Classic Dodge Chargers
The original Dodge Charger burst onto the scene as a show car in 1964. There have been several different Chargers, built on three different platforms and sizes. In the U.S., the Charger nameplate has been used on subcompact hatchbacks, full-sized sedans, and personal luxury coupes.
The Dodge Charger was introduced as available for retail purchase during the 1966 model year. It was designed as a two-door fastback body with four bucket seats. The mid-sized Charger shared similarities with the Coronet that also used the Chrysler B platform. The base engine was a 318 cu in (5.2 L) V8 with a three-speed floor shifter. Larger and more powerful engines were also available.
The Charger underwent redesign for the 1968 model year, which sparked an increase in sales. The new “Coke bottle” look made the Charger one of the best-looking muscle cars in the US, with many considering it the best-looking performance car of the 1960s. Still based on the Chrysler B platform, the model years received various cosmetic changes to the exterior and interior including: an undivided grill, rounded tail lights, and hidden headlights. The powertrains were the same as the ones used in the 1967 Charger. Dodge general manager Robert B. McCurry called the second-generation Charger a full-sized sports car, praising its “jet-age aerodynamic styling.” A radical departure from the 1966 Charger, the new one continued its performance image, and a host of new safety features. The company wrote that the “wedge-form” shifted emphasis to the rear wheels, with a forward thrusting look from there. The curved sides imitated the aesthetic of an aircraft cockpit. Dodge wrote, “This is no dream car. It’s a real ‘take-me-home-and-let’s stir-things-up-a-bit’ automobile.”
The Charger was a runaway success, by Dodge standards. For the next two years, Dodge was torn between the usual annual styling changes and not wanting to mess with a good thing; they made minor changes to the grille as a compromise. The 1968 has a chrome bumper under the grille, the 1969 has a chrome center divider in the grille, and the 1970 has a rectangular chrome bumper around the grille. A six-cylinder was introduced as the base engine and was underpowered for the mass of the Charger.
Other than the standard in ‘69, The Dodge Challenger and Charger Daytona were introduced for stock car races. An SE package was also introduced and offered a little more luxury. The 500 and Daytona had improved aerodynamics, which were primarily a flush grille and backlight on the 500, but were radical on the Daytona, which had a Cd (coefficient of drag) of 0.29, a number not bettered on production cars for many decades. Both cars had the 440 Magnum as standard equipment, with the 2X4-BBl 426 Hemi as the only engine option. The Daytona set a world closed-course record of 200.45 MPH at Talladega, Alabama in March, 1970, in a car that had been stolen on the streets of LA. Since then, the Dodge Charger has seen countless changes, and remains in production. The Chargers of the past are incredibly popular collectible cars, see our selection here.