Five Fast Facts about the Dodge Charger
- During the 1960s, Chrysler envisioned to create a car from its Dodge Division to compete with the luxury and specialty car segments, where Ford Mustang and Ford Thunderbird have secured their thrones. The most requested concept by the Dodge Dealer Council was a Barracuda-type vehicle like the Plymouth's, but it was made clear to make it distinct. Thus, a fastback Dodge Charger was launched in 1966 in an auto show to dominate in the untapped market of mid-size automobiles.
- First launched in 1964 as a roadster-style show car, the Dodge Charger is equipped with 373 or 385 hp using a 426 Wedge V8 engine-Chrysler's main performance B engine before the 426 Hemi. It was based on the Dodge Polara, the manufacturer's top-of-the-line full size car in 1960. However, during the production of the first Chargers, it was based on the Dodge Coronet, which had the B-body platform.
- The 426 Hemi was regarded as the mightiest engine available from Chrysler during the 1960s. It was also one of the most powerful street engines. This powerful engine was unique to the 468 Dodge Chargers in 1966.
- The Super Bee version of the Dodge Charger, powered by 6.1 liter Hemi engine with 425 hp, shocked the world during its debut in an auto show in 2006 with its unique
Detonator Yellow body color and black decals. The limited number of 1000 Bee models were sold worldwide. A blue version of this Bee became available in 2008. The 2012 model of the Bee comes in
Stinger Yellow and
Pitch Black hues.
- In 2006, American police departments such as LAPD and NYPD adopted the squad-car version of the Dodge Charger-complete with upgraded heavy-duty brakes, an Electronic Stability Program, police performance-tuning steering. This model is designed for police equipment and accessories, such as siren and light controls. Powered by a 340-hp Hemi V8 engine, this potent rig was built specifically for the law enforcers' operations. The Charger squad cars also made appearances on various American movies and TV series as
CSI: NY (2004-2012),
Scream 4 (2011), and
The Amazing Spiderman (2012) during police car chase scenes.
Dodge Charger Problems
The fastback, Barracuda-type Dodge Charger was built by Chrysler in 1966 to compete with the personal luxury and specialty cars segments. True enough, its 1966 model that's equipped with the mighty 426 Hemi engine made its way to the top, but only for a certain time due to its expensive price. The latest Dodge Chargers were inspired by the LX model and are being used as police squad cars today. For Charger owners and prospective buyers, it is best to know the common problems of this vehicle for safety and security.
Handling and stability
The first Dodge Chargers were undoubtedly fast, thanks to their Hemi engines that can produce up to 425 gross horsepower and 490 lb-ft of torque. However, when it comes to handling and stability, the Charger's "slippery" shape created what can be described as a skating experience to its drivers. Despite the car's tail being slick, it worsened the problem of its body-generated lift that even racing drivers, who are used to driving at high speeds, found it frightening to drive a Charger. Nevertheless, Dodge equipped the succeeding models with a small lip spoiler on the trunk lid to improve the traction when the vehicle runs at high speeds. This enhancement on the 1966 Charger became a breakthrough in the United States as the Charger became the country's first production vehicle to offer a spoiler.
In May 7, 2012, however, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued a recall for about 120,000 Chrysler 300 cars and Dodge Chargers, especially police squad cars, regarding loss of anti-lock brakes and stability control due to a fuse issue in the power distribution center. This defect increases the risk for car crash and road accidents due to loss of vehicle control.
Tire pressure monitoring system
Another problem with the Dodge Charger, specifically for the 2012 SRT8 model, is caused by a failure in the tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS). Vehicles manufactured from May 2011 to November 2011 were discovered to have defective TPMS that do not warn the drivers when their tires are 25 percent below the recommended pressure. Since this poses serious threats to the drivers, considering that underinflated tires could lead to tire blowout and other road accidents, a recall was issued for Chrysler to reprogram all the Dodge Charger's defective TPMS.
Six Fun Facts about the Dodge Charger
The Dodge Charger first appeared in 1964 and continues to come off the assembly lines today. While its appearance in the automotive isn't a wholly unbroken run, that fact makes the Charger name one of the most long-running, most popular, and most enduring brands in the world today. The older models, especially, are very sought-after by collectors.
The year 1968 was a good one for the Dodge Charger, and enthusiasts point to the restyling and refurbishing of the look of the Charger in this year as the main reason for its great sales success. The new look that many have dubbed "the Coke bottle look" made it one of the-if not the-most gorgeous looking muscle cars ever made.
Legendary racer Richard Petty drove a 1966 Dodge Charger in NASCAR. As a testament to its versatility and amazing performance, his number 43 Charger was predominantly unmodified-pretty much raced as it was off the production line. Sadly, the later-model Charger used by Jimmy Mayfield-number 19-was the exact opposite: most of the parts were strictly non-stock.
