Sell my Classic Dodge Charger 1966-73
The Dodge Charger (B-body) is a mid-size automobile that was produced by Dodge from 1966 to 1978.
1965 Dodge Charger II Show Car
During the early-1960s, automakers were exploring new ideas in the personal luxury and specialty car segments.
Chrysler selected their Dodge Division to enter the marketplace with a bigger model.
The intention was to use the mid-size B-body for a sporty car with a fastback look.
The fastback Charger was introduced in mid-season of the 1966 model year “in retaliation to the AMC Marlin, Ford Mustang, and Plymouth Barracuda”.
The 1965 Rambler Marlin and the Dodge Charger that arrived during the 1966 model year, were “the two cars set the standard for radical fastback design in American mid-size automobiles.”
Burt Bouwkamp, Chief Engineer for Dodge during the 1960s and one of the men behind the Dodge Charger, related his experience during a speech in July 2004.
His direction was to give them a specialty car, don’t make it a Barracuda competitor was all he was told.
So the 1966 Charger was born.
“We built a Charger ‘idea’ car which we displayed at auto shows in 1965 to stimulate market interest in the concept.
It was the approved design but we told the press and auto show attendees that it was just an “idea” and that we would build it if they liked it.”
A “mid-1966 surprise was Dodge’s Coronet-based Charger fastback.”
It shared its chassis and front-end sheet-metal with the mid-sized Coronet, the Charger “still looked a lot like a Coronet or AMC’s conceptually similar Rambler Marlin … [and] substantially more expensive than either.
The Charger with a $3,100 base price “was immediately paired up in the automotive press with American Motors’ year-old Marlin, another fastback specialty machine that came in at around $2,850” and some called the Charger “a good-looking Marlin.”
The Charger’s interior was different from all other cars.
- Back seats that folded down
“The Charger didn’t begin with the performance/ muscle car image, though you could get a Hemi with it.”
The Charger evolved into possibly the top Chrysler-made muscle car.
The 1966 and 1967 model years of the Charger are also the only Dodge cars that displayed the Fratzog Emblem on the grill as well as the trunk hatch.
On January 1, 1966, viewers of the Rose Bowl were first introduced to the new 1966 Charger.
The Charger’s debut also followed by a half model year the introduction of a new street version of the 426 cu in (7.0 L) Chrysler Hemi engine.
Designed by Carl “CAM” Cameron, the Dodge Charger introduced a:
- Fastback roofline
- Pot-metal “electric shaver” grille.
The grille used:
- Fully rotating headlights (180 degree)
Hidden headlamps were a feature not seen on a Chrysler product since the 1942 DeSoto.
In the rear the fastback design ended over a full-width six-lamp taillight that featured chromed “CHARGER” lettering.
1966 Charger instrument panel
Inside, the standard Charger featured:
- A simulated wood-grain steering wheel
- four individual bucket seats with a full length console from front to rear
The rear seats and rear center armrest pad also folded forward while the trunk divider dropped back, which allowed for generous cargo room.
Numerous interior features were exclusive to the Charger including:
- Door panels
- Courtesy lights
- Premium trim and vinyl upholstery
The instrument panel didn’t use regular bulbs to light the gauges
It used electroluminescence which lit the:
- Four chrome-ringed circular dash pods
- Shifter-position indicator in the console
- Clock and air conditioning controls if equipped.
The dash housed a:
- 0 to 6000 rpm tachometer
- 0 to 150 mph (240 km/h) speedometer
- Alternator, fuel, and temperature gauges
Engine selections consisted of only V8s with a straight-six engine becoming stannard by 1968.
1966 transmissions included:
- A three-speed steering-column mounted manual with the base engine
- Console mounted four-speed manual
- Or three-speed automatic.
In 1966, four engines were offered:
- The base-model 318 cu in (5.2 L) 2-barrel
- The 361 cu in (5.9 L) 2-barrel
- The 383 cu in (6.3 L) 4-barrel
- New 426 Street Hemi.
