In 1970, gas was cheap, horsepower was king and Dodge introduced a slightly stretched rebodied Barracuda they called Challenger. It offered huge engines that delivered pavement-scorching acceleration. After just four model years of poor sales, The Dodge Boys pulled the plug. Fast forward 38 years. Gas is expensive; the average car buyer is more interested in fuel economy than horsepower. Dodge has introduced a slightly cut-down Chrysler LX they call the Challenger. It offers a huge engine, pavement-scorching acceleration and they've pre-sold the first 6.4K. The Detroit News— and practically every other automedia outlet– have lavished the Challenger redux with praise. But then again, the media loved the big-engined 1970 model when it first hit the market. I predict the same rapid demise for the new Challenger. There are just so many baby-boomers wanting to relive their 20s; a 34-year gap means the model has no relevance to younger buyers. Even with a V6, demand will be extremely low. In fact,should Chrysler avoid C11, I give the Challenger two years. Good for collectors, bad for Chrysler. They failed to learn from Ford's "re-imagined" Thunderbird and direct their time, talent and money into developing a small car– instead of trying to recapture past glory they never really had. Next up: the Camaro!
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