Dodge Charger Second Generation
|1968 to 1970|
|Assembly||United States: Detroit, Michigan Hamtramck, Michigan Los Angeles, California St. Louis, Missouri|
|Body and chassis|
|Related||Dodge Coronet Plymouth Belvedere Plymouth Satellite Plymouth GTX Plymouth Road Runner|
|Engine||225 cu in (3.7 L) 1bbl I6 (1969-70) 318 cu in (5.2 L) 2bbl LA V8 383 cu in (6.3 L) 2bbl B V8 383 cu in (6.3 L) 4bbl B V8 426 cu in (7.0 L) Hemi 2×4bbl RB V8 440 cu in (7.2 L) 4bbl RB V8 440 cu in (7.2 L) 2×3 RB (1970)|
|Transmission||A904 3-speed automatic A727 3-speed automatic A230 3-speed manual A833 4-speed manual|
|Wheelbase||117 in (3,000 mm)|
|Length||208 in (5,300 mm) (1968) 207.9 in (5,280 mm) (1969-70)|
|Width||76.7 in (1,950 mm) (1968-69) 76.6 in (1,950 mm) (1970)|
|Height||53.2 in (1,350 mm) (1968-69) 53.0 in (1,350 mm) (1970)|
The entire B-body lineup for 1968 was redesigned and the Charger was further differentiated from the Dodge Coronet models. Designer Richard Sias developed a double-diamond coke bottle profile with curves around the front fenders and rear quarter panels. Front and rear end sheet metal was designed by Harvey J. Winn. The rear end featured a "kick up" spoiler appearance, inspired by Group 7 racing vehicles. On the roof, a "flying buttress" was added to give the rear window area a look similar to that of the 1966-67 Pontiac GTO. The Charger retained its full-width hidden headlight grille, but the fully rotating electric headlights had been replaced by a simple vacuum operated cover. The full-width taillights were gone as well. Instead, dual circular taillights were added at the direction of Styling Vice President, Elwood P. Engel. Dual scallops were added to the doors and hood to help accent the new swoopy lines.
Inside, the interior shared almost nothing with its first generation brothers. The rear bucket seats were gone, though the console remained the same as the '67 save for the removal of the armrest cushion. The tachometer was now optional instead of standard, the carpeting in the trunk area was gone, replaced by a vinyl mat, the rear seats did not fold forward and the electroluminescent gauges disappeared in favor of a conventional design.
The standard engine was the 318 cu in (5.2 L) 2bbl until mid-year when a 225 cu in (3.7 L) slant-six became available. The 383-2 and 383-4 remained unchanged. A new high-performance package was added, the R/T ("Road/Track" with no 'and' between Road and Track). The R/T came standard with the previous year's 440 "Magnum" and the 426 Hemi was again optional.
In 1968, Chrysler Corporation unveiled a new ad campaign featuring a Bee with an engine on its back. These cars were called the "Scat Pack". The Coronet R/T, Super Bee, Dart GTS and Charger R/T received bumble-bee stripes (two thin stripes framing two thick stripes). The stripes were standard on the R/Ts and came in red, white or black. They could be deleted at no cost. The 1968 model year Charger sales increased to 96,100, including over 17,000 Charger R/Ts.
There were two different 383 motors available in '69: 2-barrel and 4-barrel. The 2-barrel motor was rated at 290 hp. The four barrel motor was rated at 330 hp and was identified by the "pie tin" on the air cleaner as "383 / FOUR BARREL". The 330-hp engine was unique to the Charger model in 1969. While this engine was available with an un-silenced air cleaner option, it differed internally from the 335-hp 383 "Magnum". In 1969 the B-series engines were all painted turquoise with the exception of the 440 Magnum and 426 hemi which were painted Street Hemi Orange. The 335-hp 383 Magnum engines were also painted Street Hemi Orange. The 383 Magnum motor was used in Road Runners and Super Bee's but did not appear in a Charger body until 1971. Differences between the 330-hp 383 4-barrel and 335-hp 383 magnum were mostly internal. Both versions used the Carter AVS carb and the larger exhaust manifolds from the 440 magnum engines, but the magnum had a windage tray in the oil pan. The cams shaft profiles were different as were the valve springs.
