The Dodge Charger hit the market with a vengeance in 1966 and would help spur the advent of the muscle car era. When the first generation debuted, its base engine was a 5.2-liter V8! The second generation, however, is more iconic—not only because Vin Diesel drives one all throughout the Fast and Furious films. Just about everyone in their right mind opted for at least a base V8, while the peak engine option was a 7.2-liter 440 Magnum.
The Challenger, meanwhile, debuted in 1970. It shared many components with its platform mate, the Plymouth Barracuda, but continued to inject what would become Dodge's signature style into the muscle car arena. Its beefiest engine option was a 426ci V8 cranking out up to 425 horsepower.
Sadly, by the 1980s, Dodge had completely lost their way. Their new Chargers and Challengers were compacts designed to survive an era of suddenly expensive gasoline. By 1983 for the Challenger and 1987 for the Charger, both models were shelved after disappointing sales figures.
However, in the mid-2000s, the market was clearly shifting. Dodge brought back both the Charger (in 2006) and the Challenger (in 2008). Even though the Charger had somehow transformed into a sedan, both new models featured solid styling that referred back to their original forms, as well as some impressive engine options. Today, the horsepower wars are dominating Detroit headlines, with the Challenger in Demon trim pumping out 840 screaming ponies.
But the stereotypical image of a man in his jeans and a white t-shirt behind the wheels of a Charger or Challenger has gone by the wayside. Today, women are happy to pilot both vintage cars and modern monsters. Here are 20 Dodge Charger and Challenger girls every guy needs to see.
20 White Is The New Black
The modern iteration of the Dodge Challenger is a seriously potent performance machine that has brought Dodge squarely back into the mainstream of muscle car mania. Its styling is a clear nod to Challengers from the 1970s, while a range of engine options, topped by the screaming Demon package, have helped cement its status as the ultimate drag strip monster. But to anyone who holds the misconception that Challengers are just for speed-freak macho men, guess again. The car is equally at ease with a woman behind the wheel and matching a white Challenger with black trim with an all-black outfit is perfect.
19 Two's A Crowd
Unlike the Dodge Charger, the Challenger has always been a coupe. Its first generation spanned the pinnacle years of the muscle car era, from 1970 to 1974. The second generation was a massive disappointment after the awesome first gen, essentially being a rebadged Mitsubishi Galant Lambda with only two inline-four engine options. When the third generation returned 25 years after the second was shelved, the return to form was stellar—still, no one wants to be stuck in the back seat, which has definitely not been designed for long road-trip comfort. This car is all about straight-line, full-throttle blasts and just about nothing else.
18 Angel Eyes
If there is a knock on the new Dodge Challenger, it's that Fiat has merged with Chrysler and the conglomerate's focus on cost-cutting has led to some reports of unreliability and cheap build quality. Still, enough fans of the Challenger's potent performance are willing to look past these flaws, while plenty of aftermarket companies are offering upgrades to commonly disappointing parts. One very popular mod, among just about every fanboy crowd, is the addition of angel eye, HID headlights. And when the angel eyes of a Challenger turn on you, just about every driver knows to move right out of the way.
The typical image of a Ken Block-worshipping, vape pen-toting, stance-loving hoonigan bro is a stereotype for good reason. Just about anyone with a lowered, cambered, and bagged Civic these days wears a snapback and thinks their four-inch exhaust adds 90 horsepower to their weak, front-wheel-drive ride—and they've got the stickers to prove it. These ladies, however, have gone all out stickering up a more legit monster, the modern incarnation of the legendary Dodge Charger. Sure, it's transformed into a sedan (for reasons no one really understands) but with almost all of the same engine options as the Challenger, it's the most serious bang for the buck on the four-door market.
16 Burnt Rubber
One major drawback that any Charger or Challenger owner has to face—and one that's shared by anyone with a powerful vehicle—is the fact that these cars burn through tires like it's their job. But who can blame their owners for wanting to put the pedal to the metal, feel that jerk back into their seat, and hear the roar of their awesome V8 engine? A fresh set of rear rubber every six months really doesn't cost too much compared to the smiles per gallon—just don't ask them about their miles per gallon, though. This Challenger fan may love her car but she'd better have a gasoline-partnered credit card in her wallet.
