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.