and the Diplomat coupe in the early 1980s to focus on front-wheel-drive cars, Mopar fans found themselves without a new rear-wheel-drive, V8-powered coupe. There were still some rear-drive sedans with V8 engines offered later into the 80s, but in an era where the Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro were getting smaller and lighter, the Dodge had a hard time competing with their larger cars.

The Chrysler Corporation took to the streets with front-wheel-drive and turbo-four performance with a variety of sporty compact cars 80s and 90s, and the Viper redefined American performance when it came to market, but in the early 2000s, it had been decades since Mopar had built a proper muscle car.

The Debut of the Modern Mopar Muscle Car
That all changed at the 2003 New York International Auto Show, when the 2005 Chrysler 300C was shown for the first time. While it was a four-door sedan, it was a rear-wheel-drive platform and – more importantly – it packed Hemi power. The 5.7-liter Hemi V8 had debuted in production form in 2003 in the Dodge Ram 1500, but with the debut of the Hemi-powered 300C, the modern era of the Mopar muscle car had begun with 340 horsepower and 390 lb-ft of torque. The new 300 was joined in the 2005 model year by the Dodge Magnum, which came with the 5.7-liter Hemi in the R/T trim level.

For the 2006 model year, the Chrysler 300 was joined by the closely-related Dodge Charger, with the R/T model packing the 5.7-liter Hemi from the 300C and Magnum R/T, but more importantly, 2006 brought us the introduction of the 6.1-liter Hemi V8. This new, high performance Hemi was offered in the Charger SRT-8, the Magnum SRT-8 and the 300C SRT-8, delivering 425 horsepower and 420 lb-ft of torque.

2006 Dodge Challenger Concept world debut at the North American International Auto Show, Detroit. (Joe Wilssens photo)

The biggest news for 2006 was that the Dodge Challenger Concept was introduced at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, with a physical shape that hearkened back to the E-body Challengers, rear-wheel-drive, Hemi power and a manual transmission. Not all Mopar enthusiasts loved the new Charger with four doors and no manual transmission, but with the debut of the 2006 Challenger Concept, it was clear that a proper muscle car was on the way.

In late 2007, Dodge began taking orders for the new 2008 Challenger, which made its grand world debut in early February at the Chicago Auto Show. For that first year, the Challenger was only offered in SRT-8 form, with 425 horsepower, 420 lb-ft of torque and a standard 5-speed automatic transmission, but when the lineup expanded to a full model range in 2009, the manual transmission option came to the SRT-8. Of course, the 2009 Challenger also introduced the R/T model with the 5.7-liter Hemi, offering 372 horsepower (automatic) or 375 (manual) horsepower.

All-New 2006 Dodge Magnum SRT8 World Debut — LOS ANGELES – January 5, 2005 – Chrysler Group unveiled the all-new 2006 Dodge Magnum SRT8 for media at the Los Angeles International Auto Show today. Magnum SRT8 features an SRT-tuned 425-horsepower, 6.1-liter Hemi(R) engine that produces an additional 85 horses than the standard 5.7-liter HEMI engine to launch Magnum SRT8 in the low five-second range for 0-60 MPH, 0-100-0 MPH in the mid 16-second range and 60-0 mph braking in about 110 feet. In addition to the new powerplant, Dodge Magnum SRT8 sports all-new front and rear fascias and 20-inch forged-aluminum wheels. Dodge Magnum SRT8 will be available this summer. (Joe Wilssens photo)

Sadly, the Dodge Magnum only lasted until 2008, but the Chrysler 300, the Dodge Magnum and the Dodge Charger would continue on with relatively minor changes through 2011, when the 392 Hemi made its return. Offered initially in the Dodge Challenger SRT-8 in 2011 followed by the Charger SRT-8 and 300C SRT-8 in 2012, the 6.4-liter Hemi hit the market with 470 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque. This engine, coupled with the 5.7-liter Hemi, would provide the motivation for Mopar muscle cars through 2015, when Dodge changed the face of the American performance car scene with one word – Hellcat.


