The Dodge Challenger is a Worthy Road Trip Car

By: jwilder

Austin Texas Dodge Challenger Vanishing Point

Kowalski, pondering the meaning of Cadillac Ranch, and how he ended up in Amarillo. Photo from the movie Vanishing Point (1971). And yes, I added the Cadillacs for my enjoyment. Because I think Cadillac Ranch and a Dodge Challenger should be in a Texas road trip movie.

I have been wanting a new daily driver / road tripper for a long time.

Granted, you can drive any car you want on a road trip. But for an automotive enthusiast, a road trip is as much about the car as it is the journey.

The Bandit had a Trans-Am. The Groovers had a Cadillac. Thelma and Louise had a Thunderbird. Kowalski had a Challenger.

No matter what type of car it is, it plays an important role in a road trip. It's certainly not an appliance.

My current object of desire is the iconic Dodge Challenger.

Over the years I've grown to appreciate the Dodge Challenger. As a matter of fact, if I bought a car today, I would buy a Challenger.

Here are my reasons the Dodge Challenger will be my next road trip car...

It's a Movie Star

Dodge Challenger Vanishing Point Movie Poster

Vanishing Point Movie Poster (1971). Fair use. Cropped.

This car is a movie star.

The Dodge Challenger played leading roles in two car-movie cult classics - Vanishing Point (1971) and Quentin Tarantino's Death Proof (2007).

If you haven't seen these movies, you should. Especially since Death Proof was filmed in Austin (at least the first half was). Unfortunately the Challenger didn't appear in the Austin scenes. It'd be a lot cooler if it did. Alright, alright, alright.

While Vanishing Point may be a cult classic, and not as popular as Smokey and the Bandit, it still brings additional value to the Challenger brand. No doubt there's someone in Texas with a white Challenger with the plate number OA-5599.

It's Darn Photogenic

Austin Texas Dodge Challenger Photogenic

Photo courtesy Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.

Now days, part of a road trip is capturing the journey with your digital camera.

The Dodge Challenger is darn photogenic, at every angle, on city streets and dusty country roads.

In fact, just taking photos of the Challenger will improve your photography.

Think of all the Vanishing Point scenes you could recreate on your road trips.

And speaking of road trips...

It's Build for Road Trips

Austin Texas Dodge Challenger Road Trip

Photo courtesy Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.

Here in Texas we have blue skys and roads that go forever!

No sweat. The Dodge Challenger is up for the challenge.

It's roomy enough to be comfortable on long trips.

It hauls! The Challenger boasts 16.2 cubic feet of trunk space* so you don't have to use the back seat for luggage.

It's easy to get in and out for quick getaways! Seriously, this is actually very important, as we pull off the road quite frequently to explore and photograph cool stuff.

If you drive the highways more than the track you can get a V6 to save mucho dinaro on gas and still have fun. The 3.6L Pentastar® V6 engine delivers 305 horsepower and only sips a gallon of gas for every 30 highway miles. With an 18.5-gallon fuel tank, you can cruise more than 550 miles** without thinking about petrol. Thats Austin to Dallas, and back, without a fillup! Or Austin to Amarillo (500 mi.) without stopping! Sweet!

* For comparison, the 2016 Camaro is 9.1 cubic feet.

It Still Looks Like a Challenger

Austin Texas Dodge Challenger 2016

Live a colorful life! Note the green car in the background is an original 1970s Challenger! Photo courtesy Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.

The retro muscle car look has been designed out of the Mustang and Camaro with each iteration. They now have their own modern identities.

However, the Challenger still closely resembles its original shape almost 50 years later.

What? Seriously bro? Do the math! Almost 50 years! That's crazy!

Michael Castiglione, head exterior designer for the Challenger project said "For me, that car symbolizes the most passionate era of automotive design." Preach it brother!

They picked the right guy to design the modern Challenger.

With the 2015 refresh it only got better! The designers subtly refined the shape, and did an amazing job.

It Could Be the Last Retro Muscle Car

The third generation Challenger debuted in 2008. Now, after ten years, it looks like 2020 will be the last year of the Challenger (on its current platform), and possibly the end of the retro muscle car design era.

According to, "The Dodge Challenger coupe and Dodge Charger and Chrysler 300 sedans won't be redesigned onto the automaker's new Giorgio platform until the 2021 model year."[1]

That's three years from now. Will it survive that long? Will it break away from its iconic look? Will electric cars rule the world by then? Who knows. So buy one now.

Congratulations Dodge for staying true to the one and only Challenger for so long.

What's Your Ideal Road Trip Car?

In this article I listed a few criteria for my ideal road trip car.

  • Featured in movies.
  • Darn Photogenic.
  • Easy to get in and out of, for frequent stops.
  • Plenty of storage.
  • Fuel efficient.
  • Retro muscle car looks.
  • Modern reliability and comfort.

So, what's your road trip car criteria? Join our Texas Travel for Auto Enthusiasts group on Facebook and lets share experiences!

Texas Travel for Auto Enthusiasts on Facebook

1. FCA's big cars extended to 2020


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