2009 Dodge Challenger R/T: This Coulda Been Our Challenger
May 10, 2010
You'll notice that the Challenger pictured above is not, in fact, our tasteful, black long-term runner. No, this is the car that our Challenger could have been, had we decided to bolt on a bunch of new Mopar parts to our car as we once considered doing.
Well, life got in the way of Mopar-izing our long-termer. But our friendly neighborhood Mopar folks recently loaned us a TorRed Challenger kitted out with pretty much everything they have on offer.
Join us after the jump as we pass judgment on each add-on.
Strobe Stripe, $190 (or part of the $1,995 Exterior Appearance Group which also includes hood scoop and rear spoiler)
We're not necessarily big fans of tape stripes. The double-horizontal R/T stripes on the Challenger don't really do it for us. But there's something so wickedly '70s cool about segmented strobe stripes that we couldn't help but order up a set. They come in only flat black and so might have looked either completely cool or non-existent on our black R/T. Anyway, thumbs up.
Katzkin leather front seats, $1,199
We've been less than complimentary about the Challenger's dour interior, so we appreciated the chance to dress it up with some leather seats with contrasting sticking or contrasting perforations. Still, we could think of better things to spend more than a grand on.
T/A Hood, $1,275 (or as part of the $1,995 Exterior Appearance Group which also includes rear spoiler and body decals)
We're not immune to the appeal of nostalgia. Hell, that we like the Challenger at all is proof of that. And we kind of like the look of this add-on hood "scoop" that mimics the look of the 1970 Challenger T/A. It is entirely non-functional though. In fact, you plainly see that the front of the scoop is blocked off with a piece of black plastic. Oldham still really likes the hood for its looks. I do not. It's just one of those matters of opinion where nobody is really right, except for the person who does not like the T/A Hood.
Rear Go-Wing Spoiler, $316 (or as part of the $1,995 Exterior Appearance Group which also includes hood scoop and body decals)
Nope. Wings aren't our thing. But again, it's a matter of taste. Because we would consider a black ducktail-style spoiler like the one from the 1970 Challenger T/A or the current Challenger SRT8. But a wing? Nah.
Cold-Air Intake Kit, $374
That huge, blue cone filter? The intake tract roughly the diameter of a sewer main? You bet we'd get this.
Engine Cover, $362
Faux carbon fiber plastic instead of the plain old black plastic of the engine cover that comes for no extra charge from the factory? No thanks. You can go ahead and file the $172 faux carbon fiber center stack applique in the same no-thanks category.
Cat-back Dual Exhaust, $1,190
The best grand-plus-change you could spend on your R/T. We like the look and we like the sound.
Lowering Springs, $1,750; Strut Tower brace, $359; Sway Bar Kit, $484
The lowering adds just the right amount of menace to the Challenger which can look a little tall in stock form. And, while they don't make a huge amount of difference, any help we can throw at the Challenger R/T's body control and steering money well spent. If you're interested, the new bars are 32mm front and 19mm rear compared to the stock 30mm/16mm pieces. Beside, the brace and sway bar kit only add up to $843. And even with the big, polished 20-inch wheels on our test car ($583 each), the Challengers ride quality remains plenty forgiving.
Most of the rest of the pieces that came on this Mopar-accessory showcase we could simply take or leave. Meaning, if it was our money and we had to check the box, we'd leave. We like the chrome T-handle shifter ($137). But given that it's available only for the automatic equipped cars, it wouldn't be a consideration for us. We'll stick with the pistol-grip manual shifter, thank you. As for the Kicker subwoofer, door-sill guards, bright pedal kit and premium floor mats? Meh. (All of those interior dress-up pieces along with a car cover are available individually or as part of the $945 Interior Appearance Goup).
Still, we would have piled on at least $4,300 worth of accessories to our Challenger if we were going to start down that road. That's not a bad chunk of change for Mopar, even on this Chrysler's most heavily modified and accessorized model.