2009 Dodge Challenger SRT8 6-Speed – Click above for high-res image gallery This isn't our first sampling of the reborn Dodge Challenger. We've driven the SE, R/T and SRT8 variants before. However, this time it's different. We've secured a Challenger SRT-8 with a six-speed manual transmission – and it's a whole different breed of bull. The six-speed-equipped Dodge Challenger SRT8 drives exactly as it looks. Unlike the countless poseurs promising handling with oversize tires, performance with monstrous exhaust pipes, or luxury with overstuffed cabins, the Challenger SRT8 delivers only what its exterior suggests – a mountain of machismo-infused muscle-car entertainment. We had a week with Dodge's tribute to testosterone, and it's one we won't soon forget. Contrary to its automatic-equipped siblings, the manual gearbox transforms the SRT8 from merely entertaining to positively supernatural. Make the jump to find out why this husky red coupe had us shaving twice daily. %Gallery-75763% Photos copyright ©2009 Michael Harley / Weblogs, Inc. We're all quite familiar with the Challenger SRT8. Introduced in 2008, it exists as 4,140 pounds of old-fashioned American muscle. Styled after the hot-rod E-body Dodge coupe from the Seventies, the Dodge Challenger is arguably the most accurate retro-styled representation in its class, followed close by the Chevrolet Camaro and redesigned Ford Mustang. The top-of-the-line variant parked in our driveway is the SRT8 model – differentiated by its big engine, big brakes, big wheels, sport suspension tuning, racy interior and a host of other improvements. Best of all, and unavailable in the 2008 model year, our 2009 SRT8 is fitted with a six-speed manual gearbox connected to a pistol-styled shifter. Seemingly fished dripping wet from a vat of bright red paint (Dodge calls it "TorRed"), more than a year after its introduction, the SRT8 still managed to generate an outlandish amount of attention on public roads – easily the most this author has experienced in a vehicle costing less than $100,000. Like a plus-sized red seductress, the unique Challenger drew stares and smiles at gas stations, mall parking lots, soccer fields and trundling along on the highway. Little kids begged to sit behind the wheel and dream (while their fathers simply asked for joy-rides, which we happily obliged). One afternoon after a thorough washing, there was a knock on our front door. Two strangers had been driving by in their pickup and the Challenger had caught their eye. Mesmerized, they came by to ask for a closer look. In all its masterfully-styled manifestation, those retro-lines do become an obstacle from the driver's seat. The view from the big-man's chair is of an expansive hood, reminiscent of those "infinity pools" that disappear somewhere over the horizon. It is absolutely impossible to tell were the faux carbon fiber-striped sheet metal ends, or where the front wheels are. With its ocean liner turning radius, you get used to backing up – a lot. As expected, the view rearward isn't any better through the small back window or small side mirrors (the SRT8 is a …
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