Dodge Charger

From Academic Kids

There have been a number of vehicles bearing the Dodge Charger nameplate, but the name has generally denoted a performance model in the Dodge range. The 1980s versions had a confusing array of names, and badge-engineered Plymouth and Chrysler versions were also available. In the late 1960s and early 1970s the Charger was one of the most popular of the Mopar B-body cars.



The first Charger was a mid-size American muscle car introduced in 1966, inspired by the popularity of the Ford Mustang and Plymouth Barracuda fastbacks. It was originally available with engines ranging from the base-model 318 ci (5.2l) V8, 361 B engine, 383 B engine, 440 RB engine, to the famous 426 Hemi.


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Bo and Luke Duke popularized the 1969 Dodge Charger in The Dukes of Hazzard

The full-size 196870 models, featuring a restyled "flying buttress" fastback and recessed headlights, were the most popular Chargers. The top-line Charger R/T came standard with the 440 "Magnum" cubic inch (7.2 litre) V8 motor. The 440 was conservatively rated at 375 hp (280 kW) with a single four barrel and 390 hp (291 kW) with three two-barrels. Both engines could produce 425 to 435 hp (317 to 324 kW).

The television series The Dukes of Hazzard featured a 1969 Dodge Charger as the General Lee, often quoted as the most famous car on television. The muscle car performed stunts in almost every episode, and the show's popularity drove a surging interest in the car. The show itself purchased hundreds of chargers for stunts, as they generally destroyed at least one car per episode.


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Unusual triple opera window on 1973 Dodge Charger SE
See also Dodge Super Bee

The Dodge SuperBee made the move from the Coronet line to the Charger line for 1971 only, then the model was discontinued thereafter. A top-line R/T line was also produced, with 63 Hemi versions built and 2,659 made with other motors. Rapidly rising insurance rates combined with higher gasoline prices reduced sales of musclecars and 1971 was the last year of availability of the 426 Hemi "elephant engine" in any car, including the Charger. The 3rd generation Charger lasted through 1974, and continued to be produced up until 1978, it effectively ceased to be a performance car after the 1973 oil crisis and the vehicle was re-branded into the personal luxury segment, like many of its muscle car compatriots. A more luxurious version of the Charger, the Dodge Magnum, appeared for the 1978 and 1979 model years.


See also Shelby Charger

For 1979, Chrysler brought out sporty versions of the L-body Dodge Omni/Plymouth Horizon called the Dodge 024 and the Plymouth TC3. The two cars shared Chrysler's 2.2 L K-car I4 as their top powertrain choice, producing 84 hp (63 kW). The cars shared a 70 hp (52 kW) 1.7 L Volkswagen I4 as the standard engine. In 1982, these nameplates were changed to the Dodge Omni Charger and the Plymouth Turismo, respectively.

1983 saw major changes for Chrysler and the Charger (no more "Omni"). The Volkswagen engine was out of production, so a joint Chrysler/Peugeot 1.7 L engine was used instead. But the big news was that Carroll Shelby would create a sporty version of the car later in the year (see Dodge Shelby Charger below). The transformation continued in 1984, with quad headlights now differentiating the Charger from it's Omni origins.

For 1985, the Shelby and Charger names were shuffled to reflect the addition of a turbocharged engine (see Dodge Charger Shelby below). Plymouth also got a version of the old Shelby Charger, reviving the Duster name as the Plymouth Turismo/Duster. The previous high-compression 107 hp (80 kW) Shelby Charger engine was now an option on regular Dodge Chargers. For 1986, the mandated center high-mounted stop light was added, and the 96 hp (72 kW) 2.2 L engine made its way down to the base models.

1987 was the last year for the Omni/Horizon-derived Charger and Turismo. 2,011 Chargers with the hotter 174 hp (130 kW) Turbo II engine were now badged Shelby Charger Turbo (no "Dodge"). These should not be confused with the real 1987 Shelby Charger, though — Carroll Shelby bought 1,000 of the last Chargers and packed them with the Omni GLH's engine and suspension to be sold under this name. The Plymouth Duster name continued on the new Plymouth Sundance line.

