Although I have purchased several new cars over the course of my adult life, I have never custom ordered one. I also never thought I would purchase a new Dodge Challenger (or anything that wasn’t a “truck” or “suv”), simply because I don’t like to be limited by the capability of my one vehicle. After some thinking, it came over me to make a lifestyle-altering decision. I may have exaggerated there.
I am not purchasing an upwards of $80K SRT Hellcat. There is a miniscule, irrational part of my animal brain that wants to, but let’s get real; I live in a winter climate and only have one car. And honestly, if I had $80K to blow on one vehicle, it would be a classic model.
On top of that, I am not interested in driving anything that is not AWD, at a minimum. I simply decided that I no longer need a pickup truck and I no longer need the “lift” of a larger vehicle, since I no longer live in Colorado where feet of snow can appear out of the blue and trap those without a more capable vehicle.
I wanted something a little “smaller”, more nimble and a little more fun. Plus, my other half just purchased a new Jeep Wrangler, so at the very least, I have access to something in the rare and unlikely event I need something with a little more “lift and crawl”.
Since I was in middle school, my dream car has always been a 70-71 Dodge Challenger. As I near my mid-40s and see that they are only getting more rare, more expensive, and generally unrealistic for me to own one anytime soon, I decided to have a serious look at the newer models. The newer models share the similar “pony car” lines of the original models and given that new cars and SUVs all look the same these days, this became more and more attractive to me.
Also, the fact that the new GT model comes in AWD made the whole idea more realistic. Sure, it only comes in a 6-cylinder, but I am not looking for a race car; I am looking for a car that is built for long-hauls, my “epic road trip” habit, is comfortable, stylish, drivable year-round and I can actually afford pay off in a couple years with my side-hustle freelance money. (Sorry, Audi).
One major lesson I learned in my previous new vehicle purchases is not to settle. Not even on a small thing, because it always ate at me and it eventually made me not “love” the vehicle. I want my new vehicle to be 100% what I want and since it doesn’t cost anything but a bit of waiting time to get exactly that, I decided to order. I negotiated my trade, incentives and put $500 down to place my order on October 21st.
Details and Order Tracking
For those who are curious about the exact configuration I ordered, click here.
My negotiated purchase price with my upside-down trade is $42,972. With taxes and fees, exactly $44,433. I will not be purchasing any extended warranties or any of the other fun and exciting things dealerships try to sell, so that will be my final price, which is right around MSRP, which was my requirement.
If you are interested in ordering your own car, be sure to go to the dealership armed with:
- A printout of your exact configuration
- A printout of any current manufacturer incentives
- A printout of any dealership incentives
- A printout of any local competitor dealership incentives
- A printout of any TrueCar incentives (this alone took off $1K)
- A pre-approval letter from your selected bank/credit union
The dealership just loves it when you whip all these out, but I assure you, they work and saved me thousands. Even with an upside-down trade, owing somewhere to the tune of $3K over trade-in value, I still managed to get the price under MSRP (before fees).
- October 21st – Order Placed
- November 1st – Chatted with Dodge. VIN assigned, order status “D”
- November 5th – Chatted with Dodge. Order status “D-1”
- November 8th – Chatted with Dodge. Build date “this week”.
- November 11th – Chatted again. Paint stage! Status ‘F’
- November 13th – Dealership called. Car is in transit.
- November 24th – Dealership called me. Car in my hands.
I will update this post with additional details up until the final moment, so stay tuned…