Dodge's final Last Call special delayed, keeps blowing up engines

Earlier this year, we gave you the explosive news that Dodge was going to retire its Charger and Challenger models, and would send them off with a series of seven special edition “Last Call” trims. The run would finish with a beyond-ultimate model with a rumoured 900-plus horsepower, but there’s a problem — the engines seem to be as explosive as the news, except, y’know, literally so.

This seventh model would be the “last of its kind,” the automaker said, and was supposed to be presented at the 2022 SEMA aftermarket show the first week of November; alas, it’s not meant to be.

Instead, Tim Kuniskis, CEO of Dodge, made the announcement that the car wasn’t going to be ready in time. During a press conference just before SEMA, reported on by The Detroit Bureau, he said the unveiling was planned, “but we ran into some problems. To be more precise, the modified V8 has been blowing up when pushed to the limits in the Dodge test lab. We’re not talking about a minor breakdown. Apparently, the engines really have been blowing up.”

We still don’t know the specs on this engine, but the rumour mill suggests it will make 909 horsepower and be capable of running on E85 fuel, which is 85-per-cent corn-alcohol ethanol mixed with five-per-cent dinosaur juice. But it seems that the engine hasn’t yet come to terms with the idea it’s going to crank out that much, and so seems to be breaking itself apart on the dynamometer.

Thankfully, Kuniskis said he thinks the engineers have figured out the problem, or at least they do “if we don’t blow up any more engines. We think we got it fixed but I’m still holding my breath.”

It’s a shame that we won’t see the wraps come off it right now, but on the other hand, it does seem like Dodge is making the most of the situation. All automakers run into engineering issues on the long road to vehicle development, but they generally keep quiet about it — not admit it in public as has happened here.

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2023 Dodge Charger and Dodge Challenger Photo by Dodge

We’re figuring that even when Dodge finally delivers a bulletproof version of this monster, there are going to be some serious bragging rights about an engine that’s so powerful, it was too much for even the dyno!

Fewer than 5,000 of these “Last Call” models are expected to be built, and all will come out of Stellantis’ facility in Brampton, Ontario, the only one in North America to ever build the Chrysler 300 and the Dodge Charger and Challenger, plus the long-defunct Magnum wagon. The facility is planned for a year-long closure after the 2023 models are finished, and then will fire up again to build battery-electric vehicles.

The six “Last Call” vehicles already shown include the Dodge Challenger Shakedown, Dodge Charger Super Bee, Dodge Challenger and Charger Scat Pack Swinger, Dodge Charger King Daytona and Dodge Challenger Black Ghost. The seventh model’s name would have been revealed along with it and it’s still a mystery, although we’re thinking “Dyno-Mite” should really be in the running.

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