Only 468 Chargers were built with the 426.
Total production in 1966 came to 37,344 units for the mid-model year introduction.
1967 Charger NASCAR Spoiler
In 1966, Dodge took the Charger into NASCAR in hopes that the fastback would make their car a winner on the high-banks. However its body generated lift and so a small lip spoiler on the trunk lid was added that improved traction at speeds above 150 mph (240 km/h).
The 1966 Charger was the first U.S. production vehicle to offer a spoiler.
The 1967 model year Charger received minor changes.
- New fender-mounted turn signals were introduced
- A vinyl roof became available
Inside, the full length console was eliminated to satisfy customer complaints about the difficulty for entry and exit from the back seats. It was replaced with a regular sized console.
Bucket seats were standard, with a but a folding armrest/seat and column shifter being was an option.
The 440 “Magnum” was added and the 361 cu in (5.9 L) V8 was replaced by a 383 cu in (6.3 L) engine.
The 440 was rated at 375 bhp (280 kW) with a single 4-barrel carburetor.
The 318 two-barrel “LA” Chrysler LA engine was now the base engine.
- Wedge-shaped combustion chambers.
The 383 4-barrel rated at 325 bhp (242 kW) and the 426 Street Hemi rated at 425 bhp (317 kW).
A mere 27 Chargers were built with the 426 engine.
Sales of the 1967 Chargers dropped to half of the previous introductory half-year with a total of 15,788 units.
The entire B-body lineup for the 1968 model year was redesigned and the Charger was further differentiated from the Dodge Coronet models.
Designer Richard Sias developed:
- A double-diamond coke bottle profile with curves around the front fenders and rear quarter panels.
- Front and rear end sheet metal was designed by Harvey J. Winn.
- The rear end featured a “kick up” spoiler appearance, inspired by Group 7 racing vehicles.
- A “flying buttress” was added to the roof to give the rear window area a look similar to that of the 1966-67 Pontiac GTO.
- The Charger retained its full-width hidden headlight grille, but a vacuum operated cover replaced the electric motor rotating headlights.
- The previous full-width taillights were replaced with dual circular units and Dual scallops were added to the doors and hood.
Inside, the interior was new with a:
- Conventional fixed rear seat replacing the folding bucket seat design.
- Conventional trunk area included a vinyl mat, rather than the previous model’s carpeted cargo area.
- The center console in the front remained, but there was no center armrest
- The tachometer was now optional instead of standard and the electroluminescent gauges disappeared in favor of a conventional design.
The standard engine was the 318 cu in (5.2 L) 2-bbl V8
It was replaced in mid-year with a 225 cu in (3.7 L) slant-six.
A new high-performance package was added, the R/T (“Road/Track” with no ‘and’ between Road and Track).
The R/T came standard with the previous year’s 440 “Magnum” and the 426 Hemi was optional.
In 1968, Chrysler Corporation began an ad campaign featuring a cartoon bee with an engine on its back featuring models called the “Scat Pack”.
The Coronet R/T, Super Bee, Dart GTS, and Charger R/T received bumble-bee stripes (two thin stripes framing two thick stripes).
The stripes were standard on the R/Ts. They came in:
- Or black
The 1968 model year Charger sales increased to 96,100, including over 17,000 Charger R/Ts.
1969 Dodge Charger
There were two different 383 engines available for the 1969 model year:
- 2-barrel and 4-barrel.
The 2-barrel was rated at 290 hp. The four barrel engine was rated at 330 hp.
The 330-hp engine was unique to the Charger model in 1969.
While this engine was available with an un-silenced air cleaner option, it differed internally from the 335-hp 383 “Magnum”.
In 1969 the B-series engines were all painted Chrysler Engine Turquoise with the exception of the 383 four speed, 440 Magnum which were painted Chrysler High-Performance Orange.
Theses differed from the 426 Hemi which was painted Street Hemi Orange.
