Dodge to announce return of Muscle Car

UPDATE This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' with today's announcement by Dodge, and the Challenger could replace the Charger in NASCAR, but not yet.

"For the time being it is definitely the Charger," Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board for DaimlerChrysler said. "When the Challenger comes into production, we will reconsider it, but there is no decision to be made right now."

06/30/06 Chrysler Group is preparing to announce before the Pepsi 400 NASCAR race in Daytona Beach, Fla., on Saturday that it will build the Dodge Challenger, bringing to market as soon as next year a sports coupe to compete against the Ford Mustang.

Chrysler officials haven't announced details, but people familiar with the plans confirmed that the two-door, four-seat concept Challenger unveiled in January at the North American International Auto Show will go into production.

Chrysler built the Challenger for only a few years, 1970-74, but the car made a lasting impression.

The concept version's styling borrowed heavily from the classic 1970 Challenger muscle car, with twin hood scoops and a pistol-grip shifter. The concept is powered by a 6.1-liter Hemi V8 producing 425 horsepower through a six-speed manual transmission.

"Every NASCAR fan in the country will be drooling over that car," said Erich Merkle, an auto analyst with IRN Inc. in Grand Rapids.

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