Well folks, I am here to spit the straight truth at you....
Like many of you in Oppolandia, I have been lusting after the Hellcat twins something fierce. I have no _need_ for a Hellcat, but I definitely have much _want_ for a Hellcat.
Since the launch of the LX platform family of cars, I have been stewing over the fact that there was no Manual Transmission (MTX) option in the Charger. At first, I could understand that the Product Development teams had little time and resources to do a proper job integrating, calibrating, and homologating an MTX into this platform, knowing what I know about the biz from the inside. Low take rate. Costly development. Got it.
However, when Chrysler launched the Challenger derivative of the LX platform (LC) in 2008, all of a sudden, the MTX was an option. What gives ? How in the world could they offer an MTX in the Challenger and not in the Charger ? They had already invested precious product development funds/resources to integrate, calibrate, and homologate the MTX in for the 5.7L and 6.1L powertrain combinations. All they needed to do was get a longer prop-shaft for the Charger (the Challenger wheelbase is 100mm shorter than the Charger) and VOILA ! [Or so I thought...] The answer would come during a conversation with a friend on the inside of Lucifer's Workshop where the Hellcat was born.
I lamented to my friend about the Automatic Transmission (ATX)-only Charger, and received a quick retort: "Don't knock it 'til you've tried it. The ZF 8HP shifts mighty quick, and you'd be hard pressed to match the engine torque curve to conditions as efficiently as the ZF 8HP does." I guess my friend is right since the ATX-equipped cars get better Fuel Economy than the MTX-equipped cars. Well, part of that is the transmission calibration, and part of it is the limited MDS mode activation in the MTX-equipped cars due to NVH. All of that jazz is great and all, but I really like to 'row-my-own' even if it is slower and less efficient - I just enjoy the engagement in the drive.
I pressed my friend again... "Why no 6-speed MTX in the Charger ?" He paused... "Well," he said, "The MTX is a significant tear up to the floor pan (body) of the Charger. To do an MTX in the Charger would require a full impact and crash safety certification effort for the program. This is big bucks, and the product strategy folks pin the take rate for a Charger MTX in the low single digits." "Shit.", I thought out loud. "Yeah, so we set about making the ZF 8HP the best ATX possible."
So there you have it.... The Challenger body was designed from the beginning with an MTX in mind. Not just any MTX, but the honkin' big TR-6060 from the Viper. They had plans for an SRT-8 MTX model with the Challenger. Therefore, the Challenger went through all of it's impact and crash safety certification and homologation testing with the 'big doghouse' floorpan. The original Charger program had no such provision, and changing the floorpan to accommodate the TR-6060 Transmission would necessitate a full impact and crash safety certification and homologation effort which would have cost much more than the incremental sales of a small fraction of Chargers with Manual Transmissions.
TL;DR: The Charger platform does not have provisions in the floorpan to accommodate a Manual Transmission. Changing the floorpan (more than simply punching a hole for the shifter) would necessitate a full impact and crash safety certification and homologation effort which would cost much more than the incremental profit from a small fraction of Chargers with Manual Transmissions.
I still want an MTX-equipped Charger... Damn it.