The 335-hp 383 Magnum engines were also painted Chrysler High-Performance Orange.
The 383 Magnum motor was used in Road Runners and Super Bees, but did not appear in a Charger body until 1971.
Differences between the 330-hp 383 4-barrel and 335-hp 383 magnum were mostly internal.
Both versions used:
- The Carter AVS carb
- Larger exhaust manifolds from the 440 Magnum engines
The Magnum had:
- A windage tray in the oil pan
- A different camshaft profile, and different valve springs.
The 1969 model year brought few modifications.
Exterior changes included:
- A new grille with a center divider
- New longitudinal taillights
A new trim line called the Special Edition (SE) was added. This could be available by itself or together with the R/T, thus making an R/T-SE.
The SE added:
- Leather inserts to the front seats only
- Chrome rocker moldings
- A wood grain steering wheel
- Wood grain inserts on the instrument panel
- A sunroof was added to the option list, but was ordered on only 260 Chargers
The bumble bee stripes returned as well, but were changed slightly.
It now consisted of a wide stripe framed by two smaller stripes. In the middle of the stripe, an R/T cutout was placed.
If the stripe was deleted, a metal R/T emblem was placed where the R/T cutout was.
Total production was around 89,199 units.
The 1969 Dodge Charger in The Dukes of Hazzard
The television series The Dukes of Hazzard (1979–1985) featured an orange 1969 Dodge Charger that was named The General Lee.
“The General” sported the Confederate battle flag painted on the roof and the words “GENERAL LEE” over each door.
The windows were always open, as the doors were supposedly welded shut for racing, and the actors would do a window slide to get in and out.
The number “01” is painted on both doors. Also, when the horn button was pressed, it played the de facto Confederate States anthem “Dixie”. The car performed spectacular jumps in almost every episode.
The show’s popularity produced consumer interest in the car.
Dodge Charger 500
In 1968, the NASCAR inspired Charger R/T failed to beat the Ford cars on the high-banks oval-tracks.
Wind tunnel tests showed the tunneled rear window caused lift and the gaping mouth induced drag.
Dodge made the rear window flush with the rest of the roof and put a 1968 Coronet grille in the front.
The original Charger 500 prototype was a 1968 Charger R/T with a:
- 426 Hemi
- Automatic transmission.
It was painted in B5 Blue with a white stripe and had a white interior. The Charger 500 was one of three models introduced in September 1968.
Standard engine was the 440 Magnum. The Charger 500 had the Torqueflite standard and the same equipment standard as the R/T.
A total of 500 Charger 500s were made
- 67 had the 426 Hemi engine
- 27 with a 4-speed
- 40 with an automatic transmission.
Dodge Charger Daytona
Dodge was not satisfied with the results of the Charger 500. The car was not enough to beat the other aerocars on the NASCAR circuit. The Dodge Charger Daytona was introduced on April 13, 1969. It quickly received over 1,000 orders.
The Charger Daytona finally received an 18 in (460 mm) nose.
The Charger Daytona also received a 23 in (580 mm) tall wing in rear.
This wing was bolted through the rear quarter panels and into the rear sub frame.
Although proven to be less effective than shorter wing designs, it helped increase the car’s overall speed.
The Charger Daytona engineering model was tested on the Chelsea Proving Grounds on July 20, 1969. It was clocked at 205 mph (330 km/h) with a small 4-bbl. Carb.
The Charger Daytona introduced to the public had:
- A fiberglass nose without real headlamps
- A wing without streamlined fairings
The media and public loved the car.
They were mystified by the reverse scoops on the front fenders. They claimed it was for tire clearance. They reduced drag 3%.
The Charger Daytona came standard with the 440 Magnum Engine.
Optional was the 426 Hemi with 425 hp (317 kW) and 490 lb·ft (660 N·m).
The 426 Hemi was also available with the no cost option of the A833 4-Speed Manual.
