2017 Dodge Challenger T/A and Charger Daytona: Iconic trims revived
In the world of automotive marketing, one of the most reliable strategies for moving sheetmetal and reinvigorating showroom traffic is adding a shot of moxie to the product line. And during Detroit’s annual Woodward Dream Cruise revival—highlighted this year by a unique drag-racing component—that’s just what Dodge is doing.
This is not to say there’s any lack of moxie or macho at Dodge, the Hemi headquarters of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. The Challenger and Charger have been the Dodge bad boys for decades, dating back to when their lineups included ultra-high performance models that served as homologation specials for sanctioning bodies such as NASCAR. And for 2017, two special editions—Challenger T/A and Charger Daytona—have been revived to commemorate those thrilling days of yesteryear.
Key elements of the package—braking, wheels, and tires—are adapted from the Hellcat-powered versions of the two models. On 6.4-liter (aka “392”) models, that means two-piece, Brembo rotors with six-piston calipers up front, four-piston calipers. Chargers and Challengers with the 5.7-liter Hemi get more aggressive brake pads.
The packages include 20-inch forged alloy wheels, 20x9 inches with 5.7 power, 20x9.5 inches with the 392. The big wheels wear high performance Pirelli and/or Goodyear tires.
Models with the 5.7 Hemi get a 2.75-inch catalytic converter-back exhaust system with electronic controls that adds menace to the V-8’s bark, and all versions are equipped with a Mopar cold air induction system.
Both specials are distinguished by specific cosmetic touches, performance-oriented steering wheels, paddle shifters (with the eight-speed Torqueflite automatic), and well bolstered racing style bucket seats.
Reviving a model name that was legendary throughout the 1960s, and the scourge of NASCAR in 1969, the latter day Charger Daytona special edition builds on the current Charger R/T 5.7 adding the items already noted, as well as Mopar’s Super Track Pack, which includes more aggressive suspension components, performance engine control calibration, 3-mode stability control (including a full off mode), high performance rear axle ratio, and a top speed limiter of 150 mph (up from the R/T’s 135 mph).
In addition to the 6.4-liter Hemi, the Charger Daytona 392 adds the Brembo brake package, 275-40ZR20 Pirellis all-season performance tires, active exhaust system, 180-mph speedometer, and heavy duty 220-amp alternator.
Styling elements include R/T Scat Pack front and rear fascias, rocker panel extensions, and satin black rear spoiler. The aluminum hood sports a NACA duct and Hemi logo, the rear deck sports a Daytona logo, and the wheels also wear the black satin paint.
Inside, the bucket seats are clad in ventilated black Nappa leather with alcantara inserts and Daytona logos. Other interior trim elements include Brazen Gold accent stitching, aluminum instrument bezels, and aluminum-clad foot pedals. The 2017 Charger Daytona will debut with a base MSRP of $40,985. Add $5,105 for the Charger Daytona 392.
The Challenger traces its origins to 1970, when Dodge participated in the Sports Car Club of America Trans American Sedan Championship (Trans Am), the last year that all domestic carmakers contended. Other players were the Ford Mustang (the ’70 series champ), Chevrolet, American Motors, and Plymouth.
While the 2017 Challenger T/A includes much of the Charger Daytona’s hardware, it comes in three trim levels—Challenger T/A, T/A Plus, and T/A 392.
Propelled by the 5.7-liter Hemi V-8, the T/A has a standard Tremec six-speed manual transmission (the eight-speed auto is optional), cylinder deactivation, bold exterior hues (Green Go and Yellow Jacket), and the option of hood pins. Inside the sport buckets are upholstered in houndstooth pattern cloth, and retro-style “tic-toc-tach” gauge cluster. The MSRP for the T/A is $38,485.
Among other features, T/A Plus adds the Nappa leather seats, Chrysler’s fourth generation Uconnect 8.4 infotainment system with Apple Car Play or Android Auto, power tilt/telescope steering column, and premium 276-watt audio. Dodge’s Performance Pages are baked into the Uconnect system. The Plus package lists at $41,235.
As the name suggests, the Challenger T/A 392 adds the 6.4-liter Hemi V-8 (and more urgency to 0-to-60 sprints, anticipated to be in the mid-4-second range).The 392 also has the so-called “air-catcher” headlights that first appeared on the Hellcat models—the inner headlamp is actually an LED-surrounded vent that sends cooling air inside the engine compartment. Opting for the 392 also adds the Brembo brake package, model-specific front suspension geometry, bigger forged wheels, plus specific identifying badges. The Challenger T/A 392 is $45,090, a price that does not include gas guzzler tax.
The 2017 special edition Charger Daytona and Challenger T/A models are due to roll into showrooms later this fall.