2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8 on the production line
2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8 on the production line. Click image to enlarge

Articles and photos by Paul Williams

Photo Gallery:
2008 Dodge Challenger

Brampton, Ontario – Those of you collecting every scrap of information on the new Dodge Challenger will be delighted to know that Challenger production is now underway at the Brampton Assembly Plant in Ontario. Approximately 7,200 2008 SRT8 Challengers are scheduled to punctuate the plant’s flexible manufacturing lines over the next few months, interspersed between the usual run of Dodge Chargers and Chrysler 300 models.

Canada will only see 700 of these cars. Mexico gets 100 and the rest go to the U.S. Apparently they’re all sold, so if you’ve not pre-ordered, it will be a challenge indeed to get one in your driveway this summer.

2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8 on the production line
2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8 on the production line
2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8 on the production line
2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8 on the production line. Click image to enlarge

To commemorate the commencement of production, one of the first Challengers was unveiled at a short ceremony attended by plant workers, Chrysler Canada President Reid Bigland, Executive Vice President – Manufacturing, Frank Ewasyshyn, and the Hon. Sandra Pupatello, Ontario’s Minister of Economic Development and Trade.

Journalists were given a plant tour which was carefully timed to conclude with the sight of an orange Challenger rolling off the line.

The panels for the Challenger are cut from rolls of steel supplied by nearby Dofasco and Stelco, and stamped on-site at the Brampton plant. Workers at the plant are assisted in the assembly process by 581 robots which transform the raw materials into finished cars.

The first Challenger (actually a concept version representing the first production model) was auctioned by Barrett-Jackson in Scottsdale, Arizona earlier this year, making $400,000 which went to the notMYkid charity. Early production models are headed for celebrities like talk-show host and car collector Jay Leno, and Dr. Phil McGraw (psychologist host of the popular TV show, Dr. Phil).

Asked what the Challenger represents to Dodge and the Chrysler Corporation, Mr. Bigland answered that it’s a “halo” model that will draw attention to the other products available from the company. Unveiled next to an immaculately restored vintage Dodge Challenger R/T owned by Brampton Assembly Plant employee Glen McMeeken, the two-door, rear-wheel drive 2008 Challenger is an homage to the past that utilizes modern manufacturing processes and automotive technology.

A vintage Challenger R/T owned by Brampton assembly plant employee Glen McMeeken
A vintage Challenger R/T owned by Brampton assembly plant employee Glen McMeeken. Click image to enlarge

It represents “the best of Chrysler’s past and future,” said Mr. Ewasyshyn.

The 2009 Challenger, launching later this year, will be available in SE (V6), R/T and SRT8 versions. While the 2008 SRT8 models use an automatic transmission exclusively, the 2009 V8 models will also be available with a manual transmission.

The price in Canada for the limited run of 2008-and-a-half SRT8 models is $44,995 plus $1,300 destination charge.

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