Only 503 Charger Daytonas were built:
- 433 were 440 Magnum
- 139 4-Speed
- 294 Torqueflite
- 70 were 426 Hemi power
- 22 4-Speed
- 48 Torqueflite.
In the end, the Daytona was brought down by the decision to make the 1970 Plymouth Superbird the only Chrysler winged car for the model year.
1970 Dodge Charger
The Charger was changed slightly for the 1970 model year.
This would be the last year of the 2nd generation Charger and featured:
- A large wraparound chrome bumper
- The grille was no longer divided in the middle
- New electric headlight doors replaced the old vacuum style.
- The taillights were similar to those used in 69, but 500 and R/T models came with a new more attractive taillight panel.
The R/T had:
- New rear-facing scoops with the R/T logo mounted on the front doors, over the door scallops
- A new 440 or HEMI hood cutout made the option list for this year only.
Dodge painted the hood scallop inserts black and put the silver engine callouts on top.
New “High Impact” colors were given names, such as:
- Top Banana
- Panther Pink
- Burnt Orange
- Go Mango
- Plum Crazy
The 500 returned for another year, but as a regular production Charger.
Interior changes included:
- New high-back bucket seats
- The door panels were also revised
- Map pockets were now optional instead of standard
- The ignition was moved from the dash to the steering column,
- The glove box was now hinged at the bottom instead of the top as in 1968-69.
The SE “Special Edition” trim option added luxury features such as:
- The all new pistol grip shifter
- Along with a bench seat.
A new engine option made the Charger’s list for the first time, the 440 Six Pack
- Three two-barrel carburetors and a rating of 390 hp (290 kW)
The Six Pack was previously used on the mid-year 1969 Dodge Super Bee and Plymouth Road Runner.
Despite this new engine, production slipped again to 46,576.
This was mainly due to the new E-body Dodge Challenger pony car and rapidly increasing automobile insurance rates.
1971 Dodge Charger
The 1971 model year introduced a new third generation Charger that was characterized by:
- A new split grille and more rounded “fuselage” bodystyle.
- The interiors were like those of the E-body and were now shared by the Plymouth B-body, the Plymouth Satellite Sebring and Road Runner.
- The hidden headlights were now optional
- A rear spoiler and a “Ramcharger” hood were new options.
- This hood featured a pop-up scoop mounted above the air cleaner controlled by a vacuum switch under the dash.
On Plymouth Road Runners it was called the “Air Grabber” hood
It was previously used on the Coronet R/T and Super Bee.
Dodge also merged its Coronet and Charger lines.
From 1971, all four-door B-bodies were badged as Coronets and all two-door B-bodies as Chargers.
From 1971 to 1974, Charger models used the Coronet’s VIN prefix of “W”.
The Dodge Super Bee made the move from the Coronet line to the Charger line for 1971 only, after which this model was discontinued.
Several other models were carried over from 1970, including:
- The 500
Sales of the R/T declined due in part to higher insurance costs.
A total of 63 Hemi versions were built
2,659 were built with other engines that year
The death of the muscle car
The muscle car’s popularity began to die because of:
- Increasing insurance rates
- Higher gasoline prices
- Dramatically reduced sales of most muscle cars.
1971 was the last year of availability for the 426 Hemi “Elephant engine” in any car.
The 1971 model year was also the last for the 440 Six-Pack engine.
In the Super Bee’s final year, the 340 became a $44 option over the standard, low-compression 383.
In 1971-only “Citron Yella” was now available.
The 1972 Charger introduced a new “Rallye” option to replace the R/T version.
The SE was differentiated from other 1972 Chargers by a:
- Unique formal roof treatment and hidden headlights
The 383 engine was replaced with a:
- Lower compression 4-barrel 400
Also beginning in 1972, all engines featured:
- Hardened valve seats to permit the use of regular leaded or unleaded gasoline
The 440+6 (designating a triple 2-barrel carb setup and 310 bhp (231 kW; 314 PS) engine did not meet the new and more stringent 1972 emissions laws.
