The Challenger SRT8 had the most-ever first-day preorders for a limited edition vehicle, and rivals the 2000 Chrysler PT Cruiser for the most first-day preordered vehicle in the automaker's history.
"This is unprecedented," said Mark Mallie, Challenger brand manager. "Customers were actually coming to us and pushing us, so we thought this was a good time to take presale orders."
The 6.1-liter Hemi V-8 will make its debut at the Chicago Auto Show in February, but enthusiasts putting down cash this week are banking it will maintain the 1970s muscle look of the 2006 Challenger concept, which has circulated auto shows in recent years. Today, Chrysler released the first five photos showing close-up details of the 2008 model.
Chrysler officials say each new Challenger features a numbered dash plaque, plus dual "carbon-fiber" hood stripes that harken back to the original Challenger. So far more than half the orders for the $37,995 have specified "HEMI Orange."
The limited-edition 2008 vehicle is also available in black and silver. A full lineup of Challengers will roll out in 2009.
Placing an order only guarantees a spot in line for would-be Challenger owners, as there may not be enough production to meet demand. With Chrysler planning to make less than 10,000 units for the 2008 model, it's possible the Challenger could sell out from preorders alone.
"It's been almost 35 years since the last Challenger, and there's a lot of interest," Mallie said. "There's a lot of people anxious for it. It's certainly an iconic muscle car."