The History Behind One of Dodge’s Muscle Car Masterpieces
The modern incarnations of Dodge’s famous muscle cars could obviously not have hit the market at a better time.
Enthralled by the Charger and Challenger’s retro appeal and throaty engine sounds, consumers have pushed sales through the roof at Dodge Dealers in South Florida.
While many buyers flock to these mind-blowing, modern pony cars, not all of them know about the rich history behind them. Let’s take a quick jaunt in the way-back machine for a look at how the Charger started out.
The first Chargers arrived on the scene in 1966. They were two-door fastbacks that were based on an existing model, the Coronet.
The original engine was a 318 cubic inch V8, but more intense options were available. Unfortunately the rear-wheel-drive coupe saw meager sales. But luckily Dodge had a vision for it.
’67 brought the dawn of the Charger R/T which housed Dodge’s largest engine, the 440 Magnum. It was standard with all R/T packages.
In 1968 the Charger got a total redesign, though it retained the same engine options as the first generation. Sales of the model did see a significant increase due to its updated interior and exterior.
In ’69, a track-ready Charger 500 came down the line with revisions for better aerodynamics and strong race capabilities.
That fall, a second model, the Charger Daytona, was released, and it had an incredibly successful racing season. The Charger and its cousin, the Plymouth Superbird, won 75% of that the competitions in 1970.
It was considered the fastest stock car in the world, and new regulations even had to be put in place to limit power since it consistently wiped the floor with its rivals.
Throughout the seventies, the Charger saw many more alterations. Some focused on increasing efficiency because of the recent oil crisis.
Aesthetically, it got a split grille, semi fastback rear window, and a spoiler. And it saw a big uptick in sales, though it was partially due to the retirement of the Coronet.
Starting in ’75, Dodge took a different aim, moving the Charger from the muscle car arena and into the luxury sector. Unfortunately the strategy did not prove successful, and after 1977, it left the stage for some time.
The Charger did not reappear until the ’80s when it came back to life with a look that was incredibly indicative of the decade.
With a boxy appearance that was reminiscent Back to the Future, the Shelby Charger was introduced in ’83. A turbo option was offered the next year, furnishing 148 horsepower.
Production ran for five years, but ultimately the Charger stepped back once more. Thankfully, the next time it showed up, it was not rocking MC Hammer pants or wearing any scrunchies.
In 2006 it took its modern form, available in multiple trim levels with various engine sizes. It was a pretty immediate hit.
With looks to kill and performance set to stun, the latest Charger has brought the brand great success. This year, it was even released in a special trim to celebrate Dodge’s 100th anniversary.