Engine Failures in Testing Delay the Special Dodge Challenger SEMA Debut

The Dodge brand announced back in August at the Speed Week Muscle Announcement event that the seventh and final Last Call special edition vehicle – a Dodge Challenger of some sort – would debut at the 2022 SEMA Show. However, earlier this month, it was announced that the big debut had been pushed back to a later, unspecified date. There was no explanation as to why the final Dodge Challenger special edition debut had been canceled, but seeing as how that announcement came during an unplanned production stoppage at Brampton Assembly, supply chain issues were believed to be the cause.

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However, while speaking to a small group of media early this week, of which I was a part, Dodge boss Tim Kuniskis explained why the big SEMA debut had been canceled. He started off by stating that he wasn’t going to feed us a line about supply chain issues and production constraints. Instead, he came right out and said that the debut had been pushed back because the project wasn’t moving along as quickly as planned.

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As it turns out, the car that we expect to be a commemorative, big-power Dodge Challenger is blowing engines – seven engines to be exact. Kuniskis explained that it is simple to build an engine that will make monster power for a drag strip run or dyno pull, but the duty cycle testing has proven to be too much – “grenading” seven engines. For those who don’t know, the duty cycle testing of a production street engine includes hours of consistent wide-open-throttle and other extensive, high RPM stints that are unlike anything the engine will ever face in the real world. However, for the engine to be approved for production, it has to meet the internal requirements of the duty cycle testing and the team working on the final Last Call Dodge Challenger were not far enough into the process to get a car to SEMA.

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The good news is that Kuniskis said that they think that they have the issue fixed and they are on track for an introduction in the first quarter of 2023. Seeing as how the team working on this engine has already rolled out an 840-horsepower, emission-legal production engine that runs on racing fuel, we can imagine the kind of powerplant they are building for the final run of the current Dodge Challenger.

Sadly, we are going to have to wait a while to see this final Dodge muscle car, but we imagine that it will be well worth the wait.

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