For some, the image of a Dodge Charger conjures up a gloss black 1968 R/T Charger screaming through the streets of San Francisco with Steven McQueen in hot pursuit. This car is a second-generation Dodge Charger, and today it is an iconic and highly sought-after car.
Today, the Seventh Generation of the Dodge Charger reestablishing itself as one of Detroit’s most significant muscle cars. With our partners at DCH Chrysler Dodge of Temecula, CA, let’s take a look at the journey that the Charger has traveled –from its muscle car dominance in 1960s to its current state as one of the most popular performance cars on the market.
The First Generation
In 1964, the massive success of the Ford Mustang had just about every automaker in the industry rethinking their products. Even though Plymouth had introduced the Valiant-based Barracuda just weeks before the Mustang came out, the industry shock waves produced by the Mustang stunned everyone. In 1966, Dodge unveiled their answer: their new Charger. The Dodge Coronet- based Charger came out of the gate with four different fast engines, including the new 426 Street Hemi. It was a contender right from the start.
The Second Generation
Although they retained all the mechanics of the first-generation Chargers, the second generation, released in late 1967, was a complete redesign. Gone was the lengthy roof line of the 66-67 models, replaced by a more sculpted body. By 1968, the muscle car wars were in full swing and Dodge offered plenty. 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. Chrysler Corporation with its Plymouth and Dodge brands were at the top of their muscle car game.
The Charger Deflates
With the early 1970s rising gas prices, insurance premium hikes, and federal gas mileage regulations all bearing down on performance cars as a whole, the Charger fell from grace. By 1975, the Charger had been re positioned by Chrysler Corporation as a personal luxury cars – performance not included. Longer than ever at 218 inches, the biggest engine of the third-generation car was either a two-barrel or four-barrel 360ci V8 rated at 180HP, and a three-speed automatic the only transmission option. After 1977, after poor sales, Dodge decided to pull the plug on the Charger brand altogether.
The Sixth Generation
Dodge reintroduced the Charger as an all-new model for the 2006 model year. The SRT8 rear-drive sedan was powered by a 6.1-liter Hemi V8 putting out 425 horsepower. In addition, it boasted forged aluminum wheels, Brembo brakes, upgraded interior appointments, and good bodywork. Dodge was back as a muscle car.
The Amazing Seventh Generation
When the seventh generation Charger was introduced in 2011, things started to get wild. The 2011 Chargers featured a body style that borrows styling from the legendary second-generation. The model lineup consisted of three trims, the SE, R/T, and R/T AWD.
In 2015, the automotive world experienced an earth quake when 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, Dodge muscle cars were ruling the field. The Charger has a full nine trims to its name and a wide spectrum of engines and colors were available. Paints included standard colors and from the original late 60s High-Impact Paint (HIP) collection – Plum Crazy, Go Mango, Yellow Jacket, Top Banana, Hemi Orange and Citron Yella.