For starters, customers can finally order a Dodge Challenger convertible. You can buy a convertible version of the Ford Mustang or Chevrolet Camaro for a long time now. Now, after 14 years on the market, the Challenger, which is considered to be something of a competitor to those two ‘pony cars’, will finally be available as a convertible that you can order directly from the dealer.
Both the Challenger and Charger will be phased out after the upcoming model year as Dodge prepares to sell electric cars in the future.
Until now, if you wanted a convertible Dodge Challenge, you had to find a custom shop to remove the roof and do the extra work on the car’s body and frame. Now Dodge is streamlining the process. Dodge Challengers will still not be built as convertibles at the Ontario, Canada plant, where the cars — along with Chargers and Chrysler 300 sedans — are made. Instead, Dodge has contracted with a Florida auto customization shop called Drop Top Customs to turn the hardtop coupes into convertibles.
Despite its similarities to the Mustang and Camaro, the Challenger is a bigger, heavier car. It is about 10 inches longer than a Ford Mustang. The Challenger shares much of its basic engineering with the Charger and Chrysler 300 four-door sedans.
Turning a hardtop car into a convertible involves much more than just removing the roof. In most modern cars, the roof provides some of the structural rigidity that keeps the vehicle’s body from flexing and bending over bumps and when cornering. When the roof is removed, additional reinforcement must be added to the rest of the body to prevent that unwanted twisting. Jeff Moran of Drop Top Customs said the company has been working with Dodge to make convertibles since 2008, but the dealer’s new ordering process streamlines the purchase. The company can make up to 5,000 convertibles a year, Moran said.
These convertibles will not be cheap. The suggested retail price of the conversion is approximately $26,000. Prices for a base model Dodge Challenger coupe with a V6 engine start at about $30,000. V8-powered Challengers start at about $38,000. That means that even the cheapest Challenger convertible costs about as much as a Mercedes-Benz C-Class convertible or $20,000 more than a Ford Mustang convertible that produces comparable horsepower compared to base models. For the extra money, however, the Challenger buyer will have a car that is at least much less common on the road.
In addition to the convertible conversions, Dodge will also make a range of “Last Call” special edition Charger and Challenger models available. Details about those cars will be revealed later. Also, Dodge will return the 710-horsepower Durango Hellcat high-performance SUV that was offered for the 2021 model year, but which Dodge had said would no longer be offered after that.
Along with Chrysler and Jeep, Dodge is one of the 14 car brands of Stellantis, the company that was formed when Fiat Chrysler Automobiles merged with the French PSA in 2021.