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The Dodge Charger is an American automobile whose current version is manufactured in Canada by Dodge. First used on a show car in 1964, there have been several different production vehicles, built on three different platforms and sizes, all bearing the Charger nameplate. The Charger nameplate has been used with subcompact hatchbacks, full-sized sedans, and personal luxury coupes.
The three main iterations of Dodge Chargers were a mid-size (B-body) two-door car (1966–78), a subcompact (L-body) car (1983–87), and the (LX and LD) full-size platform four-door sedans built since 2006.
The name was also carried by a 1999 concept car that differed substantially from the Charger eventually placed into production for the 2006 model year. A similar name plate, the Ramcharger, was used for the truck-based vehicle.
Model years of Chargers
- 1964 Dodge Charger (concept): a roadster-style show car based on the Dodge Polara
- 1965 Dodge Charger 273: a limited production option package for the Dart GT
- 1966–78 Dodge Charger (B-body): a rear wheel drive coupe
- 1970–80 Dodge Charger: Brazilian version based on the Dodge Dart, with a higher-compression 318 V8 engine
- 1983–87 Dodge Charger (L-body): a front wheel drive subcompact hatchback
- 1999 Dodge Charger (concept): a rear wheel drive concept car
- 2006–present: Dodge Charger (LX): several model and trim versions of a rear wheel drive four-door sedan
First generation: 1966–1967
The Dodge Charger was introduced during the 1966 model year. It featured a two-door fastback body design and a four bucket seat interior. The intermediate-sized Charger shared components with the Coronet that also used the Chrysler B platform. The base engine was a 318 cu in (5.2 L) V8 with a three-speed floor shifter. Larger and more powerful engines were also available. Sales were low.
Second generation: 1968–1970
The Charger was redesigned for 1968, and sales increased. Based on the Chrysler B platform, the model years received various cosmetic changes to the exterior and interior including: an undivided grill, rounded tail lights, and hidden headlights. The powertrains were the same as the ones used in the 1967 Charger. The model was not successful in stock car racing such as NASCAR. A more aerodynamic shape formed the Charger 500 model that became the basis for the 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona.
Third generation: 1971–1974
The third generation Charger was introduced for the 1971 model year. Chrysler's B platform was modified to meet new emissions and safety regulations. Available in six different packages with cosmetic changes that include: a split grill, semi fastback rear window, and a ducktail spoiler. The 1973 and 1974 Chargers were very similar to the 1971 with minor differences in the grill and headlamps. The increase in sales was mostly due to the elimination of the Dodge Coronet, which meant Dodge offered the two-door intermediate-size body style only as the Charger.
Fourth generation: 1975–1978
The 1975 model year Charger Continued as a B body car and was restyled. The new Charger was Dodge's attempt at moving the model into the growing personal luxury car market segment. Dodge expanded its presence in the Personal Luxury Car market in 1978 when it produced two cars in the same class, the Charger and the Magnum.
Fifth generation: 1982–1987
The Charger returned in 1982 as a subcompact hatchback coupe with front-wheel-drive, and a five-speed manual or three-speed automatic transmission. This economy-type model was similar to the Dodge Omni 024, but with a slightly larger engine. The Charger was available with the NA 2.2l SOHC or a turbocharged 2.2l SOHC engine. Both engines could be specified with either transmission. A Shelby Charger was offered starting in 1983, with a turbo version available in 1984 producing 148 horsepower (110 kW) at 5600 rpm and 160 pound-feet (220 N·m) of torque at 3200 rpm. The engine was not intercooled and used a small t3 Garrett turbo. In 1985, the electronics were updated but power output was the same. In 1986, the electronics were further updated.
Reintroduced as a sedan: 2006–present
After nineteen years, Dodge reintroduced the Charger in 2006 in a new form. This generation is available only as a four-door sedan using the Chrysler LX platform The design was intended to be reminiscent of the Chargers of the 1960s and 1970s and the taillights harken back to that era, as do the new stamped hood and side panels. This generation is available with V6 and V8 engines, 5-speed and 8-speed automatic transmissions, as well as all wheel drive (AWD).
In its inaugural year, the Dodge Charger was available in SE, SXT, R/T, R/T with Road/Track Performance Group, and Daytona R/T versions. The basic SE model included a V6 engine, 5-speed automatic transmission with "AutoStick" manual shifting feature, 17-inch wheels, air conditioning, all-speed traction control, as well as ABS and electronic stability control, a CD player, tilt and telescoping steering column, power locks/mirrors/windows, and remote keyless entry. Additional features and trims were available including the Charger R/T with a 5.7 L Hemi V8 with a multiple-displacement system that allows it to save fuel by running on only four cylinders when cruising.
Performance was the feature of the Charger SRT8 equipped with a 6.1 L Hemi engine, as well as conveniences such as an eight-way power front passenger seat, automatic climate control, special grille and rear spoiler, body-color interior trim, special front fascia and engine cover, larger exhaust tips, performance steering gear, heated front seats with perforated suede inserts, power-adjustable pedals, and special colors and exterior trim. Optional was a Road/Track package with 10 additional horsepower, GPS navigation system, 322-watt audio system, sunroof, and a rear-seat DVD entertainment system.
- Dodge Charger Daytona – the name given to three different modified Dodge Chargers built on the B-body and LX platforms
- Super Bee
- Shelby Charger
- Dodge Charger R/T (1999 concept)
- 1971–1976 Chrysler Valiant Charger – short wheelbase Valiant coupe produced by Chrysler Australia
- The General Lee – Dodge Charger used in the television series The Dukes of Hazzard
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