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Dodge Charger History
The model year is 1966:
Chrysler had to come up with a sporty machine to counter a rising tide of personal car offerings. The Mustang is a runaway success, it's technically conservative, but is highly affordable and available with a performance V-8 engine. The Camaro was a year away, but Chevrolet was doing nicely with the SS Chevelles and Chevy II's. Pontiac had there GTO and Oldsmobile had there 442's. Even AMC added a fastback design with the Rambler Marlin. Meanwhile over at Chrysler, Plymouth had and was in it's third production year with the Barracuda. But Dodge had only bucket seat Darts and Coronets. It needed a sporty car to fill a gap in the medium priced specialty market. It should be mentioned that Dodge and Plymouth were making performance history, there hot wedge and Hemi engines were tearing up every kind of Track across the country. The little ol' lady from Pasadena didn't drive a Chevy or a Ford; it was a Super stock Dodge! Magazine AD - 1966 Charger Is Born:
"DOWN WITH DREAM CARS THAT NEVER MADE IT to the assembly line. Up with exciting new Dodge Charger!" The new leader of "The Dodge Rebellion" made it's debut on January 1, 1966. The exciting new Dodge fastback was called "Charger". Amid much publicity at the International Car Show in New York City and on National Television in between halves of the Rose Bowl Football Game, Charger came to life as Dodge told a massive multi-million viewing audience to "Plant one of these in your diveway!" The 1966 1/2 Dodge Charger came to life for the first time on National TV! ( UCLA beat Michigan State 14-12 )Thus the big excitement of the new year was born. "THIS IS NO DREAM CAR, it's a real "take-me-home-and-let's-stir-things-up-a-bit" automobile. It's Dodge Charger, the fabulous new fastback that made it all the way from the designer's drawing board to your driveway with all the excitement and all the fresh ideas left in!" Styled for a strong market in the midsized sports car field, the muscular new Charger featured a sweptback roof, full width "Electric Shaver" grille with rotating concealed headlights, "sculptured" sheetmetal design and full width tail lights. It also included a plush roomy interior with four individual bucket seats and a full length console. The rear seats and panel folded down flat to form an almost station wagon cargo area. The instrument panel consisted of four round gauges. Besides the normal instuments, there was a 6000 rpm tachometer. Electroluminescent lighting provided each gauge and the markings on the bezels with soft, glare free lighting.
Charger II Showcar - 1965 Styling was fresh, but not totally new. The Charger II, Chrysler Corp's experimental show car had made it's rounds of the auto shows for a year now. Auto writers pleaded with Dodge to put bumpers on the Charger II and put it into production. It did take a bit more than just bumpers to make the newly announced model road worthy, but they were more than just"kissing cousins". Powerplants offered were a standard 318 cid two barrel V-8 rated at 230hp and three optional engines; a 361 cid two barrel V-8 rated at 265hp, a 383 cid four barrel V-8 rated at 325hp and a 426 cid dual four barrel Hemi V-8 rated at 425hp. Transmissions included three on the tree, which was standard with the 318 V-8 only. The three speed Torqueflite automatic, with a console selector, was optional at extra cost with all engines. A four speed manual transmission, with a console shifter, was optional at extra cost with all engines except the 318 V-8. The car carried many features as standard equipment, so not many options were available. Base price was $3,122. Sixteen basic colors were available as standard, as were six vinyl interior colors. One additional color, Silver Metallic, was an extra cost option because it required costly handbuffing. Various rear axle ratios for the optional sure grip were also available. Production totalled 37,344 units. Unfortunatley, Dodge marketed there new fastback more as a luxury car than as a performance monster. However, many street racers and performance buffs found the 383 four barrel plenty potent for the street.
UNDER THE HOOD: Standard 318 V8 (2BBL), 230hp, Single exhaust, Uses regular fuel, * Optional 361 V8 (2BBL), 265hp, Single exhaust, Uses regular fuel, * Optional 383 V8 (4BBL), 325 hp, Dual exhausts, requires premium fuel, * Optional 426 V8 (dual 4 BBL), 425 hp, Dual exhausts, Dual rocker arm shafts, Hemispherical combustion chambers, Requires premium fuel. CHARGER TRANSMISSIONS: 3-on-the-tree manual standard with the 318 V8 only. Not available with 361 V8, 383 V8, or 426 Hemi V8 * 3 speed TorqueFlite automatic, optional at extra costwith all Charger engines. Selector lever is mounted on center console, and has lockout button for moving selector out of "Drive" position. * 4 speed manual, with short throe shift pattern and positive reverse-lockout lever, All four forward speeds are synchronized. Shift lever is mounted on center console, Optional at extra cost with 361 V8, 383 V8, and 426 Hemi V8. Not available with 318 V8 engine. SEE? WE TOLD YOU IT WAS FULL-SIZED. Wheel-base, 117.0", Overall length, 203.6". Width, 75.3". Tread, front 59.5", rear 58. Overall height, 53.0". THIS IS STANDARD: Acrylic enamel in choice of 16 colors. Disappearing dual head lamps, synchronized with light switch. Concealed turn signals. Backup lights. Curved side glass. Cologne-grain vinyl Interiors. Blue, saddle tan, red, white, citron-gold, or black interior. Cigarette lighter,. Glove box lock,. Glove box light. Center console, with courtesy lights and illuminated compartment. Padded dash. Variable-speed windshield wipers (electric). Front and rear bucket seats, all foam-padded. Inside rear view mirror. Outside, left, rear view mirror. Rear seat pillar lights. Carpeting throughout, including trunk compartment floor. Hinged security panel, latched from trunk side, carpeted. Safety inside door handles. Seat belts: 2 sets front, 2 sets rear; color-keyed, with chrome buckles. Windshield washers. Heater/defroster. Self-adjusting brakes. Front sway bar. 3 spoke wood-grained steering wheel. Internal hood release handle. Tachometer, on instrument panel. Oil pressure gauge. Foot operated parking brake with hand release lever. 318 V8 engine, 3 speed manual transmission. Long life chassis lubrication (GOOD FOR 36,000 MILES) Deep-dish wheel covers. Tinted back window. THIS IS OPTIONAL;
PERFORMANCE * 361 V8(2bbl), 383 V8 (4bbl, dual exhaust), 426 V8 (Hemi, dual 4bbl, dual exhaust), Automatic transmission, 4 speed manual transmission (361, 383, 426 V8's only). Power brakes. Power steering, Sure Grip differential. Heavy -duty suspension package (heavy duty springs, shocks, front and rear). Trailer towing package. COMFORT AND CONVENIENCE* Air conditioning (integral with heater). (N.A. with 361 V8 with 4spd transmission). Remote-control, outside rear view mirror. Inside, glare-resistant mirror. Electric window lifts. Tinted windshield or windshield and windows. Retractable seat belts (front and rear). Transistorized radio. Trunk compartment light. Emergency flasher. Parking brake warning light. Electric clock, mounted on center console. APPEARANCE * White sidewall tires. Bumperguards, front and rear.
Links To Related Sites:
1966/67 Dodge Charger Club
---devoted to all those who are interested in restoring, displaying, driving, and enjoying the 1966/67 Dodge Charger.
1972 Dodge Charger SE
---details of a Mopar enthusiast's restoration of a 400hp Charger
Charger Club of WA
---catering to all Chrysler vehicles.
Dodge Charger Online
---forums, classifieds, and galleries for the classic Dodge Charger.
Glenn's Dodge Charger Pages
---ncludes details of his 1971 Charger, 1972 Charger Rallye, and their engine overhauls, brochures, and other scans.
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