The Hellcat Era
Dodge introduced the redesigned Dodge Challenger and Charger for the 2015 model year with a refreshed exterior design, improved interiors and an engine that instantly secured its place in American automotive history. The supercharged 6.2-liter Hemi that powered the then-new SRT Hellcat models of the Challenger and Charger delivered 707 horsepower and 650 lb-ft of torque, marking the first full production American road car with more than 700 horsepower. Ford wouldn’t introduce a Mustang with more than 700 horsepower until 2020 and while Chevrolet never offered a Camaro in the 700 horsepower club, the bowtie crew broke into the 700+ club in 2019 with the Corvette ZR1.

In addition to the Hellcat models, the 2015 Dodge Challenger and Charger both benefited from the new R/T Scat Pack trim level, which featured the 392 Hemi with 485 horsepower and 475 lb-ft of torque. The Chrysler 300 SRT-8 did not continue into 2015, but the 300C with the 5.7-liter Hemi would be offered through the end of production in December 2023.

From the point that the Hellcat Hemi was introduced, Dodge began dominating then modern American performance market, but they didn’t become the first to offer 700+ horsepower and rest. Instead, they continued to improve on both the cars and the engines. In 2018, the Widebody version of the Challenger was introduced for Scat Pack and Hellcat models, with wider tires that led to better launch grip and better cornering, but more importantly, 2018 brought about the Challenger SRT Demon. With 840 horsepower and 770 lb-ft of torque on a factory-offered race gas tune, a specially tuned automatic transmission, unique suspension and factory drag radials, the 2018 Demon was the the quickest American production car ever – covering the quarter mile in the mid-9-second range.

In the 2019, the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat got a bump in power to 717 horsepower and 656 lb-ft of torque, but the Mopar muscle car also got the SRT Hellcat Redeye package. This package is similar to the Hellcat, except it features the larger supercharger from the 2018 SRT Demon, leading to 797 horsepower and 707 lb-ft of torque. Also in 2019, Dodge introduced the Scat Pack 1320, which was a drag strip-focused model, which uses features of the Demon and the 392 Hemi to make the quickest naturally aspirated car on the market.

2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon

For the 2020 model year, the Dodge Charger got the widebody treatment in Scat Pack and Hellcat form, with the one-year 50th Anniversary Daytona edition coming with 717 horsepower and 656 lb-ft of torque.  As for the 2020 Dodge Challenger, it gained the Super Stock trim level, which featured some track-focused components of the 2018 Demon and 10 extra horsepower compared to the Redeye for a total of 807 horsepower.

All SRT Hellcat Charger models would move up to 717 and 656 in 2021, but that model year also brought about the debut of the Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye with 797 horsepower and 707 lb-ft of torque. In 2022, there were no major changes to the Charger or Challenger, but the Redeye Jailbreak package was introduced, allowing buyers to mix and match interior and exterior colors to create a unique look, but the Jailbreak package added 10 horsepower, lifting 2022 Redeye models to 807 horsepower.

The 2022 Dodge Charger (left) and Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye Widebody Jailbreak models unlock color-combination ordering restrictions and add new factory-custom options to deliver enthusiasts the freedom to build their own “one-of-one” Dodge performance vehicle.

The Last Call
The supercharged 6.2-liter Hemi changed the face of the American performance market, allowing Dodge (and Jeep and Ram) to dominate their respective segments, but there was a downside to this era. The company sold hundreds of thousands of V8-powered models, causing the fleet fuel economy number to drop below the government requirements.

As a result, the company began racking up gigantic fines – $392.2 million for the 2016-2019 model years – and the rates for the 2020-and-newer model years are handed out at much higher rates, so Stellantis stands to face even greater fines for the 2020-2023 model years. To put a stop to the flow of high federal fines, the company announced the end of the modern era of the Dodge Challenger, Dodge Charger and Chrysler 300 for the 2023 model year.

