The Dodge Challenger is the name of three different automobile models marketed by the Dodge division of Chrysler since 1970.
The Challenger is described in a book about 1960s American cars as Dodge’s “answer to the Mustang and Camaro.” It was one of two Chrysler E-body cars, the other being the slightly smaller Plymouth Barracuda. “Both the Challenger and Barracuda were available in a staggering number of trim and option levels” and were intended “to compete against cars like the Chevrolet Camaro and Ford Mustang, and to do it while offering virtually every engine in Chrysler’s inventory.” However they were “a rather late response to the ponycar wave the Ford Mustang had started.”
Four hardtop models were offered: Challenger Six, Challenger V8, T/A Challenger (1970 only) , and Challenger R/T with a convertible version available only in 1970 and 1971 , although there were no factory-built R/T Challenger convertibles for 1971 ; the R/T continued as a model on the hardtop body style however .
The performance model was the R/T (Road/Track), with a 383 CID Magnum V8, rated at 335 bhp (249.8 kW); 300 bhp (223.7 kW) for 1971, due to a drop in compression . Standard transmission was a 3-speed manual. Optional R/T engines were the 375 bhp (279.6 kW) 440 cu in (7.2 L) Magnum, the 390 bhp (290.8 kW) 440 CID Six-Pack and the 425 bhp (316.9 kW) 426 cu in (7.0 L) Hemi.
A 1970-only model was the Dodge Challenger T/A (Trans Am) racing homologation car. In order to race in the Sports Car Club of America’s Trans American Sedan Championship Trans Am, it built a street version of its race car (just like Plymouth with its Plymouth ‘Cuda AAR) which it called the Dodge Challenger T/A (Trans Am). Although the race cars ran a destroked version of the 340, street versions took the 340 and added a trio of two-barrel carburetors atop an Edelbrock aluminum intake manifold, creating the 340 Six Pack. Dodge rated the 340 Six Pack at 290 bhp (216.3 kW), only 15 bhp (11 kW) more than the original 340 engine (and mysteriously the same rating as the Camaro Z/28 and Ford Boss 302 Mustang), it actually made about 320 bhp (238.6 kW).