15 Drag Strip Fun
The Dodge Challenger Demon has been outlawed by the National Hot Rod Association because it lacks the sufficient safety equipment to match its ridiculous 840-horsepower engine. Though Dodge boasts of this fact like it's an accomplishment, the dubious honor of selling a car to the public that even the maniacs who race absurd funny cars seems slightly deranged. At the very least, Challenger fans who want to hit the strip can get themselves a Hellcat instead, saving money while also retaining racing legality. Then, they can spend those bucks on tuning up their car for more power. Or, on the other hand, they could splurge on the Demon and pay for a bolt-in roll cage.
14 Sun Protection
The Dodge Charger that Vin Diesel drives as Dominic Toretto has gone through some massive changes over the years. In the first film, it was under construction and then blasted around doing wheelies. By the most recent installment, it's received a mid-engine conversion and all-wheel drive—and yet, still retains a gnarly primer gray paint job. Anyone who's keen on slamming 1,000 horses through a vintage chassis can go right ahead and do that but in the real world, most vintage Charger owners would want to keep their frame from bending and snapping at every touch of the gas pedal. And that's not to mention protecting the paint and soft-top from sun damage.
13 Action Hero
Most action movies these days have moved beyond the silly trope of having their heroes, muscles bulging in a torn shirt, strut away from a scene of carnage while everything lights up—all without a single flinch, of course. At least the Terminator and Sly Stallone are still in the game, though. But movies like Atomic Blonde, Mad Max: Fury Road, and even the Fast and Furious films are bringing legit female action stars to the forefront of culture (please note that Charlize Theron features in all of those). This Dodge girl is striding away from a trio of modern Chargers and Challengers, confident the boys in the background will be wondering what's going on under her hood.
12 Florida Yellow
Two-tone paint schemes are a thing of the past for any car owner who doesn't have a Pagani or a Bugatti in their garage. Just about the only other way to get a two-tone car these days is to get a rag-top convertible—but everyone knows those just look terrible, usually both with the top up and down. But back in the heyday of muscle car mania, plenty of cars came with two-tone paint jobs, racing stripes, hard canvas tops, and bedecked in tons of chrome. People had less shame about driving a car that stood out then—then again, manufacturers weren't cranking out Hyundais that looked like BMWs and Benzes that looked like Kias.
11 Ad Executives
Advertisements for cars and motorcycles in print magazines have always featured scantily clad females contorted at all kinds of awkward angles (presumably to wipe off that little bit of wax the detailer missed). These days, car shows have even been leaving the trend behind, instead trying to draw in fans by cross-promoting movies, TV shows, and internet memes. But there's something to be said for a beautiful woman and an awesome car, even if she's more classily dressed and standing on her own two feet, like in the photo above. Ad executives would do well to keep an eye away from the millennials and their twisted preferences, going for classic style more often than not.
10 Down And Out
Hip and stylish people have their own ways of displaying how hip and stylish they are. Some go with skinny jeans and vintage t-shirts while others refuse to drive cars and use rideshare scooters to commute to their shared live-work loft spaces. Very few of them, however, would deign to stoop down to the basic level of loving a bright orange Dodge Challenger. Just think about the carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere every time someone mashes on the gas pedal. Think about the rubber tires squealing and leaving skid marks on the road. Oh wait, does all of that sound great? Maybe a Challenger is a good choice, after all.
9 Desert Roadrunner
Back in the days before computer-aided automotive design was employed by every automobile manufacturer—on their road-going cars as well as their race cars—engineers and designers would use wind tunnels to test out aerodynamic improvements. Some wild concepts emerged but few were more radical or more iconic than the Dodge Charger Daytona and the Plymouth Road Runner Superbird. The two cars featured nose cones and huge tail fins, which helped them reach top speeds at longer NASCAR tracks like Daytona and Talladega. These days, a few modern Challenger owners have transformed their cars into Charger Daytona tributes—not this one, though, which is just as at home in the desert as an actual roadrunner.
