The Last of the Great American Muscle Cars: Dodge Challenger Shakedown Edition

The Dodge Challenger Shakedown, a Last Call edition signaling the end of an American muscle car era, is going out with a blast – of luxury, speed and sound.

A Side View Of The Iconic Dodge Challenger Shakedown Edition
A side view of the iconic Dodge Challenger Shakedown Edition. Photo: Scotty Reiss

Get your muscle while you can.

You know who you are: You need power underfoot. You need to feel your car move you, from the lift in your heart when you see it gleaming in the sun to the whisk of your stomach when you floor the accelerator. You love the rumble under your seat and the roar in your ears when the on-ramp ahead of you is clear and your car can do its thing. And you are a fan of the Dodge Challenger.

Related: Billie Eilish’s Dodge Challenger : A Teenage Dream

The Front End Of The Dodge Challenger Shakedown

The front end of the Dodge Challenger Shakedown. Photo: Scotty Reiss

Last Call: Dodge Muscle Goes Out With A Roar

Dodge announced that soon the company will transition all its cars — and yes, its muscle cars— to electric versions of the much-loved sedans and coupes.

So this might be your last chance to buy one of these classic muscle cars. Dodge has billed this last generation of gas-powered muscle cars as “Last Call” editions. They are filled with power, technology and luxury touches.

The Dodge Challenger Shakedown, priced at about $68K, is a great one to target for its great power, heritage details and a nice edit of features. Only 1,000 were built and they will no doubt become collectors editions in several short years. If any of their owners are willing to part with them, that is. 

Related: “Last Call” Dodge Charger and Challenger Models Nod to Their Muscle Car Heritage

The Interior Of The Dodge Challenger Shakedown

The view from the driver’s seat in the Dodge Challenger Shakedown. Photo: Scotty Reiss

What the Challenger Shakedown is All About

Those 1,000 Challenger Shakedown models are, as is traditional for the Challenger, a two-door five seat coupe. Dodge crafted it with a classic heritage silhouette, defined by a long nose, a low stance and a sleek roof line.

It is built in one of two body shapes, a traditional standard body or a wide body, which has wider fender flares over the wheels; this is the model we test drove. And there is a manual for purists and an automatic those who don’t love a manual in city traffic.

The Shakedown edition is outfitted with Dodge’s 392 V8 engine, one of the most powerful the company builds. It’s iconic for its sound and the power it delivers. 

Related: The Ultimate Last Call: The Dodge SRT Demon 170 Delivers One Last Blast for this Muscle Car Lineup

The Front Face Of The Dodge Challenger

The front face of the Dodge Challenger with heritage details, such as the logo and air vents. Photo: Scotty Reiss

Don’t Let the Muscle Fool You; This is Luxurious, Too

On the the inside, Dodge filled the Challenger Shakedown with luxuries; the seats an ceiling headliner are covered in Alcantara ultra suede; carbon fiber lines the center console and dashboard. The multimedia system features all the modern apps and systems you’d expect in a brand new car, and of course, there’s a premium Harman Kardon sound system. 

And then, there are details unique to this car, including red seatbelts, Shakedown badges on the interior and on the rear spoiler, stripes that run from the front bumper to the spoiler, and a scoop that pops from the hood, a giveaway that there’s a powerful engine underneath: The classic Dodge 392, a V8 powered engine that produces 485 horsepower.

The Rear Seat In The Challenger Seats Two, But Tightly

The rear seat in the Challenger seats two, but tightly. Photo: Scotty Reiss

Two Doors, Five Seats and Lots of Me-Time

This is the ideal car for anyone who can go where she pleases when she pleases. That’s because a two-door car is not as convenient for rear seat passengers as a four-door, though it’s good to have the seats available if you need them.

I found the rear seat convenient for my dog, for my handbag and for a light grocery run. If I needed more space, the trunk, which is on the small side, is perfect for a week’s worth of groceries. 

I did hop into the back seat and it’s comfortable; the seats are bucketed and the feeling is intimate. This rear seat has belts and child passenger LATCHes for three. Interestingly, the center seat is a big elevated (to help create two outboard bucket seats) and might be a good place to put an infant seat since it would not bump up against the front seat backs. 

And, with a full set of lower anchor and tether LATCHes, it should be easier to install than with a seatbelt installation. However, getting your adult-sized body into the rear to simply get the car seat, or the car seat base, into position for installation could be a challenge. 

The Rear End Of The Dodge Challenger Shakedown Edition

The rear end of the Dodge Challenger Shakedown Edition. Photo: Scotty Reiss

What This Car is Like to Drive

Woooohoooo! I might just stop there. 

But really, it’s fun. A LOT of fun. It’s loud, with a growling, gurgly sound at startup that gets louder out on the road. 

I get the fanbase for this body style; you’re low to the road and driving isn’t a chore, it’s a thrill. You feel perfectly secured in the Challenger’s bucket seats, the Alcantara doing its job to keep you from sliding around and the side bolsters holding you in. 

On my test drive I took it out on the highway and let it loose; the Challenger Shakedown provided no shaking at all; it was solid on curves and hills, confident and capable. Maybe the only thing shaking are the leaves on the trees in your wake.

And if that’s the feeling you like to leave, get busy; the Dodge Challenger Shakedown, as well as the rest of the Last Call line-up, are collectors editions that will strike envy in the hearts of those not so lucky to get one, and smiles on the faces of those who do.

The Challengers Distinct Round Headlights

The Challenger’s distinct round headlights. Photo: Scotty Reiss

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Journalist, entrepreneur and mom. Expertise includes new cars, family cars, 3-row SUVs, child passenger car seats and automotive careers... More about Scotty Reiss