2023 Dodge Challenger SRT Super Stock: The newest Dodge drag racing machine with 807 horsepower is the world’s quickest and most powerful muscle car

The Chrysler 300 end was a bit more subtle, with the 485-horsepower 392 Hemi from the Scat Pack cars being featured in the final 2023 Chrysler 300C, but Dodge went all out with their “Last Call” program.

The Last Call program began with an array of limited edition appearance packages that were based on Dodge history. This included the Challenger Shakedown, the Charger Super Bee, the Challenger Black Ghost, the Charger King Daytona and the Swinger package for both the Challenger and Charger. The Super Bee comes with factory drag radials, but for the most part, those packages mentioned above were purely appearance packages. That led to some negativity from the community, but Dodge boss Tim Kuniskis promised that the final Last Call car would be far more than an appearance package.

The 1,025 horsepower 2023 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon 170 makes its wheels-up debut run at the Dodge Last Call Powered by Roadkill Nights Vegas performance festival at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 20, 2023.

On March 20, 2023, Dodge hosted the Roadkill Nights event in Las Vegas, where they introduced the Challenger SRT Demon 170. The Demon 170 has a long list of package-specific features, but the most vital aspect is the final variation of the supercharged 6.2-liter Hemi V8. Thanks to a 3.0-liter supercharger and the ability to run on E85 ethanol blend, the 2023 Challenger SRT Demon 170 delivers 1,025 horsepower and 945 lb-ft of torque.

When coupled with a stronger drivetrain, specially tuned suspension and Mickey Thompson ET Street R drag radial tires, the Demon 170 comes with an official quarter mile time of 8.91 at 151 miles per hour. That makes this Challenger the quickest production car in the world, beating the top performance models from every European supercar company and the Tesla Model S Plaid. Best of all, while only a small portion of Demon 170s have been delivered at the time of this publication, a handful of private owners have already gotten into the 8-second range.

2023 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye: With 797 horsepower the Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye is the most powerful and fastest mass-produced sedan in the world

Final Numbers
Every modern Mopar muscle model discussed above has one thing in common – they were all built at Brampton Assembly in Canada. From the time when production of the Chrysler 300 and Dodge Magnum in February 2004 through the end of November 2023 (not including the December numbers), the plant built 184,000 Dodge Magnums, 853,000 Dodge Challengers, 1.4 million Chrysler 300s and 1.8 million Dodge Chargers for a total of 4.3 million modern Mopar muscle machines produced in 19 years.

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Dodge Reveals All-New 2009 Dodge Challenger Lineup Ð Pricing to Start in the Low $20's New York Ð March 19, 2008 Ð Chrysler Vice Chairman and President Jim Press unveiled the new 2009 Dodge Challenger lineup at the New York auto show today. Dodge Challenger R/T, powered by the 5.7-liter HEMI¨ V-8 with afive-speed automatic transmission produces 370 horsepower. and will be priced in the low $20,000 range. Also unveiled were the the Dodge Challenger SRT8 and Dodge Challenger SE with pricing starting in the low $20,000 range. Dodge Challenger R/T can go 0-60 MPH in less than six seconds while Challenger SRT8 can go 0-60 MPH in less than five seconds. The all-new 2009 Dodge Challenger merges the best American muscle-car characteristics Ð unmistakable design, world-class handling, powerful engines, and technology Ð designed to delight driving enthusiasts across several generations. (Joe Wilssens photo) For more information contact Rick Deneau at 248-512-2694 or Bryan Zvibleman at 248-512-2686.

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Patrick Rall

Industry News Editor Patrick entered the Mopar world when he bought his 1983 Mirada back in 1994, installing a mild 340 a year later that would eventually be built up into the range of 500 horsepower. Today, Patrick daily drives a Hellcat Challenger, but he still has his 340-powered Mirada, as well as a 1972 Demon 340 and a Hemi Ram.

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