Like so many other teenage boys growing up in the heartland of America, I was into muscle cars and driving fast. If I wasn’t drag racing down old Route 66 I was hanging out at the local Sonic eating a foot long chili cheese Coney dog and washing it down with a Cherry Coke. I was the proud owner of a 1974 Plymouth Satellite. The car wasn’t anything special. It wasn’t rare and certainly not the fastest in town, but it was mine. Things change, time passes and life goes on. I had a family and was struggling to make ends meet. That old car wasn’t reliable, economical and at the time I sold it for next to nothing, it wasn’t even running. Sure it was a sad day, but I vowed that one day I would own another muscle car; that one day I would own a better muscle car; that one day I would own my dream car. I had a family to take care of so I tucked that dream away and joined the Navy. It would be nearly 15 years later before something would remind me of that dream.
I don’t recall the exact date when Chrysler Group announced the new Dodge Challenger concept car but I do remember it was in 2006. At the time, there were only a few pictures and lots of talk about how the car would never see production. As soon as I saw the pictures, it was the spark I needed to rekindle my dream. I started researching and investigating any information I could find out about the car. Even the official releases seemed to contradict themselves. The car was going to be produced; the car was not going to be produced. Finally, Chrysler announced it was going to produce the Challenger and started releasing information on it. And then it happened. In December of 2007, Dodge started taking pre-orders for the first year model. There were only going to be a handful of cars produced the first year and there were only three colors available: Orange, Black and Silver. I went from dealership to dealership trying to find one that would allow me to pre-order. With only 6400 of the cars being produced, there were shortages and price gouging from the start. I put $1000 down on a car I wasn’t even sure I would ever get or was ever going to be produced. I waited, and waited — and waited. Frequent calls to the dealership elicited the same response, “We’ll call you when we know something.” Once again things change, time passes, life goes on and I would tuck the dream away. In the Spring of 2008 I deployed to Iraq.
Material possessions like cars don’t mean a lot when you’re saying goodbye to your family, so for the next six months or so this car wasn’t something I really thought about. But it would be while I was deployed to Iraq that my dream car would finally become a reality. On a routine phone call home, my wife sprung the news on me. One of the dealerships called her and said they had a shiny new 2008 Dodge Challenger waiting for us, but she had to get their quick because even though all 6400 cars were reserved or pre-ordered, some of the dealerships were making side deals to the highest bidders.
In February of 2009, I returned home from Iraq and met my family at the airport. After hugs and tears of joy we walked out to the parking lot and there she was – my black 2008 Dodge Challenger, First Edition, Number 4518 of 6400. She’s sleek and fast and definitely the best vehicle I have ever owned; not just because of the nuts and bolts that hold her together or the powerful Hemi tucked away under the hood, but because it’s proof that with a little hard work and determination dreams do come true.
Maybe this is your dream car too. Make it a reality and check out Dodge’s official website here.