Dodge Charger Third Generation
|Assembly||United States: Detroit, Michigan Hamtramck, Michigan Los Angeles, California(1971 only) St. Louis, Missouri|
|Body and chassis|
|Related||Dodge Coronet Plymouth Satellite Plymouth GTX Plymouth Road Runner|
|Engine||225 cu in (3.7 L) I6 318 cu in (5.2 L) V8 340 cu in (5.6 L) V8 400 cu in (6.6 L) V8 426 cu in (7.0 L) V8 440 cu in (7.2 L) V8|
|Transmission||3-speed automatic 3-speed manual 4-speed manual|
|Wheelbase||115.0 in (2,921 mm)|
|Length||205.0 in (5,207 mm)|
|Height||53.0 in (1,346 mm)|
The 1971 model year introduced an all-new third generation Charger with a new split grille and more rounded "fuselage" bodystyle. The interiors were like those of the E-body and were now shared by the Plymouth B-body, the Plymouth Satellite Sebring and Road Runner. The hidden headlights were now optional. A rear spoiler and a "Ramcharger" hood were new options. This hood featured a popped up scoop mounted directly above the air cleaner controlled by a vacuum switch under the dash. On Plymouth Road Runners it was called the "Air Grabber" hood, and it was previously used on the Coronet R/T and Super Bee.
Dodge also merged its Coronet and Charger lines. From 1971, all four-door B-bodies were badged as Coronets and all two-door B-bodies as Chargers. Thus for one year only, the Charger Super Bee became part of the Charger stable. From 1971 to 1974, Charger models used the Coronet's VIN prefix of "W".
The Dodge Super Bee made the move from the Coronet line to the Charger line for 1971 only, then the model was discontinued. Several other models were carried over from 1970, including the 500. The R/T and SE versions carried over as well, but the R/T's popularity was on the downslide thanks to higher insurance costs. Only 63 Hemi versions were built, and 2,659 were built with other engines that year. Rapidly rising insurance rates, combined with higher gasoline prices, reduced sales of muscle cars and 1971 was the last year of availability for the 426 Hemi "Elephant engine" in any car. 1971 also saw the end of the high-performance 440 Six-Pack engine (although some early Dodge literature (August 1971 press) stated that this engine was available for 1972, it was pulled at the last minute. However, a few factory installed six-pack Chargers and Road Runners were built early in the production run). In the Super Bee's final year, the 340 became a $44 option over the standard, low-compression 383 .
Many of the "Hi-Impact" colors would disappear after the 1971 model year; this also created the 1971-only "Citron Yella".
The 1972 Charger bowed with a new "Rallye" option to replace the former R/T version. The SE was differentiated from other 1972 Chargers by a unique formal roof treatment and hidden headlights. The 440 engines were still available, and were rated at net (280 bhp) horsepower rating instead of the previous (350 bhp) gross values. The ratings went down as the net horsepower measure was more realistic. Also beginning in 1972, all engines featured lowered compression ratios to permit the use of regular leaded or unleaded gasoline rather than leaded premium fuel as in past years due to increasing tighter emissions regulations. Though the 440+6 (designating a 3 2-barrel carb setup and 310 bhp) was listed in the early 1972 sales literature, it was found in the August 1971 testing that this engine would not meet the new and more stringent 1972 emissions laws. The low-compression 440 Magnum (280-hp) with a 4-barrel carburetor became the top engine, and the optional Pistol-Grip 4-speed Hurst manual shifter could be coupled to the 340, 400, and 440 Magnum engines. Several other option cutbacks occurred in 1972; the air-grabber hood scoop disappeared, and the taller performance rear gear ratio's and extra heavy duty suspensions were dropped. While it was the final year for the Dana 60 differential, it was available only with the combination of the 440/4 speed and the 3.54 rear end ratio.
Dodge Charger 1972 Rallye
The only remaining "Hi-Impact" color choices were "Hemi Orange" (EV2) and "Top Banana" (FY1), the latter was available under different names through 1974 .
For 1973, the Chargers received new sheet metal and were longer, wider, and slightly taller than the previous versions. Also new were vertically slatted taillights and new grills. Hidden headlights were dropped, even as an option. The 318 was still standard, with the 340 (available only on the Rallye), 400 (2- and 4-barrel) and 440 remaining as options. The SE models had a new roof treatment that had a "triple opera window" surrounded by a canopy-style vinyl roof. All other models had a new quarter window treatment, discontinuing its AMC Gremlin-style window in favor of a more conventional design. Sales this year were around 108,000 units, the highest ever for the 1971-74 Charger generation. The 1973 Chargers, and all Chrysler products, were equipped with 5 mph bumpers, front and rear.
The 1974 model year saw only minor changes that included new color choices, a softer grain pattern on interior surfaces, and a slight increase in the size of the rubber bumper tips. The 340 option was dropped and the 360 4bbl replaced the 340 as the small block performance engine. All other engine options remained the same. Several performance rear end ratios, including a 3.23 "Sure Grip" rear end were still available. A four speed transmission was still an option except with the 440 engine. Emphasis now turned to luxury instead of performance with higher sales for the SE model. The Charger, was no longer considered a performance model as it turned into a personal luxury car. The muscle car era came to a close, and the 1974 Dodge Charger would be the final year. The 1974 also came with a 360ci 2bbl, with a k in the fifth symbol of the vin number.
The 1971-74 Chargers were campaigned in NASCAR, with Buddy Baker, Bobby Isaac, Dave Marcis, and Richard Petty scoring several wins. Richard Petty won 25 races with this body style between 1972 and 1977 as NASCAR allowed the Chargers to run a few years longer than normal, as Chrysler did not have anything else to replace it. A 1974 bodied Charger driven by the late Neil Bonnet scored Dodge's last NASCAR victory (until 2001) at the December 1977 Los Angeles Times 500. Richard Petty has proclaimed this body style as his favorite car that he ran during his career.
Richard Petty 1974 Dodge Charger Race Car STP