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A gray 2024 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye, is shown parked near a wooded area.

A Last Hurrah for Dodge’s Gas Engine Muscle Cars

You have heard of special edition sneakers, and those whisper groups on the Internet chasing down the hard-to-find information on where to snag this or that pair of kicks. Now, there is a similar phenomenon happening with Dodge muscle cars. In current auto news, fans of Dodge’s classic muscle cars, the Challenger and the Charger, are searching high and low for the rare final editions of these two models. The hunt has been active since roughly the end of 2022, but with rumors that the new 2024 Dodge Charger EV will be out in early 2024, there is a new urgency around snagging the final few gas-engine muscle cars that represent the end of an era.

As government agencies begin to crack down on fuel economy and emissions, it is no surprise that muscle cars like the Challenger and Charger are making a quick exit. These powerful, lion-like vehicles with roaring engines are nothing if not terrible on gas mileage. Okay, there are many other great things that we are sad to be losing. For many, the sound of a gas engine Charger is the sound of nighttime shenanigans in their childhood neighborhood, or having that first sip of beer at a race track with that beloved relative. Gas engine Challengers and Chargers will always hold a place in our hearts, but they have no place in the current climate crisis. Here is a look at how Dodge’s transition from gas-engine muscle cars to EV technology is going.

An orange 2023 Dodge Challenger SRT is shown driving on a highway.

Last Call for Fuel Sippers

Stellantis has announced that after 2023, the gas-engine Dodge Challenger and Dodge Charger will be discontinued. They understand that these are not just any cars, but cars with cult followings. These cars represent an escape, a taste of the good life, and a thirst for a bit of danger. You can’t just take these away from people the same way you could, for example, take away a Honda Accord (no shade to Honda, but people do not typically feel that an Accord is a part of their identity the way they do a good muscle car). To recognize and honor the significance of this moment, Dodge released a limited number of “Last Call” editions of the Challenger and Charger for 2023.

Stellantis has been keeping an updated list on its website of the dealerships across the country carrying these limited editions. In total, there are seven models, but a handful of stand-out models have to be the 717-horsepower two-door Challenger SRT Hellcat, the four-door Charger SRT Jailbreak, the Challenger SRT Demon 170, and the Durango SRT Hellcat. Some might know that the Hellcat SUV went away for a moment because its fuel emissions were not up to the ruling parties’ standards. However, Dodge made some improvements, and its street (and air) legal again.

A Look at the Special Editions

The Charger SRT Jailbreak Last Call Edition is highly customizable. You can choose satin hood and roof options, badge colors, seatbelt colors, leather seating, and customizable wheel elements. Under the hood is a supercharged 6.2L HEMI High-Output V8, producing 807 horsepower and 707 lb-ft of torque. It gets Brembo brakes for nearly instant stopping power, race cool-down systems for those times when you push it to its limits, and a sport-tuned performance suspension.

The 2023 Challenger SRT Demon 170 can go from zero to 60 in 1.66 seconds, which is kind of scary but also amazing. It gets wide racing tires, and comes standard with just a driver’s seat. Buyers can add front and rear passenger seats for a $1 each, a publicity stunt, to be sure. Maybe that will take some of the sting off of the $96,666 price tag. Maybe nobody cares because they just want to get their hands on one.

Drivers can also add a sunroof, leather interior and improved sound system to the SRT Demon 170, but you’d probably rather listen to the roar of this engine, as it’s nearly the last of its kind. Speaking of that engine, it runs on ethanol. Though cleaner than traditional gas, it only pulls in MPGs of 13/21 city/highway. Again, true lovers of the Challenger will say, “Who cares?”

The Durango SRT Hellcat gets a Supercharged 6.4L HEMI V8 engine and can go from zero to 60 in 4.7 seconds. If you need more passenger space so all of your friends can experience breathtaking acceleration, this should do the trick. The performance SUV combines cargo with a beautiful amount of chaos with paddle shifters, Brembo brakes, seating for six, and 17 cubic feet of storage space with all three rows of seating deployed. It can also tow up to 8,700 pounds. You don’t often come across a vehicle that is truly equal parts utility and performance vehicle, but this is that SUV.

Looking Ahead At The 2024 Dodge Charger EV

Dodge showed off a concept car of the electronic Charger in August of 2022, but it’s still wrapped in quite a bit of mystery.

What we do know is that the entry-level model will get a 400-volt propulsion system and 455 horsepower, while the midrange one will get a 440-volt system kicking out a horsepower of 590. Allegedly, drivers can call for horsepower bumps through an over-the-air system, but you’ll have to ask your dealership about that.

There isn’t much out about the top Banshee model yet. However, Stellantis did say it will outshine the Hellcat, so one can only imagine it will be very powerful. Here’s something people who are hesitant about EVs might like (or cringe at): the new Challenger EV will get a sort of fake engine roar sound out of its “exhaust” that pumps out 126 decibels. Dodge just didn’t want people to have to kiss that engine roar goodbye.

EVs Are Coming at Us Faster Than a Dodge Challenger

We all knew this day would come. You’ve probably found yourself watching your friends start their engines at sundown, during one of the classic neighborhood block races, and thought, “This won’t last for long.” Like cigars and high-fructose corn syrup, Dodge gas engine muscle cars feel so good but are not good for us. Dodge understands it’s time to hang up its hat when it comes to gas-engine muscle cars, but they wouldn’t leave their loyal gas engine customers without a proper goodbye.

The 2023 limited edition “Last Call” Challenger and Charger models are still around, if you can find them. Snagging one is like buying a little piece of history. Dodge is pulling out all the stops with these last few cars, with exhilarating performance and unique style features. You might want to get one before they run out. Or, maybe you’re ready for the switch to EV, in which case, you’re in luck. The 2024 Dodge Charger EV is just around the corner, probably very, very fast, but also very quietly–unless you unleash that fake exhaust note.

Hopefully, Dodge has many more EV muscle cars in the works, because their speed-hungry customers won’t know where to turn once the original models go away. Clearly, they know how to make very fast cars. These new ones just happen to run on a battery. Let’s hope they do it right, and over, and over again.