The engine was dropped out of production by September 1971.
The low-compression 4-barrel 440 Magnum 280 hp (209 kW; 284 PS) with a 4-barrel carburetor then became the top engine
The optional Pistol-Grip 4-speed Hurst manual shifter could be coupled to the 340, 400, and 440 Magnum engines.
- The Ramcharger hood scoop was discontinued
- So was the optional lower geared performance rear axle ratios
- Extra heavy duty suspensions.
It was also the final year for the Dana 60 differential
It was available only in combination with the:
- 440/4 speed
- Heavy duty suspension
- The 3.54:1 rear axle ratio.
The only remaining color choices were now:
- “Hemi Orange” (EV2)
- “Top Banana” (FY1)
1973 Dodge Charger
For the 1973 model year, Chargers received:
New sheet metal and were in fact longer, wider, and slightly taller than previous cars.
Also new were:
- Vertically slatted taillights
- New grilles.
- Hidden headlights were dropped, even as an option.
- The 318 was still standard
- The 340 (available only on the Rallye)
- 360 (2-barrel only)
- 400 (low power 2-barrel/single exhaust and high performance 4-barrel/dual exhaust)
- 440 remaining as options.
The SE models had a:
- New roof treatment that had a “triple opera window” surrounded by a canopy-style vinyl roof
All other models had a:
- New quarter window treatment
Total sales this year were around 108,000 units, the highest ever for the 1971-74 Charger generation.
More than 60 percent of the cars had the non-high performance engines.
The 1973 Chargers were equipped with 5 mph bumpers, front and rear.
1974 Dodge Charger
The 1974 model year saw only minor changes that included:
- New color choices
- A softer grain pattern on interior surfaces
- Slight increase in the size of the rubber bumper tips
- The 340 option was dropped and the 360 4-bbl replaced the 340 as the small block performance engine. All other engine options remained the same.
- Several performance rear end ratios, including a 3.23 “Sure Grip” rear end were still available. A four speed transmission was still an option except with the 440 engine.
Emphasis now turned to luxury instead of performance.
Higher sales materialized for the SE model.
The Charger turned into a personal luxury car.
The muscle car era was over, and the 1974 Dodge Charger would be the final year.
The 1974 also came with a:
- 360 cu in (5.9 L) 2-bbl V8 with a K in the fifth symbol in the VIN.
The 1975 model year had the Dodge Charger and Chrysler Cordoba share the same new body based on the B platform.
The Chrysler Cordoba replaced the Plymouth Satellite Sebring.
The Charger SE (Special Edition) was the only model offered.
It came with a:
- Wide variety engines from the 318 cu in (5.2 L)
- “LA” series small block V8
- 400 cu in (6.6 L) big block V8
The standard engine was the 360 cu in (5.9 L) small block.
Sales in 1975 were 30,812.
In order for Dodge to be represented, NASCAR allowed the 1974 sheetmetal to be used until January 1978
In 1976 a Dodge Charger was one of two NASCAR stock cars to compete in the 24hrs at LeMans.
The 1976 model year Charger range was expanded to four models
- Charger Sport (formerly the Dodge Coronet 2-door model, which appeared for just the previous model year only),
- Charger SE
- Charger Daytona.
The base and Sport models used a different body than the SE and Daytona
They were essentially a re-badging of what had been the 1975 Dodge Coronet 2-door models and were available with a 225 cu in (3.7 L) Slant Six
The Charger Daytona was introduced as an appearance package with either the 360 or 400 engine.
Sales increased slightly to 65,900 units in 1976.
In 1977, the Charger Sport and the base Charger were dropped as this body style became part of the newly named B-body Monaco line
Only the Charger SE and Charger Daytona were offered.
Estimated production was 30,367 units.
In 1978, its final year as a B-Body, only 2,735 Chargers were produced.
The Magnum replaced the Charger as Dodge’s B-body personal luxury car this year.
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