8 Betty Boop
The Charger in this pic looks more like the car that Dom drives in The Fast and the Furious. It's in sparkling black with nice chrome details, though perhaps its ride height has been lowered slightly and those wheels look a little bit too modern. Making slight changes to a classic like this is known as doing a 'restomod' in the vintage car world. Bringing a classy restomod to a car show along with a Betty Boop-inspired pinup is always guaranteed to get exactly the kind of attention some car guys want. But if Betty Boop owns the Charger, well, that's just too good to be true.
7 Classic Classic Car Behavior
Owning a classic car can be a lifelong joy and, at the same time, a lifelong pain. There's nothing like some father-son bonding time in the garage, wrenching on the family's old muscle car. But sometimes, classic cars just up and quit. This patriotic owner doesn't look too sad that her car is being hoisted up on a trailer—maybe the pic was snapped just after a Craigslist deal. Hopefully, she got the car for a song, given the rust that's apparent everywhere. Otherwise, this is going to lead to some stern words in dad's garage when he realizes what kind of work he's now on the hook for.
6 Prom Night
The classic image of a high-school senior borrowing dad's classic muscle car—the first time he's been allowed to drive it, of course— to pick up his prom date is a trope that appears in car commercials and movies quite often. It probably will until the end of time. But in today's culture, it would be even more awesome if mom lent her Dodge Challenger to her daughter, who went and picked up the boy, to his great surprise and joy. It might be hard to manage a stick shift and clutch pedal in high heels, but it's all worth it in the name of prom night fun, without a doubt.
5 Charged Up
The used car market is flooded with muscle cars from every era. Of course, the best from the late-60s and early-70s command the highest prices and often, they're sold by dealers or on consignment. Websites like Craigslist and Autotrader are great tools for finding solid deals and most sellers will be willing to drop their asking price significantly if they see a stack of hundred-dollar bills in an envelope. Dealers, on the other hand, are able to ask for more money because they can offer financing—usually at exorbitant interest rates—and their budget thus allows them to distract potential buyers with pics of their cars being doted upon by models.
4 Gone In No Seconds
Nicolas Cage has been starring in movies that gearheads love for decades now. His most famous, without a doubt, is the 2000 remake of Gone in 60 Seconds, which also starred big names like Angelina Jolie, Robert Duvall, Giovanni Ribisi, Vinnie Jones, and Timothy Olyphant—not to mention a certain beauty named Eleanor. He also managed to make 2007's Ghost Rider not too terrible. One of Nic Cage's lesser-known films is Drive Angry, which was sort of an amalgamation of Gone in 60 Seconds and Ghost Rider and starred a duo of lookers in the form of Amber Heard and a matte black 1969 Dodge Charger R/T.
3 Car Shows
Even though some automotive manufacturers are moving away from using female models to attract the crowd's attention at car shows, clearly, car models like the Charger Hellcat remain in a certain league of their own and everyone will forgive Dodge for going the classic route for its obvious advertising advantages. The Charger looks great in police service livery—much more intimidating than a Crown Victoria, if slightly less iconic—but the Hellcat ups the ante quite a bit. Not many sedans in the world can be had with a 707-hp, supercharged V8 under the hood and if Dodge had just revved the engine at car shows instead of hiring models, the effects could have been just as solid.
2 Route 66
The muscle car era was a time before anyone worried about MPGs or any such non-horsepower nonsense. Life was all about the open road, open throttle, and who might or might not have a 454 under the hood. Cruising around town was the go-to gig on a Friday night and the straightest quarter-mile section of road just outside the town limits was where everyone congregated at the new church of burnt rubber. Sadly, fuel embargos and foreign imports put an end to much of the fun, though today, the efforts by Dodge to reintroduce muscle cars like the Charger and Challenger (not to mention Chevy and their Camaro or Ford and their Mustang) is a welcome respite from any sort of automotive sanity.
1 Chuck Taylors
The footwear of choice in the NBA was once the classic model known as the Chuck Taylor All-Stars. Though it may seem hard to believe that anyone standing nearly seven feet tall and pounding the hardwood would want to wear a shoe with absolutely zero arch support and little more than two sheets of canvas making up its construction, those guys rocked Converses with their short shorts proudly. Today, Converse lives on (though it's been bought by Nike) and there are few shoes that match owning a muscle car more perfectly, regardless of whether it's a modern Challenger or a vintage Charger.
Sources: Hennessey Performance, Wikipedia, and IMDb.