Dodge Shelby Charger

For 1983, Carroll Shelby modified the Dodge Charger, to be sold at Dodge dealers as the Dodge Shelby Charger. Rather than focusing on speed, Shelby modified the suspension and styling. The engine compression was raised for 107 hp (80 kW), and the manual transmission had revised ratios. Shorter springs and special wheels and tires complemented stronger brakes and quicker steering. Outside, a new nose and stripes accented the performance image. Production was 8,251 for that first year.

For 1984, the Shelby Charger had a new red exterior color and automatic transmission option. 7,552 were sold. The high-output engine (now up to 110 hp) was also available in regular Chargers, though it was rare.

Dodge Charger Shelby

The MPFI/turbo Turbo I engine was added for 1985's Dodge Charger Shelby. This engine produced 146 hp (109 kW) and was much changed from its first appearance in the Daytona Turbo the previous year. 7,709 Charger Shelbys were made that year, and 7,669 were produced in 1986. 1987 was the final year, with just 1,011 produced, plus 1,000 more that Shelby modified as the 1987 Shelby GLHS.

Shelby Charger Turbo

2,011 of the last 1987 Dodge Chargers were sold as the Shelby Charger Turbo. Not exactly Charger Shelbys, and not yet Shelby Chargers, these cars were sold by Dodge dealers but without the Dodge name. They used the uprated Turbo II engine, good for 174 hp (130 kW).


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The Charger Enforcer at the New York International Auto Show on the day of its debut
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A 2006 Dodge Charger at the Canadian International Autoshow

In February, 2005, Dodge introduced a new rear wheel drive Charger on the Chrysler LX platform also used by the Chrysler 300 and Dodge Magnum. This 2006 model year car is a four-door sedan, disappointing fans of the previous two-door Chargers. It is built in Brampton, Ontario, Canada.

The base engine (for the Charger SE and SXT) is Chrysler's 3.5 L V6 which produces 250 hp (186 kW) and 250 ftlbf (339 Nm) of torque. This version of the car sells for US$22,995.

The Hemi R/T version uses the 5.7 L Hemi V8 and sells for US$29,995. This engine produces 340 hp (254 kW) and 350 ftlbf (475 Nm) of torque. Dodge expects 60% of Charger buyers to opt for the Hemi-powered R/T model. In 2005, Dodge announced a new Police Package version of the Charger with upgraded brakes and the Hemi engine.


  • SE — 3.5 L Chrysler V6, 250 hp (186 kW) and 250 ftlbf (339 Nm)
  • SXT — 3.5 L Chrysler V6, 250 hp (186 kW) and 250 ftlbf (339 Nm)
  • R/T — 5.7 L Hemi V8, 340 hp (254 kW) and 350 ftlbf (475 Nm)
  • Daytona R/T — 5.7 L Hemi V8, 350 hp (261 kW) and 390 ftlbf (529 Nm)
  • SRT-8 — 6.1 L Hemi V8, 425 hp (317 kW) and 420 ftlbf (569 Nm)

Daytona R/T

The 2005 Charger Daytona R/T debuted at the Chicago Auto Show. It features a High Output 350 hp (261 kW) version of the 5.7 L Hemi as well as an updated suspension and tires. Engine torque is also boosted, to 390 ftlbf (529 Nm). Visual additions include a special front fascia with a chin spoiler. In a retro touch, the Daytona R/T features black "Hemi" decals on the hood and rear fender and is only available in two retro colors: "Go Man Go" metallic orange (from the 1970 Charger) and Top Banana yellow (also a 1970-vintage color). It is priced at $32,495 and 8,000 will be produced for one year only.


An SRT-8 version of the Charger debuted at the 2005 New York International Auto Show. Powered by a 425 hp (317 kW) version of the 6.1 L Hemi, it also features upgraded Brembo brakes, and interior and exterior updates. The engine produces 420 ftlbf (569 Nm) of torque. This power rating makes the 2006 SRT-8 as powerful as the largest of the legendary Hemi engines of the muscle car era.


The Charger featured prominently in the 1968 film Bullitt, the 1974 film Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry and later in TV's The Dukes of Hazzard. The Charger was also in The Fast and the Furious (2001 movie).

See also

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