The 1969 model year brought few modifications. Exterior changes included a new grille with a center divider and new longitudinal taillights both designed by Harvey J. Winn. A new trim line called the Special Edition (SE) was added. This could be available by itself or packaged with the R/T, thus making an R/T-SE. The SE added leather inserts to the front seats only, chrome rocker moldings, a wood grain steering wheel and wood grain inserts on the instrument panel. A sunroof was added to the option list as well, and saw only 260 sold installations. The bumble bee stripes returned as well, but were changed slightly. Instead of four stripes it now featured one huge stripe framed by two smaller stripes. In the middle of the stripe an R/T cutout was placed. If the stripe was deleted, a metal R/T emblem was placed where the R/T cutout was. Total production was around 89,199 units.
In 1968, Dodge watched their NASCAR inspired Charger R/T fail to beat the Ford cars (the Ford Torino Talladega and the Mercury Cyclone Spoiler II) on the high-banks oval-tracks. The Dodge engineers went back to the wind tunnel and found the tunneled rear window caused lift and the gaping mouth induced drag. Dodge engineers made the rear window flush with the rest of the roof and put a 1968 Coronet Grille up front. The original Charger 500 prototype was a 1968 Charger R/T with a 426 Hemi. The prototype was painted in B5 Blue with a white stripe.
The Charger 500 prototype had a Torqueflite transmission, a white interior and 426 Hemi. The Charger 500 was tested for production, got the greenlight and was one of three models introduced in September 1968. The Charger 500 was standard with the 440 Magnum but the factory literature claims the 426 Hemi was standard. The Charger 500 had the Torqueflite standard and the same equipment standard as the R/T.
The Charger 500 sold for $3842.00 MSRP and was available with the 426 Hemi for an extra $648.20. It had the options A11 and V88. Stripes were available with red, black and white colors. Air conditioning was optional on the 440 Magnum for an extra $357.65.
A total of 500 Charger 500s were made but only 392 were bought for street use. The rest were bought by racers and gutted, stripped, modified and/or repainted. Only 67 Charger 500s were built with the 426 Hemi; 27 with 4-Speeds and 40 with Torqueflites.
The Charger 500 did not achieve the results expected of it on the NASCAR superspeedway circuits and lost to Ford Motor Company entrants, but it was successful on the shorter under 1 mi (1.6 km) tracks.
Dodge was not satisfied with the results of the Charger 500. The car was not enough to beat the other aerocars on the NASCAR circuit. After months of research and development, including the aftermarket shop Creative Industries Inc., the Dodge Charger Daytona was introduced on April 13, 1969. Within hours of its unveiling, Dodge had received over 1,000 orders, despite the price point of $3,993.00 MSRP.
Chrysler made many attempts at improving the aerodynamics of the 500 by adding noses rumored to be up to 23 in (580 mm) long. The Charger Daytona finally received an 18 in (460 mm) nose. The full size Charger Daytona was tested with an 18 in (460 mm) nose at the Lockheed-Martin Georgia facility. The test was a success and the project was greenlighted. The nose piece was only part of the innovation. The Charger Daytona also received a 23 in (580 mm) tall wing in rear. This wing was bolted through the rear quarter panels and into the rear subframe. The Charger Daytona's wing also helped out in an unintended way, by giving the car directional stability as well.
The Charger Daytona engineering model was tested on the Chelsea, Michigan Chrysler Proving Grounds on July 20, 1969. Driven by Charlie Glotzbach and Buddy Baker, it was clocked at 205 mph (330 km/h) with a small 4-bbl. carb. The Charger Daytona's nose made 1,200 pounds of downforce and the wing made 600 pounds of downforce. The Dodge styling department wanted to make changes to the Charger Daytona as soon as they saw it, but was told by Bob McCurry to back off; he wanted function over finesse.
