Dodge Charger

In the 1960s Dodge was searching for a way to reach broader range of consumers. The management decided the quickest way to gain additional market was to develop a modern version of its Coronet model car.

As a result in 1966 the Dodge Charger was presented to the public.The Charger was in essence a Coronet, other than the two-door fastback roof and unique trim.

There wasn't anything unconventional about the engineering design. A simple unibody structure that used torsion bars as a springing medium was the only specific trademark.

The car was rather big even for the era, being 203.6 inches long with a 117-inch wheelbase. A convex grille in front with hidden headlights gave the car a unique look.

At the back of the vehicle, a full-width taillight featured the Charger name in chrome letters. The body was aerodynamically stable, but the roof and deck lid looked massive when observed from behind.

As an interesting fact, Chrysler's 426-cubic-inch Hemi V8 helped Dodge to win manufacturer's title during the NASCAR's 1966 Grand National season. Dodge Charger interior had four bucket seats with a large center console, while the rearward pair of buckets would also fold forward to extend the cargo-carrying capacity.

Four round bezels made the instrument panel unique in comparison to other models. The engine in the Charger was 318-cubic-inch overhead valve V8, with a two-barrel Carter carburetor, totally holding 230 horsepower. A standard three-speed manual transmission was incorporated, but many buyers preferred the optional three-speed Torqueflite automatic.

A stronger version of engine was also available for the demanding consumers. Dodge Charger didn't make an instant success but it opened a new area as a top of the line muscle car. In the first year 37,344 units were sold. The following year sales dropped to 15,788 units, making his future doubtful.

However, the Charger managed to survive for the second generation in 1968. Restyling of Dodge Charger with a new Coke bottle look made it popular among muscle cars fans. The 1968 sales greatly exceeded expected 20,000 units, as the market absorbed all 96,000 models built, and people still wanted more. Having finally succeeded in their original intent, Dodge management was reluctant to change what was finally working. The usual annual styling changes were avoided and the company made only minor changes such as a chrome center divider in the grille.

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