The 1968 model of the Dodge Charger set an amazing precedent that its successors struggled to follow: its demand was so high that production of the Charger at the Hammtramack, Michigan plant was tripled-with an additional production line added at St. Louis, Missouri. This all represented a whopping 460% increase in sales than in the year before!
The Dukes of Hazzard put the 1969 Dodge Charger on the map, and made it a prime collector's piece today. This Charger was named the General Lee and was driven by the Duke cousins Bo and Luke in the TV series. The name was-obviously-a reference to the Confederate General Robert E. Lee, and the look was iconic in itself: orange color,
01 door decals and the Confederate naval jack on the roof. Additionally, its horn plays the first line of the Confederate song, "Dixie".
Fast forward to 2011 and the Dodge Charger has gone far from its roots. While still altogether sporty, it's no longer classed as a muscle car: it's now a much more spacious four-door sedan. While traditionalists might not like the modern reinterpretation, it's a well-received "evolution" of the venerable design.
The Top Two Common Gripes about the Dodge Charger
The Dodge Charger is one of the most enduring American automotive icons ever. Since it "starred" in the Dukes of Hazzard as the General Lee, it is easily one of the most identifiable rides in the world. It wasn't such a slouch when it came to performance neither-it received high praises in the years since its release to become among the most beloved muscle cars that dominated the American imagination and market for decades. In fact, it was so popular that they revived the brand in the 21st Century-oddly enough, they didn't make it a muscle car. That's where all the problems started to crop up. Granted, there aren't that many problems altogether-but the newer Dodge Chargers were certainly buggier than their classic counterparts.
Brake rotor failures
This problem is most manifested in the 2006 iteration of the Dodge Charger. In the best case scenarios, the only difficulty encountered is an irritating squealing when the brakes are engaged. In the absolute worst cases, there is significantly bad premature deterioration of the rotors that actually affects braking performance. Needless to say, this is potentially hazardous to driver and passenger if left unfixed.
There was a recall order issued-number 58831-for the entire braking system on the 2006 Charger so if you own one, it's best to check if you're covered. Over 40000 units were affected, after all. If not, then some dealerships have proven proactive and actually replace the rotors or the entire system to great effect. If you are absolutely unlucky enough not to be covered by either, you can simply replace the entire system with amazing aftermarket equivalents.
Premature engine failure
Once again, the offending year is 2006, and while this is more serious than the preceding problem, it is actually somewhat rarer. Affected units manifest the problem first by odd engine sounds, soon followed by a complete engine failure-no amount of coaxing gets he unit starting up again. Ultimately, it results in you Dodge Charger being completely inoperable.
Sadly, no recall order was issued given the less common nature of the problem. Some dealers prove helpful enough to give an overhaul. Brace yourself to spend quite a lot, because the best solution seems to be a replacement.
My Dodge Charger would not start, and the little red light in my dashboard is on. I tried some quick fixes; I replaced the battery and tested the starter, but nothing happens. It's been recurring for a few weeks now, and I don't know what else to check. Should I bring it to the repair shop already, or is there another fix for this?
Unfortunately, there is no quick fix for this ignition problem. Your vehicle's wireless ignition node (WIN) module is causing this issue. Don't try to experiment on a fix for this, and just let the experts do the job for you. Bring your car to the repair shop immediately to have the WIN module replaced. Many Charger owners have been reporting this problem, but Dodge did not issue a recall for this problem in this particular version of Dodge Charger.
I'm a very patient driver until my Charger suddenly hesitates and won't exceed 40 mph. It was very upsetting, as I was rushing for a meeting. On top of that, I was given a code P0108. What's wrong with my car and what does that code mean?
Your car just experienced a problem with the Manifold Absolute Pressure (MAP) sensor. This part is responsible for determining the required fuel metering for optimum combustion. Your car was not able to go over 40 mph because your engine is acting up. You should have your car checked for a possible faulty sensor that needs to be replaced. Or else, you might end up losing your temper while driving.
I've been hearing a rattling noise every time I go over humps or holes on the road. I'm not sure if the sound is being caused by my car's sway bar or struts. I'm becoming equally annoyed and concerned. How would I know what's causing the noise?
You can do a little experiment by having someone shake the car, while you check where the sound is coming from. If you still can't figure it out, you can bring it to a mechanic who can readily tell you what's causing the rattling noise. Once you've identified if it's the struts or the sway bar, do the necessary action to fix it so that you will not be distracted with the sound while you are driving.
I can smell a foul odor coming from the vents of my Charger. I tried looking under the hood, but I cannot detect where exactly the smell is coming from. I cannot tolerate it anymore. What's going on with my car?
