Was the Original ’70s Dodge Challenger a Failure?

The Dodge Challenger is one of the most beloved muscle cars from the Golden Age of American performance. It looked great, had racing pedigree, and could be optioned with everything from a thrifty slant-six to a fire-breathing Hemi V8. But there’s another reason why the Challenger looms large in our collective automotive imagination: It died young. The Challenger was around for just five model years, from 1970 to 1974, just long enough to experience the peak of the muscle car movement, and disappear before things got really bad.

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8 thoughts on “Was the Original ’70s Dodge Challenger a Failure?”

  1. The timing was off and the A body Duster and Demon offered 95% Of the thrills for a fair bit less money. The duplication of efforts was where they went wrong. The Barracuda should have been the Challenger (cuda is a bit shorter) and the Duster should have been the Barracuda. That would have differentiated the lineups better.

    Biggest mistake was abandoning the pony car after ’74. The camaros and mustangs were a mixed bag in the coming years but if you’re going to be an American automaker, you HAVE to have a serious performance car. There was always parts in the bin to put something competitive from ’75 to ’04 but Ma Mopar just chose not to.

  2. Challenger and cuda were conceived to rival mustang camaro and amx for road racing. Amx being the most competitive. The Ebodies were dead last :( That’s when they became muscle cars rather than pony cars. Mopar was a monster in Nascar so they didn’t even bother with making the Es more competitive. And…I’m ok with that.

  3. I loved the challenger but I was too young to handle that car. I lost my license and could not purchase one. Almost did in 1976. The car was a 1972 with a 383 magnum looked like the car in the movie point limit zero. Loved the car but could not drive it had to let it go.

  4. Carl Naquin says:

    No opinion on the Challenger, my first car was a two year old Barracuda, I loved it and it served me through all my college years and four yeARS after graduation. I sold it because I had another two cars and a pickup truck and was getting married.
    In 20/20 hindsight I should have kept it, it was used in a robbery murder and overturned in the fet-away.

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