Dodge Challenger ACR performance car rumor shot down

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In 2011, after the end of the Gen IV Dodge Viper and its ACR trim, Dodge took a Challenger ACR concept to the SEMA show. In October of last year, trusted FCA-focused outlet Mopar Insiders heard from its sources that something of the kind could finally be in the works, word being the automaker “is quietly working on a surprise to help celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Challenger nameplate.” Last week, trusted FCA-focused outlet Allpar got more details from its own source, “Muther,” on the specs and aspirations for a Challenger supposedly meant as a last big hurrah before the next generation appears in 2023. Now, we find out the Challenger ACR is a ghost, Autoweek reporting, “According to a spokesperson from Dodge, it’s not happening.” That brief denial is all the automaker had to say about it.

Assuming Dodge isn’t hiding anything, we’re more surprised at detailed erroneous intel being shared with both MI and Allpar than we are about the track-day seducement Challenger ACR being bogus. A tale about Dodge engineering a Viper-like makeover for its number one muscle car so as to shame the 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 and Camaro ZL1 around a track would have been compelling enough. But word that Dodge wanted the Challenger ACR to breathe down the dearly departed neck of the Viper ACR around Road America, well, that was a crate of Hemi-powered wild. The implied impertinence of such a target is worrisome enough, and the weight loss goal would have added an extreme dimension to the ACR brand. The Neon ACR and Viper ACR didn’t give up more than 100 pounds compared to their standard counterparts. The insiders spoke of the Challenger getting under 4,000 pounds, in part thanks to an optional passenger’s seat. The diet would have required losing 400 pounds in a best-case scenario, which would still leave the big coupe 500-plus pounds heavier than a Viper ACR. Back to that impertinence…

We’ll likely never know what really happened with the Challenger ACR, so we’ll stick it in the X-Files drawer between Big Blue and Chinga.

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Saurabh Shukla

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