The new Dodge Challenger harks back to one of the toughest cars from the muscle car era of the 1970s but the only transmission option available is a five-speed auto. In fact, the entire run of 7,100 2008 model Challenger SRTs, the performance variant of the Challenger lineup, all come with a slush box for the 435hp 6.1L V8 HEMI.

The good news is that Chrysler hasn’t ruled out adding a manual option. The bad news is that it won’t be available until the 2009 Challenger arrives later this year. Handling the HEMI’s 435hp and 420lb-ft of torque will be a six-speed Tremec 6060 manual gearbox, a modified version of the same unit used in the Dodge Viper SRT10, reports Automotive News.

The 2009 model will also see the introduction of a cheaper 3.6L V6 model to match the base Ford Mustang and an expected entry-level Chevrolet Camaro. Officials will provide full details about specifications and equipment at next week’s New York Auto Show.

2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8