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April 1966

Top Performance Car of the Year

Cars - April 1966Built on the Dodge 117-inch (Coronet) "supercar" chassis, the sleek new fastback spans a full 203.6 inches from bumper to bumper.  More than just a fastbacked Coronet or a specially trimmed show model, the Charger is all new from the now-you-see, now-you-don't headlights to the fender-to-fender rear lighting.  It's the most versatile of the fastbacks offering distinctive two-plus-two bucket seating plus surfboard-sized stowage capacity.

The Charger is completely different from Coronet, even though both share the same wheel base and basic power and suspension components. Up front the Charger sports one of the cleanest grilles the business and a fairly flat headline.  The complete front end is neatly squared off offering a classic touch to the high-style fastback lines.  Matching, almost fully radiused, wheel wells add that sporty competition flair and allow quarter-mile minded owners to slip slicks in place without help from a torch. There's a minimum of front and rear overhang, which contributes greatly to the appearance and performance of the car.

Interiorwise the Charger rates BOSS. There are four matching vinyl covered contoured buckets, many yards of carpet and vinyl trim and the neatest set of gauges we have ever laid our eyes on. With the rear seats folded flat, the rear console armrest flipped over (to pad the console area) and the storage panel dropped, it looks as though the Charger is a rolling billboard for a carpeting company! There's carpeting from the backs of the front buckets to the rear bumper.  Surfing anybody?

Interior appointments of the Charger rival those of far more expensive imported automobiles. The gauges (that's right, gauges!) are right where they should be, the console mounted four-speed or Torqueflite shift stick mounts within reach of the average driver and the wood steering wheel sits just right for maximum control.

 

 

March 1967

Dodge 426 Hemi Charger - Here's the hot street setup that'll shade most anything this side of a strip stocker

In just one year's time the Dodge Boys have managed to take an over-stuffed, full-size fastback that was too heavy for drag racing, ill-mannered at high speed and with a seating capacity of only four persons and put in into the supercar Hall of Fame.  The car we're referring to is the Charger.  Even with the 426 Street Hemi the car was outclassed in the stock ranks.  On the NASCAR high speed ovals the Charger started to go airborne when the stops were pulled out. And on the street Dodge had a rough time selling four-bucket-seat seating in a full sized car.  The public just wasn't ready for that full-length console and wall-to-wall buckets.  That was early 1966.

Even with all this on the minus side, we at CARS Magazine, recognized it as a potential winner.  We backed up our opinion with our Sixth Annual Top Performance Car of the Year Award. Our faith is the product was bolstered when Sam McQuagg proved the Charger on the NASCAR circuit by picking up a national win.  Handing problems were solved by the addition of a small aluminum spoiler attached to the area above the fender- to-fender rear lighting.  Dodge picked up on the spoiler idea and marketed a duplicate through its dealer network for improved high speed turnpike driving.  Chargers also made it big in the funny car-exhibition ranks thanks to Mr. Norm and Al Graeber. Al Graeber was the first with his TICKLE ME PINK pink Charger fuel exhibitionist. After the racing papers  and magazines played up the winning Chargers, the street set up on the Dodger's fastback.

For 1967 the Dodge Boys have made a few changes both in the interest of safety and convenience.  At first glance it's almost impossible to tell the difference between '66 and a '67 model.  Fender-mounted directional signal indicators, new beach seating and optional steel mag-type road wheels are the eye-catching '67 changes.

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