The Dodge Charger is a brand of automobiles marketed by Dodge. The first Charger was a show car in 1964. There have been several different production Chargers, built on three different platforms and sizes. In the U.S., the Charger nameplate has been used on subcompact hatchbacks, full-sized sedans, and personal luxury coupes. The current version is a four-door sedan.
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) 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-type vehicle.
The name Charger was also used in Brazil as a performance model based on the Dart (A-Body) (1971–80).
Model years of Chargers
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 Dodge Magnum. During the years this car was offered, a Daytona model was offered, featuring stripes that ran along the length of the car.
Fifth generation: 1981–1987
The Charger returned in 1981 1/2 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. The turbo was available only with the manual transmission, unlike in the Dodge Daytona. 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.
Sixth generation: 2006–2010 (LX)
After nineteen years, Dodge reintroduced the Charger in 2005 for the 2006 model year in a new form. This generation was 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 harkened back to that era, as did the new stamped hood and side panels. This generation was available with a V6 and V8 engine options coupled to 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 3.5 L 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 mated to a 5-speed automatic transmission. A multiple-displacement system that allows it to save fuel by running on only four cylinders when cruising was also featured in the V8.
Performance was focus of the Charger SRT8 equipped with a 6.1 L Hemi engine mated to a 5-speed automatic, 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.
Seventh generation: 2011–present
The Dodge Charger received an improved interior and new exterior styling for 2011. This included new side scoops along both front and rear doors, as well as more angular headlights, aggressive new grille styling, and a more defined and aerodynamic shape overall. Most notably, the rear end adopted a more modern wrap around LED tail light spanning across nearly the entire length of the trunk. Driver visibility was improved by more than 15% addressing complaints from previous years. The side and rear styling cues are reminiscent of the 1968-1970 models.
Base performance was increased, with the 3.5L V6 engine being replaced with a Pentastar 3.6L producing 33% more power and 11% more torque. The 4-speed automatic transmission was replaced with a 5-speed auto.
The SRT-8 was not produced for the 2011 model year.
The 2012 year brought a new 8-speed automatic transmission to the V-6 model. This year also saw the return of the SRT-8 to the model lineup. AWD was also added to the V6, making AWD available on all but the SRT-8 model.
For the 2012, 2013, and 2014 years, the Super Bee platform was available, making use of features seen in regular SRT-8 models with accessories and badges reminiscent of the 60s and 70s muscle car. These included a 6.4L engine with 470 HP, four piston Brembo brakes, slotted calipers, paddle shifters, SRT launch features (such as 0-60 timing, Live G-Force readings, and ¼ and ⅛ mile drag timers), custom seat embroidery, and more.
For 2015 the Charger received significant exterior styling updates. Most notably, the new front end which featured new led lights and a more aerodynamic nose that was less angled and featured a noticeable curve around the headlight housing.
All models now came standard with the 8-speed automatic transmission save for the specially produced police version which retained the 5-speed auto. AWD was dropped for the V8 engines and was only available with the V6 version.