Official Dodge Challenger Convertible Coming to Dealers This Fall
Dodge is setting up a system to order convertible Challenger R/T and SRT Hellcat conversions through dealerships when you buy a new model.
It's been over fifty years since a factory droptop Dodge Challenger graced America's roads, and I think we can all agree things have gone downhill since then. Perhaps this will smooth our country's troubled waters: a 2023 Dodge Challenger convertible is coming to dealerships starting this fall. But with a twist this time—instead of making the car itself, Dodge is partnering with coachbuilders Drop Top Customs to set up a streamlined ordering and shipping process when purchasing a new Challenger that effectively makes the convertible top a dealer option. The '70s are back!
Here's how it'll work: starting August 16, Dodge dealers will begin offering to arrange convertible conversions on new 2022 Dodge Challenger R/T, Challenger R/T Scat Pack, and Challenger SRT Hellcat orders, as well as for 2023 model year cars when those books open later in the fall. For $25,999, the cars will be sent directly from the factory to Drop Top Customs, where the work will be performed before the car is sent back to the dealer for final delivery.
The top itself will be power-operated, with full interior padding and a heated glass rear window. Dodge is promising "expedited ordering" and a "new, integrated transportation ordering process" to get it all done. A bit ominously, the press release notes that "final pricing [is] negotiated and confirmed with the dealer."
It looks excellent with the top down, a bit less so with it up, but show me a convertible where that isn't true. You can see in the images that trunk space is definitely compromised by the folding top mechanism, but it looks like you could still stuff a fair amount in there.
Despite being older than time, the current-gen Dodge Challenger has managed to hang with the Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro in sales and carve out its own space as a throwback muscle car determined to win the horsepower war at all costs. Where it hasn't measured up is its lack of a factory convertible offering, which always seemed like a natural fit for the car's straight-lined design and comfortable cruising behavior. But given that we're late in the fourth quarter with the Challenger and Dodge's R&D money is all but committed to the model's electric successor, it's logical that the cost of developing a convertible in-house was too great. Enter: Drop Top Customs.
The Florida based company has also been around since the 1970s, and more recently it's gained attention as one of the few aftermarket shops putting out Challenger convertibles that don't look hacky. Beyond the finishing work, lopping the roof off a unibody car is usually a disaster for structural rigidity and overall handling (and, you know, safety), doubly so for a V8, rear-wheel-drive bruiser with 700+ horsepower. Drop Top Customs adds extra bracing in the front and back to compensate for that, though specifics are a bit light at the moment. We'll try to find out more about how exactly these are built tomorrow.
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