History of the Dodge Charger

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History of the Dodge Charger

History of the Dodge Charger

History of the Dodge Charger

The Dodge Charger has been making headlines again with the introduction of the 6.2-litre Supercharged HEMI V8 engine that offers drivers the opportunity to flex their driving muscles with thanks to an almost unprecedented access to 707 horsepower. That said, the Charger has a reputation and history that reaches as far back as 1964, where it was paraded around shows, and while based on the Polara, the earliest edition of the Charger carried a 426 Wedge engine.

Even at first glance it was easy to see that the Charger was going to make an impact on the industry.

Intending to create a new position between the Ford Mustangs and Ford Thunderbirds of the day, the sporty look of the original Charger was slightly altered by the time it because a production model for 1966. This model shared its chassis along with its front-end sheet-metal form with the Dodge Coronet, but the interior was where the Charger really stood out.

Unique compared to the rest of Dodge’s fleet, the back seats could be folded down for use as a station wagon or for camping purposes. Colourfully referred to as “Leader of the Dodge Rebellion”, the Charger’s first televised appearance came during the 1966 Rose Bowl to immediate interest.

But we’re getting a little ahead of ourselves.

History of the Dodge Charger

Dodge was having its share of difficulties competing in a market where Ford held many of the top-sellers, so, in a pivotal moment in their design history, executive orders came down to develop a fastback version of the already-existing Coronet. It was a simple request: unibody structure, torsion bars as springing mediums, solid rear axle on semielliptical leaf springs – nothing that wasn’t readily available to a development team.

The same year it launched, the Charger, equipped with the 426 HEMI V8 went on to win 18 awards in the NASCAR Grand National season.

Despite all of this goodwill and impressive feats, the Charger only sold 37,344 units during the first year, with only 468 models coming with the HEMI engine option. Still, it was a stepping stone towards something greater.

Now, Dodge had to save face and garner the attention that they felt the Charger ultimately deserved and, as history tells us, it would receive. This occurred in 1968 when the second generation was launched, a vehicle that became so famous that many assume, wrongly, that it was the first representative of the line.

History of the Dodge Charger

Many will likely be too young for these references, but at a time the Charger was such a hot topic that it became almost synonymous with a fast-paced, no-holds-barred lifestyle, thanks in part to its presence in the original Dukes of Hazzard television show, even receiving the name “General Lee”. Steve McQueen was also a man who encountered a Charger in the movie Bullitt.

Sometimes referred to as being one of the top models ever produced by the Chrysler Corporation, the Charger continued to sell exceptionally well, eventually being replaced in 1971 by a third generation. While generally regarded as less impressive in terms of features than its predecessor, the third generation went on to sell acceptably during its 3 year run, itself being shelved in 1975 for a fourth generation.

Sadly, the fourth generation was received poorly by critics and those who had been expecting improvements on the lacklustre third generation. It is recognized for the fact that domestic sales were so poor it was one the first market where they went, effectively, extinct.

In fact, it also plays to their scarcity, with fewer models on the road today of the fourth generation than the first.

History of the Dodge Charger

Dodge powered on, compelled to win back the faith that had been lost on the fourth generation, they released an all-new and highly evolved version of the Charger in 1982 that ran until 1987. Still, it fared well, as a performance package on the Omni 024, called the Charger 2.2, this was a choice that led to its share of complications over the years. Volkswagen engine issues in 1983 saw drastic changes as well as a 1984 transformative process where quad headlights were added, followed the next year with a turbocharged engine.

In the same period, renowned car guru Carroll Shelby modified the Dodge Charger to be sold as the Shelby Charger, with an emphasis on speed, style, and suspension features. He improved the horsepower, the manual transmission, as well as shortened the springs and added special wheels to make the car more effective on the road.

Now, we reach a lull.

There wouldn’t be another Dodge product to carry the Charger name for almost 2 decades, returned to life in the form of a sedan in 2006. Considered an entirely new branding effort, rather than carrying on as a sixth generation, Dodge has effectively started anew. The second generation coming into view in 2011. Made available with various packages were encouraging, as well as a look that stood out in the crowd, offering drivers with a need for speed to be accommodated on a much more stylish mode.

Come down to Basant Motors and learn more about the latest addition to the Charger brand, test drive it, and enjoy the benefits that come with driving a truly modern car.


Further Reading:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dodge_Charger

https://www.edmunds.com/dodge/charger/history/

https://www.allpar.com/model/charger.html

https://www.amcarguide.com/muscle-cars/dodge-charger-history-1964-2009/

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