A Short History of the Dodge Charger
Today, the Seventh Generation of the Dodge Charger is reestablishing itself as one of Detroit's most significant muscle cars. Let's take a look at the journey that the Charger has traveled and its current state as one of the most sought-after muscle cars.
The first was a concept car
The first Charger was a concept car built by Dodge in 1946. It was built to introduce the company's new 426 HEMI engine to the public. While this powerful Charger sedan did get noticed by the press, it didn't grab the public's imagination and nothing more came of it for almost 2 decades.
The First Generation
In 1964, the massive success of the Ford Mustang had Chrysler brass rethinking their product line-up. Even though Plymouth had introduced the Barracuda just weeks before the Mustang landed, Chrysler quickly realized that the Mustang trend needed to be followed to complete in the new youthful marketplace. In 1966, Dodge unveiled the first-generation Charger. Larger than a Mustang, the Dodge Coronet- based Charger came out of the gate swinging with four different V8 engines, including the new 426 Hemi.
The NASCAR Effect
During the 1960s, NASCAR became a major entertainment venue and before long, it was noted that winning at NASCAR translated into car sales. As matter of fact, our friends at Rouen Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram of Woodville, OH said a come phrase of those days was "Win on Sunday, Sell on Monday." Knowing this, Dodge entered the new Charger with its powerful 426 Hemi motor into the NASCAR series. However, racers soon discovered that the Charger's design developed significant high-speed lift, and this made Chargers difficult to control.
The Second Generation
Although they retained all the mechanics of the first-generation Chargers, the second generation, released in 1968, was a complete redesign. Gone was the lengthy roofline of the 66-67 models, replaced by a more sculpted body with small, integrated trunk spoiler. By 1969, the muscle car wars were in full swing and Dodge provided plenty to choose from. The coupe could now be optioned with no less than four different big block V8s, ranging from the two-barrel 383, to the 426 "Elephant" Hemi.
After months of research and development, including extensive wind tunnel testing, Dodge engineers finally had a way to tame the aerodynamics of the Charger. The result was the Daytona which featured a wild 18-inch fiberglass nose extension with a massive 23-inch wing over the trunk lid.
The Charger Daytona and its room-mate, the mechanically-identical Plymouth Superbird, proved so effective on the track that NASCAR officials banned wing cars from competition after the 1969 race year. 1969 would end up being the sole year of production for the original Charger Daytona.
The Soft Years
With the early 1970s rising gas prices and federal gas mileage regulations all bearing down on performance cars as a whole, Charger sales crashed. By 1975, it had been repositioned as a personal luxury car. The third-generation car was available with was either a two-barrel or four-barrel 360ci V8 rated at 180 and a three-speed automatic, the only transmission option. After 1977, Dodge deleted the Charger from its lineup.
The Sixth Generation - A New Hope
Nineteen years after putting the nameplate to rest for a second time, Dodge reintroduced the Charger as an all-new model for the 2006 model year. This rear-drive, full-sized sedan offered great performance with the debut of the Charger SRT8. SRT stands for Street & Racing Technology, a high-performance group within Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA). Powered by a 6.1-liter Hemi V8 putting out 425 horsepower, the SRT model boasted forged aluminum wheels, Brembo brakes, upgraded interior appointments, and aggressive bodywork.
The Seventh Generation
When the seventh generation Charger was introduced in 2011, things started to turn around. The 2011 Charger model lineup consisted of three trims, the SE, R/T, and R/T AWD, and all equipped with a 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6.
In 2015, the automotive world experienced tremors when the Charger SRT Hellcat was released. Powered by a 6.2-liter supercharged Hemi V8 that cranked out 707 horsepower, the Hellcat was declared as the fastest sedan money could buy.
For model-year 2018, the Dodge Charger has nine trims to its name. A wide spectrum of engines and colors– Plum Crazy, Go Mango, Yellow Jacket, Top Banana, Hemi Orange and Citron Yella.
Image Source: Google Images