Dodge Speed Week 2022 kicked off with the incredible Roadkill Nights, a massive automotive festival built around the unique legal street racing program on Woodward Avenue in Pontiac, Michigan. For the past few years, Roadkill Nights has been the major focus for the Dodge brand leading up to the Woodward Dream Cruise, but this year, Dodge had events planned throughout the week between Roadkilll Nights and the Dream Cruise.
The middle of Dodge Speed Week included three days of private events centered around what the brand called “muscle announcements”. For Monday the 15th, the focus was the current Challenger, Charger, and other aspects of the modern-day lineup. Really, we all knew that Tim Kuniskis and his team would make the final year of the current generation muscle cars exciting, but they have gone above and beyond in terms of catering to enthusiasts and owners who want to go fast.
Before getting into all of the 2023 Challenger and Charger news, we should share the one piece of Durango news. The Durango Hellcat is back for 2023, and while Tim Kuniskis couldn’t say how long it will be around, he said that the powertrain engineers figured out a way to make the 710-horsepower SUV comply with all of the pesky government regulations.
News for Dodge Race Car Builders
If you are looking to build a monstrous modern Dodge, the brand will be very helpful in the coming months, thanks to the Direct Connection program.
First up, in addition to the normal road-going lineup of Dodge Challengers that will be offered for 2023, there will be two unique packages for those who want to build their own car. This includes the Drag Pak Rolling Chassis and a body-in-white.
The Drag Pak rolling chassis package is certified to run 7.50s in the quarter mile, featuring a TIG-welded roll cage made from 4130 chromoly tubing, double-adjustable Drag Pak-specific tuned Bilstein coilover shocks, a four-link rear suspension setup, a Strange Engineering 9-inch rear differential, Strange Pro Series II racing brakes and Weld beadlock lightweight wheels wrapped in Mickey Thompson drag racing tires. You just add the engine and transmission of your choice, and with enough power, you will have a car that performs like a Drag Pak. This package costs $89,995.
Now, if you have all of the components to build a race car, such as the suspension, brakes, and drivetrain, you can opt for the body-in-white package for just $7,995. This is the perfect option for anyone who has everything for their build except for a straight, clean body.
Next, Direct Connection will soon begin offering an array of new parts for the modern Challenger and Charger, including supercharger kits, headers, and transmissions. The supercharger upgrade kits will feature the 2.7-liter unit from the Redeye as well as the 3.0-liter supercharger from the Hellephant crate engine. These will make it easier for Hellcat owners to swap to a bigger blower for more power, with proper fuel system upgrades and tuning. For those who want better exhaust flow, Direct Connection will soon offer American Racing Headers for the Challenger, Charger and Durango, made from 304 stainless steel and for those folks who want a modern transmission in their build, the 8HP70 transmission from the Scat Pack will be offered in a plug-and-play package. Direct Connection will soon offer the 8HP90 as well, for bigger power applications.
Finally, Direct Connection will offer Speedkore carbon fiber body parts for the current Dodge Challenger, starting with items like the front splitter, the rear spoiler, and the lower diffuser. Also, the company Finale Speed will offer complete carbon fiber bodies of several classic Mopar® muscle cars, starting with the 1970 Dodge Charger and in the future, the Plymouth Roadrunner, and the Plymouth Barracuda. This will surely lead to some incredible restomod builds in the coming years, and it is nice to see Dodge paying homage to the legendary Plymouth nameplates.
New Models and Colors for 2023
The biggest Dodge street car news thus far for the 2023 model year is that the Challenger will be available as a convertible, but the topless muscle cars won’t exactly be built in Brampton. The cars will be assembled in the normal facility in Canada, but before being delivered to the dealership, the cars destined to be convertibles will be shipped to Drop Top Customs, where the hard top will be removed, and the soft top assembly will be installed. The Challenger convertible will then ship to the dealership where it was ordered, so from the customer’s standpoint, the process is no different than ordering a current, fixed-roof Challenger.
The Challenger convertible package is available on every trim level and can be applied to 2022 models as well. It includes the hydraulic power soft top assembly and structural reinforcements to prevent any body flex after the removal of the fixed roof. Drop Top Customs has built many modern Challenger convertibles over the past decade, but this is the first time that Dodge will work with the company to make it easier for customers to enjoy the open-air experience. However, with an MSRP of $25,999, it is a relatively pricey option, but with 2023 being the final model year of this era of the Challenger, we have little doubt that we will see some sold by dealerships.
In addition to the Challenger Convertible, the Dodge brand will unleash 7 other new models for the 2023 model year, all of which will be introduced in the next few months.
First, Dodge will introduce six “buzz models” which Tim Kuniskis has said will all pay tribute to a historic model. These cars will be introduced online starting later this month, with a new one every week or so through the end of September. Kuniskis also explained that these cars will not be ordered by dealerships or by customers, but instead, Dodge will build them and deliver them to dealerships as a sort of surprise. Kuniskis compared it to a “sneaker drop”, but he didn’t provide any details on how the dealerships will be chosen or when exactly these cars may show up at dealerships. There will be one more vehicle that debuts at SEMA and Kuniskis hinted that it would be another automotive legend. We expect that this car will be far more than a buzz model, but so far, the only hint to what that car might be is the license plate “1FAST29” on a covered Challenger.
Next, the Challenger and Charger will be offered in 14 exterior colors for 2023, including the return of B5 Blue, Plum Crazy and Destroyer Grey.
The Jailbreak package – introduced for 2022 on the Challenger and Charger Redeye – is now available on non-Redeye Hellcat models. This means that you can now order a 717-horsepower Dodge with whatever crazy combination of colors, wheels, badges and stripes your heart desires.
Finally, in addition to the special models introduced for 2023, all 2023 models will have a brushed aluminum “Last Call” plaque under the hood the points out that it is one of the final model year vehicles. This means that you don’t have to order one of the special edition models mentioned above to receive some commemorative badging. Speaking of badges, the R/T models with the 5.7-liter HEMI® will now sport a new “345” badge on the front fenders.
Full Transparency on Production and Inventory Numbers
Heading into the 2023 model year, the Dodge brand will announce how many Challengers and Chargers Brampton will build before production ends in December of 2023. As cars are allocated to dealerships around the country, that information will be shared on the Dodge website – and not just for the supercharged models. Potential customers will be able to see exactly how many examples of each car, by trim line, are available and will be available at every dealership.
Say that you are looking for a 2023 Challenger SRT® Hellcat Widebody in Go Mango. You can check your nearest Dodge dealership to see if they have one of those in stock or will be getting one soon. If they don’t have the car that you want, you can check other dealerships in the area to find the exact car that you want, including the six buzz models. Also, knowing the inventory levels of every dealership will allow customers to shop around and compare pricing, which could cut down on big dealer markups.
This program will also let prospective buyers keep an eye on the overall inventory levels of a particular model, so someone who is shopping for a particular car later in the year won’t miss out.
The 2023 model year might be the final year for the current Challenger and Charger, but the Dodge team is making sure that they go out on top, and that every enthusiast has a real chance to buy their dream muscle car before the end of the era.