If there’s one thing that’ll make any diehard Mopar fan see red, it’s deriding the age of the Chrysler LX platform – the one that’s underpinned the Chrysler 300 since 2005, and the Dodge Charger since 2006. The Challenger’s platform, designated “LC”, is nothing more than a shortened version of it, so that’s not exactly new, either.
Yet here we are, and the 808-horsepower (840 on race fuel) Dodge Challenger SRT Demon is making headlines left and right. Its predecessor, the SRT Hellcat, got no shortage of attention, either. All of this highlights the simple truth that even when given a heavy, out-of-date platform, Fiat Chrysler can make something splendid.
That truth was reinforced when FCA invited journalists out to Indianapolis recently to behold the Dodge Challenger SRT Demon, Challenger SRT Hellcat Widebody, and Durango SRT. (Of these, only the Durango SRT rides on a relatively-new platform – one shared with the Jeep Grand Cherokee WK2 and Mercedes M-Class.)
“Chrysler’s done a lot with what they’ve got,” said Autotrader senior analyst Michelle Krebs (per the Detroit Free Press). “They do a great job playing the specialty-model game. There’s a lot of profit in it.”
If you’re waiting to see what Chrysler can do given the funding to develop all-new vehicles, you can “dream on,” writes Mark Phelan for the Detroit Free Press. “That’s not the FCA business model. Not for the next year or two, anyway.” By then, Sergio Marchionne will likely have retired, a new Charger/Challenger based on Alfa Romeo’s Giorgio platform will be on the way, and if all goes well, FCA will have been bought by another global automaker.
If, however, you want to know what the company’s best and brightest can come up with using only what they have, the 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon makes one hell of a strong case.