Charger | Dodge Specifications and Review
With the Confederate flag on the roof and welded-shut doors, the most famous Dodge Charger in history is the General Lee. Featuring in almost every episode of 1980s U.S. TV drama The Dukes of Hazzard, scores of the 1969 model were destroyed in various stunts and jumps at an average of more than one per show. The car’s other brush with stardom is in the Steve McQueen classic Bullitt, taking part in one of the most celebrated and influential chase sequences in movie history.
Both are examples of the earliest production Charger, a mid-sized coupe sold from 1966 to 1978, although it did appear as the name of a concept car in 1964. The showroom model made its public debut during a commercial break in coverage of the Rose Bowl college football game on January 1 1966.
Later that year Dodge went NASCAR racing with the Charger. During testing it acted like an airplane wing and the back end went light, so a trunk (boot) spoiler was added to increase downforce. NASCAR rules meant the production version had to have it too, so the Charger became the first U.S. market road car to feature one. NASCAR driver David Pearson went on to take the Grand National Championship in 1966 with fourteen wins.
The Charger was axed in 1978 and replaced by the Dodge Magnum, but in the 1980s returned as a rather ugly hatchback that did its heritage no favors. Theonly serious performer was the Shelby Charger developed by racer-turned-designer Carroll Shelby.
Following a 1999 concept car, the name was reborn again as a four-door sedan (saloon) in 2006. It also found its way into Brazilian dealerships as a variant of the Dodge Dart during the 1970s.
1969 • 317cu in/5,210cc,V8 • 230bhp/171.5 kW •
0-60 mph/97 kph in 9 seconds • 117 mph/187 kph