The odor could be coming from your air filter. This filter is prone to getting wet and then being dry, which causes molds to start building up around it. In this case, what you can do is to change the filter with a fresh one, or clean it until you get rid of all the molds and bacteria. Make it a habit to clean your air filter regularly to avoid having this problem again.
The Evolution of the Dodge Charger
One of the most iconic muscle cars in the past five decades, the Dodge Charger has been into a plethora of incarnations starting from the 60s. It was born out of the brilliant minds of the now discontinued DaimlerChrysler as a show car on 1964. Then in the years after, its iconic styling was seared into pop history by starring in the hit television series “The Dukes of Hazzard,” Steve McQueen’s nemesis in “Bullitt,” and burning rubber in America’s largest spectator sport: NASCAR. Now entering its sixth generation, the Charger looks to charge into the new horizon.
1966-1967: The “anti-mustang”
In the 60s, America dominated pop culture with the likes of Martin Luther King Jr., Elvis, and Neil Armstrong. In the automobile industry, there wasn’t much difference at all. The Big Three (GM, Ford, Chrysler) owned car sales; with 93% of cars in the U.S. bearing their badges. By that time, the “Baby Boomers” controlled the market and they wanted a car that showed their youth. One of their choice cars was the Ford Mustang, which skyrocketed into fame due to its striking look, affordability, and superior performance. Dodge needed to address this; hence, the Charger was born. Even with the esteemed “Hemi” trim rated at 425hp, it did not make any believers. Chrysler only managed to sell just 37,344 units in the 1966 and a measly 15,788 in 1967. However, it was poised for a comeback.
1968-1970: “Back with a vengeance”
Perhaps the most memorable among the line-up, the second generation Charger became a household figure by appearing on the legendary Steve McQueen movie: “Bullitt.” Chrysler made bold changes to its body, showing off its “coke bottle” design that is both sleek and brawny. The interior was met with praises for having aggressive tones mixed with flashy elegance. The engine was no slouch either. The introduction of the V8 R/T variant handled 375 horses that churned a 6.5 second 0-to-60 run. 96,100 pieces were sold during its 1968 run. The next year, however, was a mixed era of triumph and disaster, mainly on the circles of NASCAR. Dodge’s attempt to outpace the Ford Torino with the Charger 500 only met defeat. But with the Daytona, the Charger was back into contention being the first stock car to go over 200 mph.
1971-1974: “Final bid at the top”
After a storied run of the second gen, Chrysler sought to use the success as a springboard in the launch of the third. In 1971, it had several models and trims under its name: a hardtop, coupe, the 500, 500 Super Bee and R/T. The Charger was completely remodeled from the headlights to the semi-fastback rear window. The shorter but wider body still drove people to its charm, selling 82,681 cars. However, by 1972, only three models remained in its roster: 500, Super Bee, and R/T. The new Rallye model debuted in this generation, sporting a V8 280hp engine. It still managed to sell almost 76,000 pieces. But in 1973, sales bubbled to 119,318 cars. The 1973 and 1974 models didn’t have much difference. Even with the triumphant sales of the third, the Charger was about to see its final glory days.
1975-1978 fourth gen & 1983-1987 fifth gen: “A taste of mediocrity”
The mid-70s was famous for the financial downfall of America’s economy and the fuel crisis. Couple that with tough emission regulations and it was only a matter of time until the muscle car era was declared done. In 1975, only one variant was offered: the SE. And despite the heavy engine (5.9 liter V8), it only produced 200hp at best. Only 30,812 units were sold. Nevertheless, it was about to get uglier. The fifth resurrection of the Charger was a not a flamboyant hardtop or a streaking coupe. It was a three-door 2.2-liter 84hp hatchback. The Omni 024, as it was known in the 80s, was a 180-degree turnaround from the legend and lore of the Charger three generations back. It was reduced to being an ordinary car trying to cope with the times. Rightfully so, the economic model sold 14,420 units. But this doesn’t mean it didn’t have any highlights. In 1983, Shelby decided to develop a better performing Charger. The Shelby Charger had 107hp, a revamped suspension, and 15-inch aluminum wheels. This significant improvement was widely accepted but never celebrated. The executioner’s axe fell on the Charger on 1987, when Chrysler decided to mercifully cut-off production.
2006-present: “The rebirth of a classic”
After 19 years of limbo, the muscle car movement was resuscitated with the re-emergence of the Camaro, Mustang, and the Charger. The rebirth of the Charger was received positively, though with mixed reactions still. This generation was technically the most balanced Charger yet with the base SE model bringing in 250hp, 17-inch wheels, and cruise control. On the other hand, the performance-level R/T had 340 hp, 18-inch wheels, and an SXT package for creature comforts. To appease car junkies, a Daytona package was produced with 10 added horsepower and racing specs. To cap off the resurgence of the Charger, the Super Bee version, 30 years removed from existence, has seen yet another run in 2009.