What Was the First Dodge Charger


What Was the First Dodge Charger?

The Dodge Charger is a legendary automobile that has become an iconic symbol of American muscle cars. Known for its powerful performance and aggressive styling, the Charger has captured the hearts of car enthusiasts for over five decades. But what was the first Dodge Charger? Let’s take a closer look at the origins of this iconic vehicle.

The first Dodge Charger was introduced in 1966 as a mid-size two-door fastback coupe. It was based on the Chrysler B platform and shared many components with the Coronet model. Designed to compete with other popular muscle cars of the era, such as the Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro, the Charger aimed to combine style, performance, and affordability.

The 1966 Charger featured a distinctive design that set it apart from its competitors. It had a long, fastback roofline with a rear window that was nearly horizontal, giving it a sleek and aerodynamic appearance. The front end featured a full-width split grille, giving the Charger a bold and aggressive look. The rear of the car had a unique full-width taillight panel, which became a signature design element of later Charger models.

Under the hood, the first Dodge Charger offered a range of powerful engine options. The base model came with a 318 cubic inch V8 engine, but buyers could also choose a more potent 361 or 383 cubic inch V8 engine. Additionally, a high-performance 426 cubic inch Hemi V8 engine was available as an option. These engines provided the Charger with impressive acceleration and top speeds, making it a true muscle car.

The interior of the 1966 Charger was spacious and comfortable, with bucket seats up front and a rear bench seat that could accommodate three passengers. The dashboard featured a sporty design with a deep-set instrument cluster and a center console that housed the shifter. The Charger also offered a number of available options, including air conditioning, power windows, and a vinyl roof, allowing buyers to customize their car to their liking.

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The first Dodge Charger was well-received by the public and received positive reviews from automotive journalists. It was praised for its powerful performance, comfortable ride, and striking design. In its debut year, Dodge sold over 37,000 units of the Charger, making it a commercial success.

Since its introduction, the Dodge Charger has evolved through several generations, each offering its own unique features and improvements. The Charger has seen various design changes, including a shift from its fastback style to a more conventional sedan shape in the 1970s. It has also offered a wide range of engines, from the iconic Hemi V8 to more fuel-efficient options. Today, the Charger continues to be a popular choice for those seeking a high-performance, full-size sedan.


Q: Is the first Dodge Charger still in production?
A: No, the first Dodge Charger was produced from 1966 to 1967. However, the Charger nameplate continues to be used today for the current generation of the vehicle.

Q: How much did the first Dodge Charger cost?
A: In 1966, the base price of the Charger was around $3,100. Adjusted for inflation, that would be approximately $25,000 in today’s dollars.

Q: Did the first Dodge Charger have any special editions?
A: Yes, there were several special editions of the first Dodge Charger, including the Charger R/T (Road/Track) and the Charger 426 Hemi.

Q: How fast could the first Dodge Charger go?
A: The top speed of the first Dodge Charger varied depending on the engine option chosen. The fastest model, equipped with the 426 Hemi engine, could reach speeds of up to 150 mph.

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Q: Are there any original first-generation Dodge Chargers still around?
A: While many first-generation Chargers have been lost to time or modified over the years, there are still some original examples that have been preserved or restored by enthusiasts.

In conclusion, the first Dodge Charger was a groundbreaking vehicle that combined performance, style, and affordability. With its distinctive design and powerful engines, it quickly became a favorite among muscle car enthusiasts. Over the years, the Charger has continued to evolve, but its legacy as an American icon remains intact.