The Charger Daytona introduced to the public had a fiberglass nose without real headlamps and a wing without streamlined fairings. The media and public loved the car, but were mystified by the reverse scoops on the front fenders. The PR representatives claimed it was for tire clearance. Actually, they reduced drag 3%.
The Charger Daytona came standard with the 440 Magnum Engine with 375 hp (280 kW) and 480 lb·ft (650 N·m) of torque, A727 Torqueflite Automatic Transmission, and a 3.23 489 Case 8 3/4 Chrysler Differential. The Charger Daytona also came with the 426 Hemi with 425 hp (317 kW) and 490 lb·ft (660 N·m) for an extra $648.20. The 426 Hemi was also available with the no cost option of the A833 4-Speed Manual. Only 503 Charger Daytonas were built, 433 were 440 Magnum 139 4-Speed and 294 Torqueflite; 70 were 426 Hemi power, 22 4-Speed and 48 Torqueflite.
In the end, the Daytona was brought down by the decision to make the 1970 Plymouth Superbird the only 1970 aerocar, however apparently two Charger Daytonas were built using 1970 sheet metal. While Daytonas were raced through the 1970 season, only one Daytona still raced until 1971 (in the 1971 Daytona 500) when NASCAR decreed that engine displacement of wing cars would be limited to 305 ci. That particular car, driven by Dick Brooks finished in seventh place.
Dodge Charger Second Generation 1969 and 1970
In 1970, the Charger changed slightly again. This would be the last year of the 2nd generation Charger and featured a large wraparound chrome bumper and the grille was no longer divided in the middle. New electric headlight doors replaced the old vacuum style. The taillights were similar to those used in 69, but 500 and R/T models came with a new more attractive taillight panel. On the R/T, new rear-facing scoops with the R/T logo were mounted on the front doors, over the door scallops. A new 440 or HEMI hood cutout made the option list for this year only.
Dodge painted the hood scallop inserts black and put the silver engine callouts on top. New "High Impact" colors were given names, such as Top Banana, Panther Pink, Sublime, Burnt Orange, Go Mango and Plum Crazy (sometimes nicknamed "Statutory Grape"). The 500 returned for another year, but as a regular production Charger unlike the limited production NASCAR Charger of 1969.
Interior changes included new high-back bucket seats, the door panels were also revised and the map pockets were now optional instead of standard. The ignition was moved from the dash to the steering column (as with all Chrysler products this year), and the glove box was now hinged at the bottom instead of the top as in 1968-69. The SE "Special Edition" option added high end luxury to a full on muscle car and was available as 500 SE and R/T SE models. The all new pistol grip shifter was introduced, along with a bench seat, a first for the Charger since its debut.
A new engine option made the Charger's list for the first time, the 440 Six Pack. With three two-barrel carburetors and a rating of 390 hp (290 kW), it was one of the most exotic setups since the cross-ram Max Wedge engines of the early 1960s. The Six Pack was previously used on the mid-year 1969 Dodge Super Bee and Plymouth Road Runner and was notorious for beating the Hemi on the street. Despite this hot new engine, production slipped again to 46,576 but most of this was due to the brand new E-body Dodge Challenger and the high insurance rates. In the 1970 NASCAR season, it was the 1970 Charger that tallied up more wins (10) than any other car, including the notorious 69 Dodge Charger Daytonas and Plymouth Superbirds, giving Bobby Isaac the Grand National Championship.
The Dukes of Hazzard Dodge Charger
The television series The Dukes of Hazzard (1979–1985) featured a 1969 Dodge Charger that was named The General Lee. "The General" sported the Confederate battle flag painted on the roof and the words "GENERAL LEE" over each door. The windows were always open, as the doors were welded shut. The number "01" is painted on both doors. Also, when the horn button was pressed, it played the first 12 notes from the de facto Confederate States anthem "Dixie". The car performed spectacular jumps in almost every episode, and the show's popularity produced a surge of interest in the car. The show itself purchased hundreds of Chargers for stunts, as they generally destroyed at least one car per episode.Towards the end of the show they started using models, instead of real cars, because the price started increasing on the 1969 Dodge Charger.