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Muscle Mondays – 1972 Dodge Challenger Coupe

1972 Dodge Challenger CoupeThe 1972 Dodge Challenger Coupe is a classic example of American muscle, and it’s part of a legacy that continues to the present day. Originally introduced in 1969 for the 1970 model year, the Challenger was built around simple muscle car archetypes blended with a staggering number of trim levels, features and engine sizes. The Challenger never achieved the sales numbers of its Camaro and Mustang brethren, but it carved out an important niche in automotive history nonetheless.

 

The Last Stand of the Pony Car

The first-generation Dodge Challenger was built on Chrysler’s newly developed E-body platform, which it shared with the slightly smaller Plymouth Barracuda. The Challenger was designed to compete directly with the Chevy Camaro and Ford Mustang; its handsome but aggressive styling, beefy size and dizzying array of engine and trim options should have allowed it to do just that. However, the American market was quickly moving away from pony cars amid concerns over emissions, fuel efficiency and rising insurance premiums, and by the introduction of the 1972 Challenger, the muscle car movement was on its last legs.

 

A Powerful Challenger

For buyers who were still interested in muscle cars, the 1972 Dodge Challenger offered a minor redesign in the form of a reworked “egg-crate” grille, a new taillight design and several other aesthetic changes. The famed 426 Hemi engine was dropped along with several other engines, but consumers still had the choice of a 225-cubic-inch slant six, a dual-carburetor 318-cubic-inch V8 and a powerful, four-barrel 340-cubic-inch V8 that helped to keep the pony car spirit alive. Unfortunately, the changes did little to reinvigorate the market, and sales continued to decline.

 

The 1972 Dodge Challenger Coupe -A Lasting Legacy

The 1972 Dodge Challenger Coupe may not have been a big seller in its time, but it has since become a popular choice for pony car enthusiasts thanks to its affordable price, solid performance and attractive styling. The 1972 Challenger also gained a measure of fame as the vehicle of choice for Brock Yates during the legendary Cannonball Run. The Dodge Challenger was doomed from the start to play third fiddle to the Camaro and Mustang, but its unique personality and reputation has only grown among collectors and hobbyists since its rocky beginnings.

 

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