New 2009 Dodge Challenger R/T Classic: $33,280
Now that Chrysler has its bailout money, the automaker is trying to go back to business as usual. Though its factories are set to “off,” the automaker unveiled a few new concepts at the 2009 Detroit auto show. Hidden beneath those drab displays was a diamond in the rough: a new trim level for the Dodge Challenger.
Dubbed the R/T Classic, the new Challenger will be available in February for a just-announced price of $33,280 (destination tacks on another $725). That’s $3,460 more than a standard R/T. They're not at dealers yet, but you can order one now.
The R/T Classic steals even more styling cues from the 1970s Challenger, including new dual body racing stripes, original Challenger badging and the original “B5 Blue” paint job. Additionally, all R/T Classics come with functional dual hood scoops. Twenty-inch wheels replace standard 18s as part of the package. They’re a $1,350 option on a standard R/T.
The R/T Classic is available with either a six-speed manual or a five-speed automatic transmission. Like the regular R/T, opting for the six-speed manual will give you a 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 that packs marginally better power and performance numbers than the automatic V-8 — which features a fuel-saving multi-displacement system.
There’s also performance-tuned dual exhaust — deleting the muffler for two low-restriction resonators – which enhances engine back pressure and exhaust throatiness, Chrysler says.
With Chrysler sales down 30% for the year, the automaker has been hurt more by this recession than other automakers thanks to its lackluster lineup of vehicles. The Challenger remains one of the automaker’s few sales successes, racking up 17,423 sales in 2008. The Challenger only went on sale in the spring of 2008, and initially only in limited numbers as an expensive SRT8 model. So the pony car has the potential for continued success in 2009, despite the bad economy.
Adding a nostalgic trim level that panders to Baby Boomers — a buyer who traditionally buys this type of car — can only help the Challenger’s prospects in 2009.
Challenger R/T Classic
- 376-hp, 5.7-liter V-8 with 410 pounds-feet of torque w/Tremec six-speed manual transmission
- 372-hp, 5.7-liter V-8 with 401 pounds-feet of torque w/five-speed automatic transmission
- Performance-tuned exhaust
- B5 Blue paint R/T racing strips
- “Challenger” fender badging in classic script
- Body-colored rear spoiler
- Chromed fuel-filler door
- 20-inch polished chrome wheels w/all-season performance tires