The Dodge Challenger is one of the longest-running cars on the market without a major redesign. It went on sale back in 2008, and it was immediately a hit with its cool retro shape and powerful engines. Sales were initially strong, and they’ve remained very strong for a decade now, despite the aging design that’s increasingly familiar.
But I’ve always failed to understand something about the Challenger: why isn’t there a convertible version? Ever since the Challenger went on sale in 2008, it’s been only offered as a coupe — even though all of its major rivals have a droptop model, most specifically the Ford Mustang and the Chevrolet Camaro. More importantly, releasing a convertible is usually a great way to prolong a model’s life: once it starts to feel a little dated, release a convertible to give new life to the model and reignite interest in it. The Challenger has certainly been around long enough to feel dated, but no convertible has been forthcoming.
This is especially surprising to me because there’s undoubtedly demand for a Challenger convertible. Not only do Camaro and Mustang convertible models seemingly sell in reasonable numbers, but aftermarket convertibles, like the one shown above, exist — and for a big price, as an aftermarket convertible conversion isn’t cheap. Obviously, they’re not common, but if there are even a few hundred people willing to pay big money for a Challenger convertible, there are probably thousands more who would pay rational, reasonable money for a Challenger convertible that’s only slightly more expensive than the coupe, as many convertibles are.
I’ve never understood the rationale for not offering a Challenger convertible, and I think the market would appreciate it — although, if Chrysler’s development budget for the vehicle forced them to choose between "convertible or Hellcat" or "convertible or Demon," I think they made the right call. But imagine the feeling of acceleration and the sound of the exhaust in a convertible Demon. Now that would be cool.