The Challenger and Imperial–Concepts with Photos

The Challenger and Imperial–Concepts with Photos

Posted Jan 8, 2006, 12:47 PM by ©1998-2005 DaimlerChrysler. All rights reserved.
Category: Detroit Auto Show


Dodge Challenger and Chrysler Imperial–Two great names from
Chrysler’s past. The revival of the Challenger and Imperial in the
form of concept cars has captured much of the pre-auto show buzz.
There is no need anymore to peer at blurry spy shots and sketches.
The wraps were taken off both at the North American International
Auto Show which means we no longer have to hold anything back.

Here are some photos along with a discussion of both the Challenger
and Imperial by Chrysler Group Senior Vice President of Design
Trevor Creed from our Auburn Hills animation room. To hear his
entire discussion, just download his podcast.

“The first car is a reincarnation of a classic pony car, the

We picked the 1970 as being the classic Challenger. This is the one
we all thought the best of. We were looking at some of the
colors–¦the oranges, the lime greens. Rear end: There was a
rear end very similar to this in those days, it was just a reflex
and traditional light. With a concept like this and new technology
lighting we knew we could do a better job with this.
Front grille: Back then the front end was similar with the clipped
headlamps, but now with modern technology we’ve got LED headlamps.
Back then there really was not a Dodge distinctive grille. Each
year Dodge would change its identity, now we have the very
distinctive cross-haired grille.

Hood: We achieved the look not by black paint, but the hood is
carbon fiber and we actually exposed the black raw carbon fiber and
painted around the vehicle.

Roofline: Classic roofline, classic two door design. Its overall
length is almost identical to the 1970 Challenger, but the
wheelbase is longer. The wheelbase on this one is 116 old one was
111. Underneath, we took our 300C, body if you will, chassis
underneath that we use to make the Charger and the Magnum and we
cut it down simply to be able to use all the rest of the front
suspension, steering, rear suspension. We just sort of chopped and
channeled the floor in the middle to give us this particular length
of vehicle. On a vehicle like this there is no doubt a two-door is
It’s a very spacious vehicle, by the way because of the 116-inch
wheelbase. The amount of room for the front and rear passengers is
significant almost identical to the 300C sedan.
It’s a unique color, we call it Challenger Orange–?a
four-coat metallic finish.

Interior: Like the exterior, the interior is a modern re-
interpretation of the classic interior the vehicle had. The
Challenger and Barracuda both had these very unique sculpted doors,
where the other pony cars had more traditional designs. It has the
same cluster–?it was a four-gauge cluster with a large
speedometer and three minor gauges. In this case we sort of brought
it up to date and put all the telemetrics about the car–¦in
the major gauge and then we have speedometer, rev counter and a

four- in- one gauge in the end. The instrument panel is not
identical but similar in that it’s driver -oriented.

Console unit, you can see was angled toward the driver which is
very unique and we kept the famous pistol grip shifter. Which as
it’s shown here is an automatic transmission but the actual car
will be a six-speed manual transmission.

The powertrain is from the SRT group so it’s the 6.1 liter from the
SRT8 Charger and Magnum and the 6-speed manual transmission also
came from those guys.

This car was done in our California studios.
20 inch wheels in the front, 21 in the rear. We kept the overhangs
from the front wheel to the end and rear wheel to the end very
short. The older cars had much more extensive overhangs.

We want to evoke the Challenger theme but interpret it in modern
materials and with all the modern proportions and modern technology
we have today.
This is just a concept but of course it always gets people’s
enthusiasm going in all levels of the company and one can never
know. I would never put a time frame on it or say for sure that we
would do it.


The purpose of doing this particular concept is we have the
300C–that happens to be our top of line car at the moment. It is
not a luxury car, it is a premium sedan.

We’ve got the name Imperial. The challenge put out to designers was
if we were to re-body the 300C… and take the wonderful
underbody we’ve got 5.7 Hemi, auto
transmission and suspension ,…what would you put on top of
that for the Imperial. Even if you had the 300 still in the
showroom what could you do put something above the 300. Can you use
all the underpinnings and do that?

The brief was get something that was above the 300C in stature. I
liked the look but felt it needed to be taller overall.
We elected to create a package for the vehicle that would raise it
up another 6 inches more like the height of the Pacifica for
It has a distinctive rear end with sort of boat tail look.

It’s got that line off the rear fender coming off the rear fender
down to the sill area.
For the sake of the concept car and great viewing for the interior,
we went with the doors that open 90 degrees off the center.
This is a concept but I would envisage the price range of something
like this of this in the $60,000 range.
It has a very unique and distinctive look and its not in anyone
else’s territory.
This is completely new concept design. The only heritage if any is
the use of the free-standing headlamps and the use of new HID and
LED technology.

Interior: It’s a birch, cream and beige brown interior.

I see this as being a driver’s car, it’s for somebody to be proud
of, not a chauffeur-driven car. We didn’t’ put tables on the back
of seats or footrests, so it’s the next level up from the 300C
without going overboard.
Everybody has their own space, everybody has their own controls for
heating and cooling and adjustable seating. It’s a very
contemporary interior.

It’s Chrysler. We know people have a certain vision of Chrysler.
The 300C has moved the needle up from a level where people never
thought Chrysler would be. This is designed to move, if you will,
to the next level, but not to move to a level where people would
fine it preposterous and it doesn’t help the brand because it
doesn’t have credibility.
This is a concept car at this point in time but without definitive
production plans. If we get a very good reaction to this, you never
know what would happen.


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