Whether it’s born of marketing cunning or sheer necessity, Dodge has developed a decided talent for taking old stuff and making it seem new.
Case in point: a new subgroup trim on the long-running Challenger that restores the “T/A” name after what the brand says has been a 46-year absence.
It’s Dodge’s latest burnout down nostalgia road.
The 2017 Challenger T/A, T/A Plus and T/A 392 take the current Challenger R/T trim lineup and gussy it up a bit, adding new graphic elements to the exterior and interior as well as high-end performance enhancers.
First introduced in 2008 on a shared platform that is a remnant of Chrysler’s previous failed marriage to Daimler AG, the Dodge Challenger has remained popular, especially after frequent product interventions. The big two-door received its last makeover in 2014, when it received, among other upgrades, a new electrical system that enabled use of Fiat Chrysler’s 8.4-inch Uconnect touch-screen infotainment system.
There was also that little Hellcat thing at about the same time, but honestly, who remembers that?
The new T/A family will share some common features, including:
- Satin black painted 392 hood, with a T/A induction system.
- Illuminated “air catcher” headlamps with T/A logo etched into the ring.
- Mopar cold air intake with conical air filter.
- White-face gauges on the instrument cluster.
- T/A body-side stripes.
Available options on the vehicles include $295 corded hood pins, a throwback to Dodge’s storied muscle-car era from the 1960s and early 1970s, as well as branded car covers and other optional equipment.
All of these upgrades, of course, come at a price, according to marketing materials seen by Automotive News. The base-level T/A, for instance, starts at $38,485, including delivery. That’s a $5,395 upchargeover the 2016 Challenger R/T on which it’s based. Similar markups are reflected in the $41,235 T/A Plus as well as the $46,090 T/A 392, which also includes a $1,000 gas guzzler tax.
Dodge’s new Challenger T/A family is the brand’s latest effort at wringing more sales from its nearly decade-old Mustang/Camaro fighter. And if interventions such as this didn’t work, presumably Dodge would quit doing them.
The brand’s success with previous Challenger packages -- the Scat Pack and Shaker subtrims rumble to mind -- have helped keep the Challenger relevant, despite its advancing age. Through September, the Challenger’s U.S. sales are down just 2.1 percent to 51,141 this year following a 29 percent jump in 2015.
As of now, a full redesign of the Challenger onto Fiat Chrysler’s new Giorgio platform (which also underpins the new Alfa Romeo Giulia) is still at least a couple years away.
But as with anything else at FCA, that timing is subject to change, quite often at a moment’s notice.