By on November 20, 2019

When Dodge first built a Challenger, back in 1959, it was actually a Coronet. A decade later, the car returned as the spiritual foundation of the coupe we know today. Presumably, the name is intended to represent Chrysler rising to meet the Challenges laid by rival manufacturers already building American muscle. But we can nitpick here endlessly, going back to the 1950s and giving the pentastar brand plenty of credit for going bananas on horsepower.

It would actually take decades for us to realize the Challenger’s true purpose — serving as a canvas for a hilarious number of special edition vehicles. Thankfully, they usually turn out to be fairly enjoyable and totally on brand, leaving us with little to complain about.

For the Challenger’s 50th anniversary, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles plans to offer limited production Dodges in new colors with commemorative bling. It’s basically the same recipe Ford used for the 50th Anniversary Mustang but with some additional brashness from Dodge. However, while those Fords only came in Wimbledon White and Kona Blue, the Challenger comes in every high-impact paint color FCA has at its disposal — including Gold Rush. 

Both models paid homage to the vehicles’ heritage, but Dodge has always managed to stay much closer to its roots (and out of its mind) with the Challenger. That’s a double-edged sword, with no shortage of pitfalls. You can’t argue with the results, especially if you’re interested in a roaring grand tourer positively dripping with nostalgia. However, we also know it’s not an automobile suited to everybody’s taste.

FCA says all Challenger 50th Anniversary Editions will receive an interior comprised largely of Nappa leather and Alcantara with Sepia accent stitching, real carbon fiber accents, and unique 50 badging throughout. That includes the gauge cluster and seat backs, in case you suddenly forgot where the extra money went.

Limited to just 1960 examples, Dodge is breaking everything down by color — issuing 280 models in Gold Rush, Frostbite, Hellraisin, Sinamon Stick, TorRed, F8 Green (a personal favorite), and Go Mango. That is further broken down into four models, which get 70 examples of each color.

Those include the Dodge Challenger GT RWD (the only model that doesn’t receive a shaker hood as standard), R/T Shaker, R/T Scat Pack Shaker, and the latter’s wide-body counterpart. They’ll all be issued a plaque indicating their production order in the aforementioned groups of 70. Special edition models receive retro wheels Dodge is calling “Gold School” and gunmetal brakes. The latter item is, once again, optional on the rear-drive GT.

AWD Challengers are ineligible, but 50th anniversary touches will be fitted to all 2020 model-year Challenger SRT Hellcat and Hellcat Redeye models by default.

Dodge says it’s asking an extra $4,995 for the Challenger 50th Anniversary Edition, but that only applies to the lowest trim level. Climbing the ladder ends at $5,995 with the Scat Pack cars, which do come with the most content. Orders open next month, with deliveries commencing in the spring.

[Images: FCA]

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18 Comments on “50 Years Deep: Dodge Challenger Special Editions Keep On Coming...”

  • avatar
    R Henry

    FCA continues to give its customers what they want. Hey GM…watch and learn.

  • avatar

    I’m 90% of the way decided on parting with my old E36 M3 and getting a Charger Scat Pack Widebody next summer. That’ll be my big middle finger to the Mustang Tuna Maki and all the other lame CUVs out there. Thank you, FCA, for this grand opportunity!

    While Ford and GM intentionally crap on their enthusiast customers, FCA has given us these fine vehicles, which do not seem to get old. Even the automatic that I’ll have to take with the Charger doesn’t bother me too much.

    • 0 avatar

      You will love it. I drove one recently and the power just flows like a torrential waterfall when requested with your right foot. Maintenance costs should be 75% less than the M3. I loved the Charger SP. Only thing I need is AWD for winter around these parts. Next step up is the Durango SRT for me.

      • 0 avatar
        MRF 95 T-Bird

        I recently purchased a leftover 2018 Challenger GT awd. It suits my needs well eliminating the need a crossover since it seats 4 or 5, has a large trunk and awd. Being a life long Ford fan I seriously considered a Mustang but the extra room sold me.

  • avatar

    I get it but it’s a bit disingenuous. It’s more like Challenger 18 when you consider it wasn’t made between 1975 and 2007.

  • avatar

    And by the time I would get a chance to order one, I would expect them already sold, even before assembly.

  • avatar

    The original cars were soooo much better looking than these giant hideous boxes. Why do they make them so ugly? A had a Challenger R/T as a rental last year. Complete with the wait-just-a-second I’ll-get-around-to-it throttle delay, Drove it about 1200 miles, I wasn’t sorry to see it go.

  • avatar

    American’s don’t learn from either history or tragedy. It is pretty obvious the French owners of PSA will cut these fine muscle cars.

    • 0 avatar

      I hope you’re wrong, but I’m afraid you are right. I have no real hope that most companies are being run sanely anymore, and if you think about it, so many crazy things have been done by car companies over the years. The screwups by GM alone are almost endless.

  • avatar

    >50 Years Deep: Dodge Challenger Special Editions Keep On Coming…

    And so do the recalls:

    FCA = Dodge testing, RAM into production…

  • avatar

    About to trade my 2012 Challenger R/T in. 106,000+ mostly trouble-free miles, with a sticky steering rack being the only hiccup. Will hate to see it go, but our current situation calls for a 4WD-capable truck, not a sedan. Would recommend the Challenger without hesitation.

    As far as the “Complete with the wait-just-a-second I’ll-get-around-to-it throttle delay”, that just means you’re doing it wrong by driving an automatic Challenger ;-)

    Seriously, I own a Ram 1500 with that same ZF transmission, and the smooth and immediate response is what I (and many others) love about it. Perhaps that Challenger’s transmission’s programming needed an update?

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