By on March 9, 2018

2018 Dodge Challenger Shakedown

Law enforcement officials across the nation will be eager to learn about Dodge’s new Shakedown package for the Challenger and … oh, what’s that, Steph? Not that kind of shakedown? Alright then.

In an effort to inject a bit of interest in a car that was introduced a year before Barack Obama took the Oath of Office for the first time – beyond, y’know, psychotic 707- and 840-horsepower editions – Dodge has tossed a stereo and a bit of wallpaper at its retro two-door.

The all-new Shakedown Package is available on Shaker-equipped Challengers of the R/T, R/T Plus, and 392 Hemi Scat Pack variety. The package adds an Alpine audio system, white-faced gauges, and asymmetrical black racing exterior stripes. That wallpaper is said to have been inspired by the 1971 Dodge Shakedown Challenger concept first shown at the 2016 SEMA show in Vegas. This package will hoover $995 from your bank account.

Audiophiles take note: With the upgraded Alpine deck (deck? I’m dating myself), the R/T Shaker receives six speakers and a 275-watt amplifier, while customers of R/T Shaker Plus and 392 Hemi Scat Pack Shaker machines are treated to nine speakers and a 500-watt amp.

Hot-rod Challenger R/T and R/T Plus coupes are powered by the venerable 5.7-liter Hemi V8, making 375 horsepower and hooked to a six-speed manual. Hairy-chested 392 Hemi Challengers have a 6.4-liter under the hood making 485 horses. It, too, has a stickshift. The 392 Hemi is an engine which, oddly, demands 0W-40 synthetic oil. There’s your Jeopardy trivia for today.

Technically, all three are available with FCA’s eight-speed TorqueFlite automatic, but any customer choosing that option in this car should have their driver’s license revoked immediately. Someone who’s lost the use of their left leg is exempt from this rule, but that’s about it.

This, of course, is not the first special edition package that’s been hurled at the Challenger. Far from it, in fact. A myriad of paint options have appeared over the years, ranging from the fabulous B5 Blue to aggro-named Destroyer Gray. In fact, the entire Dodge palette is a fantastic tour of an alternate-reality Skittles menu: SubLime, TorRed, Go Mango, and Plum Crazy just to name a few. This extrovert thinks it is wonderful.

To be fair, the Challenger has gotten its fair share of upgrades since 2009, the most practical of which being a revised interior that upgraded the two-door’s cabin from Playskool materials to a very agreeable design. This author dailies a Pentastar-powered Charger and, now that the youngster is more than old enough to heave himself in and out of the backseat on a school run, only the prospect of once again having a car payment is preventing me from visiting Blaikie’s Dodge and signing the note on a slightly used model.

Last year, Dodge moved a total of 64,537 Challengers. That’s within shouting distance of its best year, 2015, when 66,365 of them roared off dealer lots. Murica!

(Matthew, 2003 called and wants half of its headline back – Ed.)

[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

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38 Comments on “Shake It Like a Polaroid Picture: New Package Arrives for the Dodge Challenger...”

  • avatar

    Another special edition for the fat pig based on a 20-year-old taxi?

    /flame suit ON!

    • 0 avatar

      That “fat pig” outsold both the Mustang and Camaro last month.

      • 0 avatar

        As someone who owned a ’70 in HS(and whose best friend owned a 70 ‘cuda), the new one does indeed remind of that hot girl from HS who shows up to the 10 year after 3 kids. Still pretty,but the magic is gone.

      • 0 avatar

        mjz, every dog has their day. Lets see if they can maintain the pace!

        Ford is still ahead for the year but Dodge isn’t far behind and both have left the Camaro in the dust.

        As for the Camaro its hard to say if its the styling or the ergonomics or both since the Challenger is so obviously retro.

        Ford obviously made a mistep in styling (well as far as it goes in print and online but it looks better in person, especially in darker hues. Also I think the Mustang is getting a wee bit pricey for what you get depsite being in the sweet spot between Camaro/Challenger size, performance and every day usability.

    • 0 avatar

      Everyone loves bacon! If Challenger is the bacon of the muscle cars then flame on.
      We are fortunate to have so much HP to choose from. Mustang, Challenger, Camaro….keep it competitive.

    • 0 avatar

      Your point?

  • avatar

    That car is badass.

  • avatar

    It’s all I can do from running over to the local FCA dealer and scream “Take my money”!!!

