You can buy a Dodge Challenger convertible when the model ends its run

CNN Business

The modern Dodge Challenger muscle car and the closely related Dodge Charger four-door sedan end their long production runs next year. But Dodge, the American performance car brand of Stellantis, has a few special items in store to mark the occasion as these models rumble into the sunset.

On the one hand, customers will finally be able to order a convertible Dodge Challenger. You’ve long since been able to buy a convertible version of the Ford Mustang or Chevrolet Camaro right off the bat. Now, after 14 years on the market, the Challenger, considered something of a competitor to these two “pony cars”, will finally be available as a convertible that you can order directly from the dealership.

The Challenger and the Charger are being phased out after the upcoming model year as Dodge prepares to sell electric cars in the future.

Until now, if you wanted a Dodge Challenge convertible, you had to find a custom shop to do the roof removal work and additional work on the car’s body and chassis. Now Dodge is streamlining the process. Dodge Challengers still won’t be built as convertibles in Ontario, Canadathe plant where the cars are made, as well as Chargers and Chrysler 300 sedans. Instead, Dodge contracted with a Florida car customization shop called Drop Top Customs to turn hardtop coupes into convertibles. .

Customers will be able to order Challenger convertibles with custom conversion work done by Drop Top Customs of Florida.  Any version of the Challenger can be transformed into a convertible.

Despite its similarities to the Mustang and Camaro, the Challenger is a bigger, heavier car. That’s about 10 inches longer than a Ford Mustang. The Challenger shares much of its basic engineering with the Charger and Chrysler 300 four-door sedans.

Turning a hardtop car into a convertible involves a lot more than just cutting off the roof. In most modern cars, the roof provides some of the structural rigidity that prevents the vehicle body from flexing and leaning over bumps and during cornering. When the roof is removed, additional reinforcement must be provided throughout the rest of the body to prevent this unwanted twist. Jeff Moran of Drop Top Customs said the company has worked with Dodge to make convertibles since 2008, but the new dealer ordering process streamlines the purchase. The company can make up to 5,000 convertibles each year, Moran said.

These convertibles won’t come cheap. The suggested price for the conversion work is around $26,000. Prices for a base Dodge Challenger coupe with a V6 engine start at around $30,000. V8-powered Challengers start at around $38,000. That means even the cheapest Challenger convertible will cost about as much as a Mercedes-Benz C-Class convertible or $20,000 more than a Ford Mustang convertible, which, comparing base models, produces similar horsepower. For the extra cash, however, the Challenger buyer will get a car that is, at least, a much less common sight on the road.

In addition to convertible conversions, Dodge will also offer a series of special-edition “Last Call” Charger and Challenger models. Details on these cars will be revealed later. Plus, Dodge will bring back the 710 horsepower Durango Hellcat High-performance SUV that was offered for the 2021 model year but which Dodge said would no longer be offered after that.

Dodge, along with Chrysler and Jeep, is one of 14 car brands operated by Stellantis, the company formed when Fiat Chrysler Automobiles merged with France’s PSA in 2021.

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