NC dealer creates the convertible Challenger that Dodge won't build

Three different drop-tops are available

Dodge still hasn't turned the Challenger into a convertible, and the odds of seeing a factory-built drop-top muscle car appear in showrooms are decreasing annually. Tired of waiting, a dealership in North Carolina teamed up with a Florida-based body shop to create a topless alternative to the Ford Mustang and the Chevrolet Camaro. It's the real thing, and it's for sale.

Keffer Dodge, Chrysler, Ram and Jeep shipped three 2019 Challengers to a shop named Convertible Builders, according to Motor Authority. After losing their lid, they gained a cloth soft top that opens and closes at the push of a button. There's no word on what effect the conversion has on handling, or what Convertible Builders did to offset the loss of structural rigidity.

The build didn't include mechanical modifications. Two of the convertibles are R/T Scat Pack models equipped with a 6.4-liter Hemi V8 engine that serves 485 horsepower and 475 pound-feet of torque. It's not a supercharged Hellcat V8, but it's potent enough to spin the rear wheels in third gear. The third, R/T-based model features a 375-horsepower, 5.7-liter V8. While our dream build would use a six-speed manual transmission, all three come with an eight-speed automatic that sends the engine's power to the rear wheels.

Keffer's website lists the gray, white, and red cars at $64,000, $60,000, and $56,300, respectively. The regular R/T Scat Pack Widebody model starts at $46,245, and the eight-speed automatic adds another $1,595, so the convertible conversion adds about $16,000. It's your only option, unless you're brave enough to chop the top yourself, or patient enough to wait until the early 2020s.

Dodge has already started developing the next-generation Challenger, so the current car is unlikely to spawn a convertible before it retires. Its replacement due out in 2021 or 2022 will allegedly ride on a wider, longer evolution of the Giorgio platform found under the Alfa Romeo Giulia, among other models, and unverified rumors claim it's being designed with a topless variant in mind from the get-go. It might resurrect the Barracuda nameplate originally assigned to Plymouth when it makes its debut.

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