  • avatar

    Still waiting for dodge to release a convertible version.

  • avatar

    This is still the best looking muscle car of the past 30 years.

    Make mine a manual 6.4

  • avatar

    FCA really needs to do something about the cars on the LX platform. The 300 is the worst, heading into its 5th year without any hint of a restyle, let alone a new platform.

    • 0 avatar

      Again I say – Sergio has hinted at the new 300 being based on the Pacifica platform AND about a next gen Charger being Giulia based. (None of these are good things.)

      Corn-fed American’s don’t want no Eye-talian based Charger/Challenger.

    • 0 avatar


      You nutz?

      Still very good cars.

      Couldnt disagree with you more.

      • 0 avatar

        What is the motivation for a major redesign?

        The 300 and Charger have a monopoly in the segment of full size rear wheel drive domestic brand sedans and they still sell reasonably well, and the cars are very competent by most metrics unless you absolutely need a BMW badge.

        Okay there is the CT6 but no one buys it.

        • 0 avatar

          Very true. They’re the last RWD V8 powered freeway cruisers left, and do that very well.

          The lack of a major redesign has a secondary effect: the 300, Challenger, and Charger are now iconic designs.

          Only the 300 could use a minor improvement: add 8″ to the length for a bigger trunk, and call it a Newport or New Yorker.

    • 0 avatar

      Yeah, like supercharging the 6.4L. 6.2 is weak.

  • avatar
    Big Wheel

    Despite the age of this car and the Charger, I find myself strangely attracted to them with the 392 Hemi in Plum Crazy Purple.

    But of the three current pony cars, I would still take a 2018 Mustang GT.

  • avatar

    Why do I have to get the ridiculous ugly fat retro coupe body to have the 6.4 and a six-speed? Give me that combination with four doors, please. Coupes shouldn’t be the size of full-size sedans.

  • avatar

    20 years from now we will reminisce how Dodge got it right. I enjoy the larger size car, helps on the longer drives.

    • 0 avatar


      Self styled auto enthusiasts:

      “remember when Detroit/Dearborn/Auburn Hills made kick butt V8 muscle cars based on family sedans? Why did they go and screw up it up by changing every thing and then going FWD and 4 cylinder?”

      the same auto enthusiasts:

      “why does Chrysler not update their affordable fulls size RWD sedans? And why do they only offer 3 V8s in the thing? Boo FCA!”


  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    One last dance before the band packs up for the evening.

    In the summer of 1969, I was living in LA with my college roommate and his family, working the night shift at the Dolley Madison cakes factory on Figueroa street (it’s still there!). My roommate’s kid sister was dating a guy who owned a Dodge 440 Charger that he let her drive around. (she was, as we would now say, Hot!) Somehow I talked her into letting me drive the beast, so long as I promised not to act the fool. I promised and, by the exertion of considerable mental effort, managed to keep the promise. (It helped that she was in the car.) . Truly a beast to be tamed, with a clutch that could double as a leg press machine.

    So, as I and the rest of my generation approach looming senescence, a car like this is truly tempting. Though, in some ways, it undoubtedly will be disappointing. The clutch will be smooth, the idle will be smooth, the throttle will be linear and it won’t leave a cloud of unburned gasoline in its wake.

  • avatar

    These days I own two Mustangs ..Previously I’ve owned two Camaro’s a Firebird and another Mustang .

    Hopefully before they move me into Sunny Acres I will have a Challenger in my garage : )

  • avatar

    Dear FCA,
    I want a Challenger. I am taken in by the allure of a comfortable, high powered coupe that my wife and kids can fit into. I have played footsie with your BUILD-AND-PRICE tool so many times it owes me more than dinner. But here’s why it’s not going to work. $7000 to upgrade to a V8. And that’s for the little brother 5.7 that gets its lunch money taken by the GT and the SS. To go to the big brother 6.4, you make me shell out $12,000 over the Pentastar. Love shouldn’t hurt like that. Ditch the V6 and make the 5.7 the standard engine. You know you want to. Offer the 6.4 as a $1000 upgrade and let’s do this.
    My Midlife Crisis

    • 0 avatar

      lol… Have you tried looking at AutoTrader or CarGurus to see what the actual transaction prices are?

      I see “little brother” listed for around $35,000 in Charger R/T format at dealers around me. I think that is pretty reasonable.

      Speed costs money. How fast do you want to go?

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