"Sports sedan" categorizes Dodge Division's new Charger as well as any other label one might find. Although the Charger embraces a sporting flair with its fastback styling and its performance capabilities, it definitely has a sedan's attributes, too, in that it is designed to carry four passengers and their luggage in elegant comfort.
Dodge tested the concept with a showcar prototype, Charger II, in nine major auto shows around the country as much as a year before the car appeared in dealer's showrooms. Nearly all of the showcar's features, from roll-away headlights to 6-in-1, full-width taillight, were retained.
Except that it is done on the next size larger car, the Charger's construction parallels that of the Barracuda. What is basically a 2-door Coronet body is converted with a new roof, pillar and deck structures from a conventional notched-back hardtop into a long-sloped fastback hardtop.
A benefit of fastback design is a vent system which allows inner air pressure (whenever windows, fresh air vents, or heater vents are opened, the car's interior is pressurized by the incoming air) to escape out the rear into the low-pressure area following the car. Rubber flaps keep the interior closed off until a slight pressure is created, then swing open to let air out at the decklid/body-joint gap.
The second major departure from normal hardtop configuration in the interior layout. Here, a pair of hinged-back bucket-type seats replace the usual bench seat. These fold forward to form a flat extension of the utility area so that a long carpeted cargo deck is available. This area is extended when the security door into the trunk is opened, should anyone wish to carry skis, toboggans, surfboards, ladders, or other lengthy items. Front seats are more conventional bucket types. Seating capacity is thus limited, overall, to just four people.
Along with its novel lighting arrangement, the Charger has an unusual instrument display. Four large chromed-rim dials confront the driver. The applicable digital information for each dial (alternator rate and fuel supply, speedometer and odometer, 6000-rpm tachometer, oil pressure indicator and coolant temperature gauge) is let into the rim, so that nighttime illumination makes the numbers leap out at the driver. Daytime reading of these dials lacks the immediate clarity of the illuminated condition.
The Dodge Charger should prove satisfying to the auto buyer who wants "something different" but who also wants the proved reliability of an established make and line. The Coronet base gives it just that, and the extensive option list should make it suitable to a wide variety of tastes.