Dodge Challenger Hellcat manual transmission option disappeared in 2021

Dodge Challenger Hellcat: Will The Six-Speed Manual Eventually Come Back?

The Drive spoke with a Dodge spokesperson on the subject and discovered that a “revised calibration” for the manual powertrain was on the way. This supports the rumors and speculation on forum posts that the manual transmission Challenger Hellcat was having a hard time meeting emission standards.

Last year, Challenger fans noticed that the six-speed transmission was no longer selectable for new builds. Despite regular posts from Dodge representatives stating that the manual would become available for order late in 2021, it’s clear that they’re still working on it. But with pressure to greenwash their vehicle portfolio, parent company Stellantis may see the time and effort to bring the calibration to the finish line could instead be used on future electric vehicles.

While there’s no information on when orders will open up for manual Challenger Hellcat models, Dodge’s representative indicated that the situation is temporary. It’s undoubtedly a frustrating situation for buyers that are eager to get a Dodge Challenger Hellcat before they are said to be gone for good by 2024.

Each day is a day closer to the Dodge Hellcat V8 roar getting replaced with a “sound you cannot imagine” from an electric muscle car. Whatever that sound may be, it will certainly never compare to the sound all muscle car fans adore.

If you’re willing to sacrifice the powerful Hellcat, the lower-end and Scat Pack models can still be ordered with three pedals. However, if you’re dead set on getting a manual transmission Hellcat, then you’ll have to bite the bullet and wait until Dodge makes the stick available again for the Challenger, whenever/if ever that may be.

The Hellcat lives on for 2023, but Dodge also announced 2024 plans

Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis has previously stated that Hellcat production will only continue through 2023—keep in mind that the carmaker has to buy emission credits in order to offset the effect these supercharged beasts have on its average fleet emission levels.

However, the head honcho has mentioned we’ll get a concept for an electric muscle car this year, with the production model set to arrive for 2024. This is expected to ride on parent company Stellantis (the FCA-PSA merger) STLA Medium or Large platform.

In addition, the CEO stated that 2022 will also see Dodge introducing an all-new plug-in hybrid not based on a current model, which could be the purportedly leaked Dodge Hornet incarnation of the Alfa Romeo Tonale small crossover.

The Italian model is available with a plug-in hybrid powertrain mixing a turbocharged 1.3L four-cylinder feeding the front wheels via a six-speed automatic, while the rear wheels get power from an electric motor. The combined output sits at 272 hp, while the 15.5 kWh battery means the official EV range is 30 miles.

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So, is it possible to manual-swap a Dodge Charger?

Dodge Challenger doing a burnout in Moscow | Mihai
Dodge Challenger doing a burnout in Moscow | Mihail Siergiejevicz/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Just to avoid any suspense, yes it is possible to manual swap a Charger. It’s a lot of work, it’s very expensive, and it might not be worth it, but that’s the answer. In fact, there’s more support for this project than might be expected. Some shops have done it a few times to older Chargers, from the 2006-2010 era. It’s bogged down by a few hiccups. 

The wiring harness requires a rebuild, depending on the year. Also, the Charger’s transmission tunnel is too small for the Challenger’s TR-6060. A custom shop called Cleveland Power and Performance successfully swapped the auto for the Challenger’s manual transmission in a 2010 Charger SRT-8. 

From this build, Cleveland cut out the Challenger’s tranny tunnel and welded it into the Charger. This build is expensive enough, so it would be a good idea to buy a donor Challenger with a manual transmission. It will have everything you need for the swap.

Whats new for the 2022 Challenger range?

As the Challenger approaches retirement and with the coupe having received the SRT Super Stock (think: halfway between Redeye and Demon) for the previous model year, the changes for 2022 are limited, at least when it comes to the standard model (more on this below).

The Deluxe Security Alarm is now standard on the R/T Scat Pack, SRT Hellcat, SRT Hellcat Redeye, and SRT Super Stock models, while the rest of the lineup sees this being included in the Driver Convenience Group.

Speaking of colors, Gold Rush is out—it has been introduced for the 2020 Dodge Challenger R/T 50th Commemorative Edition, but stuck for a while. And while the configurator doesn’t mention anything about a replacement right now, various unofficial sources talk about Dodge introducing Stinger Yellow in its place. And here’s to hoping this High Impact shade makes a full comeback rather than being confined to the new Jailbreak personalization bonanza—we’ll detail this in a moment— or the Hellcats.

As for the pricing, this has gone up. For instance, if we compare the 2021 and 2022 models in the configurator, we end up with a $3,475 premium for the Hellcat (this doesn’t include the said $2,995 cost for the automatic). And the figure climbs to $4,175 for the Hellcat Widebody.

The 2022MY saw Dodge introduce the Jailbreak personalization options for the Hellcat Redeye Widebody Challenger and Charger, which cover exterior colors, badges, and accessories (e.g. boot lid spoiler, exhaust tips, etc.), as well as cabin trim. There are pre-designed proposals or you can mix your own, but keep in mind that entering this club means getting engine calibration that pushes the high-output version of the 6.2L HEMI to the 807 hp spec of the Super Stock.

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Steven Symes

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