One place where the Mustang and Camaro one-up the Dodge Challenger in the pony car wars is in inviting the great outdoors in. Today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe R/T seeks to redress that inequity but carries a price that also may be less than inviting.
The comments for yesterday’s 2001 BMW 740i Sport showered the car with love for its looks, lovely M-Parallel wheels, and overall condition. A number of you also pointed out that, at 193K, most of the stuff that typically goes wrong with the cars likely already has, and hence it might not prove that big a risk in buying, especially at a mere $4,500 asking. Sadly for the seller, that seemingly wasn’t mere enough, and the big Bimmer fell in a narrow but conclusive 53 percent Crack Pipe loss.
You know, I often wonder how Fiat, Chrysler’s present overlord, feels about the brand’s Dodge Charger, Challenger, and Chrysler 300 models. These were, after all, designed by the company’s former foster parent, Daimler, and all still carry a good bit of Mercedes DNA to this day. I imagine it’s like dating someone and finding that they have an agreement wherein their ex lives under the bed. Creepy!
Regardless, big-ass muscle cars are really not Fiat’s jam, and that means an expensive re-platforming is likely not in the cards. The result is that they soldier on with minor tweaks and ever bigger and more powerful engines as that’s the best that Fiat can do.
Take for instance the Challenger, the company’s retro-mod pony car. It was introduced back in 2008 and it… well, looks almost exactly the same as it did a decade ago. Over that same span of time, Ford has given us multiple Mustangs and Chevy a couple of Camaros.
This would be a bigger issue if Chrysler hadn’t gotten the Challenger’s styling and layout spot on from the get-go. That retro styling feels reverent without being cliched and the car’s ample size has allowed for a plethora of enormous engines to take up residence under the hood keeping the model competitive, if not in the lead of the horsepower wars.
The only area where the Challenger seems to have dropped the ball is in offering a convertible edition. It’s too bad, but if you want to enjoy your pony car experience al fresco then you’ll have to seek the sun elsewhere. That is unless you know someone with a Sawzall and some hella big huevos.
In reality, I’m pretty sure this 2019 Dodge Challenger R/T convertible had a little more professional help in its transformation to open-top ride than that. After all, the thing looks completely factory with the top down or up.
The builders, a company with the unwieldy name Drop Top Customs by Convertible Builders LLC claims to be “the oldest aftermarket convertible converter in the United States.” Hell, they even offer a warranty on their work and parts.
The top is hydraulically operated and features a glass back window. The design matches the factory steel top’s contours and even offers retractable side windows for a full factory appearance.
The Challenger underneath the chop and top is well suited to the added weight. This is an R/T model with the Scat Pack package. The engine is a 485 horsepower SRT Hemi 6.4 and that’s backed up by a six-speed stick. It also carries the filling-loosening Brembo brake option which comes with red-painted calipers. There are only 9,000 miles on the dealer-offered car and it comes with the remainder of its factory warranty intact.
The exterior is painted Indigo Blue and carries black fender-topping stripes culminating in R/T logos on each of the rear flanks. Twenty-inch “Granite Chrystal” wheels underpin all that and carry all-season tires. By the way: All-Season and Allspice? Two totally different things.
The SRT pack adds a front splitter to the aero-aides and you’ll be pleased to note that the car still carries its yellow plastic protectors on that. Comically, the Monroney indicates this car carried a power sunroof from the factory. That shows as a $1,295 option which obviously wasn’t the best use of that cash.
The interior comes with custom perforated leather upholstery, in red, from KATSKIN. The convertible top well doesn’t seem to have stolen too much space from the back seat occupants, although the already tight boot space does suffer from its encroachment a good bit.
Everything about the car looks to be as-new, and the addition of the convertible makes this a fairly unique member of the Challenger family. Yes, it’s most likely heavier than the coupé, and railroad crossings are more likely to cause it to make like jello in an earthquake, but that’s the price you pay for open-top motoring when you want a Dodge these days.
The price you’ll pay for this particular drop-top Challenger is $63,000 and isn’t that a lot of numbers? That’s a good twenty grand over what a similarly spec’d standard Challenger might set you back, but then that’s with the addition of the fabric roof and fancy upholstery.
The question for you is whether those bits are worth all that. After all, you can buy a lightly used Challenger R/T coupé for a substantial discount over new since these cars tend to dependably depreciate.
Could this almost-new and be-headed edition actually command $63,000? Or, does that price have you thinking “on with its head?”
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