2017 Dodge Challenger(1200)

2017 Dodge Challenger T/A

“An Automotive Love Affair”

By Joseph Mavilia


This is the 2017 Dodge Challenger T/A (which stands for Trans-Am which was an SCCA racing series from the 1970’s). To me, and I suspect for many of you, it represents the ‘golden age of muscle cars’. And in the spirit of those days and the Chrysler struggle to stay alive I want to repeat a little history of the company that points to the character of the human experience that should always be remembered.

During the years that Chrysler cars and trucks (Ram) were near bankruptcy a great leader was needed and Lee Iacocca stepped up to the plate to help save the failing company.

Lee Iacocca

Then the subsequent purchase by German Giant Daimler Mercedes Benz was just what the doctor ordered in making further changes that were needed and have given vitality to a company that had been a cornerstone of the auto industry.

Today the Big 3, GM, Ford and Chrysler, are not as important in the world as it was from the beginning to the mid-20th Century. It was then that the market began to shift to Asia and even Europe grew as well as consumers began to accept foreign products. Japanese products, early on, were junk. (The turnaround began in the early 1960s.) Demand and acceptance of foreign cars caused the shift away from cars ‘made in America’ and foreign cars became a movement.

Acceptance was fueled by growing costs to produce in America. Even discouraging import taxes couldn’t shake the resolve of the Japanese or deter Americans from purchasing foreign. US manufacturing labor costs were not competitive and the union workers gave the advantage to the Japanese car makers. So, I, and a huge number of ‘otherwise’ patriot Americans, were romanced by lower prices and better fuel economy.

Clearly it was the high cost then and now that give the advantage to the efficient. Now, even Japanese cars are often made in other countries as their own labor costs can be beat in Mexico, China and Korea. Both America and Japan have done what comes naturally in economics. They go elsewhere for reasonable labor cost. Result – Detroit has turned into one big Slum.

As friend Richard reminds me, “All error is self-correcting”. . . or “It is costly wisdom that’s bought by experience and experience is the name everyone gives their mistakes”. American car makers were king no more and had to compete, step up to rising gas prices by improving fuel economy and yes shuffle assembly to China and Europe. We’re back, but the cost has been huge to American companies and American Jobs. And yes Union’s played a part in that which was the undoing of all the good Union’s did for workers at the turn of the 20th century.

General Information:

It is assembled in Brampton, Ontario, Canada Parts – US/Canadian 60%, Mexico 29%; Engine – Mexico and Transmission – USA; Classification is Midsize; Cars from Dodge: Challenger, Charger, Dart, Durango, Grand Caravan, Journey and Viper.

Handling & Performance:

A 5.7 liter 372 horsepower V8 HEMI (High Energy Metals, Inc. or HEMIspherical combustion chambers in the engine) MDS (Multi Displacement System which shuts down 4 of the 8 cylinders to conserve fuel) VVT (for Variable Valve Timing) speaks volumes to car guys, but in short it is an exciting power plant that takes us back to the Muscle car days of the mid-20th Century. Those were happy days but the roar of the engines of the day also excited the passions of youth.

Today it has the same effect on the senses of sight and sound and touch as you press the pedal to the metal. The combination excites the senses in a rather magical way with a smooth acceleration and solid ride. You gotta love it.


Muscle Car and Retro in the best sense of the words. Now, this is my Idea of going GREEN.

Fit and Finish:

This isn’t the Chrysler products your grandparents drove. It is even better and truly world class.


Well, this is a relative value. But it is competitive in today’s world.

Conveniences and comfort:

Consumer Recommendation:

If you are adventuresome or simply want to revisit your youth this may just be the car for you. When I was in that bygone time zone I had a love affair with a 28 Ford model A Sedan – Corvette powered. This Challenger ride tickled my memory and I smiled.

My sedan was featured in the June 1956 issue of Hot Rod Magazine.

Recognized Competition:

Dodge Challenger $41,000, Chevrolet Camaro $42,000, Ford Mustang $38,000, Honda Accord $35,000.

Good News:

Excitement is not for everyone which is what you get. It is a spectacular ride as you flashback half a century to the glory days of Muscle cars. It passed with flying colors on the mountain road course. Fabulous!

Bad News:

It is only green in color – it is after all a Muscle Car. 2-door inconvenience if you need to carry more than 2 people.

Standard Equipment:

5.7 liter 392 HP V8 HEMI MDS VVT engine, 8-speed automatic transmission, front, side, side curtain front and rear airbags, active exhaust, sport suspension, sport mode, performance brakes, rain brake support, ready alert braking, stability control, traction control, power steering, hill start assist, tire pressure monitoring, keyless enter and go, sentry key theft deterrent system, 5” touchscreen display, 6 – speakers, media hub for SDE, USB and Aux ports.

Note: although we start with this equipment for under $33,000 you will need to consider all the embellishing features / equipment that can take this car up by $10,000.

Gas Stats:

$2.69/ Gal avg. July 23, 2017

for more information.

16 City 25 Highway MPG


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