History of the Dodge Charger

In 1964, the Dodge Charger made its first appearance at a car show. From this show car, the production version of the Charger was born and went on sale in the fall of 1965 as a 1966 model.

The original Charger was based on the Coronet mid-size car; with the exception of its two-door fastback roof and a few unique trim pieces, the cars were incredibly similar. This means the Charger was big, with a total length of 203.6 inches.

Giving the Charger its unique look was its full-width convex grills and hidden headlights up front and full-width taillights in the back. The first generation Charger was not a major hit, but it gained enough popularity to survive to a second generation, which was where the Charger truly began to shine.

1968 through 1970 is the timeframe everyone thinks about when they imagine a Charger-think Steve McQueen's nemesis in Bullitt and, of course, the orange "General Lee" from The Dukes of Hazzard.

The second-generation Charger boasted bold styling that made it one of the best-looking cars of its time. In fact, the design both inside and out was so good, Motor Trend created a beautiful story about it, writing, "you look outside and see eerie sweeps of metal and hypnotic, fascinating shadows that soothe the pounding sun and make the car an almost organic, protective embrace. " 

Along with new styling, the Charger also gained more power with new available powertrain choices, including a 375-horsepower V8.

Once the 1970s arrived, the Charger took a big hit. Tighter emissions and safety regulations cut a lot of the Charger's power. By the end of the decade, the Charger's sales had dropped so much, production ended in 1977.

In the 1980s, the Charger made a brief comeback between 1982 and 1987. This Charger, however, was nothing like the previous models. It was a hatchback three-door coupe with front-wheel drive. This generation did benefit from a Shelby model that gave it more power and better handling. Even with these iconic models, it wasn't enough to keep the Charger in production. Once again, Charger production was halted and wouldn't start again for 19 years.

In 2006, an all-new version of the Charger appeared. This Charger had four doors, but its styling paid tribute to the models from the '60s and '70s. Today's Charger comes with a variety of powertrain options, including the intensely powerful Hellcat model, which pumps out 707 horsepower from its supercharged 6.2-liter HEMI V8.

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