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2007 Dodge Charger Photo
Quick Take
Until 1966, Dodge’s reputation in America was squarely mainstream. It built affordable cars and... Read more »
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Until 1966, Dodge’s reputation in America was squarely mainstream. It built affordable cars and usually, plain ones.

 

The introduction of the Charger marked a new era. In 1964 Chrysler had come out with a 7.0-liter V-8 engine that was also used by Dodge; the powerplant was enormously popular with street and drag racers, but in Dodge’s square-bodied lineup, it didn’t draw many stares. The ’66 Charger changed all that: its fastback styling fitted neatly in the muscle-car craze, while its V-8 Hemi engine put the Charger in the racing history books.

 

The return of the Charger nameplate in 2006 has had a similar effect for the Dodge brand of today. Built on the Chrysler 300/Dodge Magnum platform, the modern Charger looks like a coupe, but has four doors. Those extra doors have been controversial from day one, but Dodge seems to have gotten it right enough for buyers. The proof? The Charger has logged some 159,000 sales since it hit the road in July of 2005.

 

Maybe that has something to do with the TV effect. Dodge says that more than 65 percent of Americans recognized the Charger name before it was reintroduced. That’s most likely, we think, because the Charger played a major part in The Dukes of Hazzard TV series, which ran from 1979 until 1985, and was reborn last year on film.

 

Without the help of Daisy Duke or her cousins, we drove the newest edition of the Charger, the Daytona R/T. And even in these days of rising gas prices, the joy of tooling around in an R/T overrode the pain at the pumps.

 

 

 

Modern Charger

 

With a length of 200.1 inches, and a wheelbase of 120.0 inches, the modern Charger easily seats five grown-ups, but roominess is not what it’s about — especially not with the car I drove, a Charger Daytona R/T (Road/Track). With this version, it’s all about appearances and what sits under the hood.

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