Say It Ain’t So, Joe. Dodge to Cease Charger Production
Automologist MAC bemoans the end of an era.
On this side of the pond, this may not be such earth-shattering news, but over in the land of the muscle cars, the good ol’ U.S. of A that is, this is an event of cataclysmic proportions that is being called the end of an era. Dodge, of course, was the company that really helped the creation of the American muscle car, vehicles with insanely large capacity engines and manly-man styling.
In an announcement by Stellantis, the holding company based out of Amsterdam which owns Dodge, 2023 will see the last of the Charger and Challenger when they will cease production of petrol-powered versions and transition the marque into EV models. Even Tim Kuniskis, the Dodge CEO, described it as “the end of an era” but also claimed that they would in the future stay true to the Charger heritage as they start their “bright new electric future”, as Tim put it.
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It wasn’t until relatively recently that many overseas markets ever saw the American muscle car in any great number, other than in films that glorified them. Until, that is, Ford had the great idea to see if perhaps the most iconic of all the muscle cars, the Mustang of course, would sell overseas and it did, becoming the number one sports sedan in Germany of all places.
Yes, the ‘Stang, the Pontiac GTO, the Chevelle and Road Runner or Corvette and let’s not forget the Stingray and so many others. All had enormous engines and great straight-line speed, so why didn’t they get exported around the world? True they were great on big wide American roads but once they go to the twisty bits, then that great big overweight bit at the front (I am referring to the engine) was a bit too heavy and high.
Truth be told though, in my younger days, I could never work out why muscle cars had such big engines to produce relatively small amounts of power. When I lived in the States and owned a ‘Stang, I also couldn’t figure out why it had an antiquated leaf spring suspension and was so bad at cornering. But with that abundance of power, I could pick up the groceries AND have a drag race on the way home—oh, that awesome power.
Perhaps that is why they were always going to go the way of the dinosaurs. All that raw horsepower was something you wanted but not necessarily needed and when new engines that needed far smaller capacity to produce even more power were introduced, the death knell was sounding.