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The centerpiece of Dodge's 1966 efforts was the Charger, based on the Coronet, but with a fastback roofline and unique (if similar) front clip that resembled the Coronet, but had retractable headlights, giving the car a sporty look. A round Charger crest was featured in the center of the convex grille, and the Charger name was spelled in block letters across the full length of the single, full-width tail-light. The rear bucket seats - unusual at the time - folded forward individually - also unusual. The instrument panel was actually unique to the Charger featuring four large, round pods directly in front of the driver. Both sticks and automatics got a floor shifter in a full-length console between the front seats.

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The Charger came standard with a sturdy 318 V-8, then still new and producing 230 hp (gross; about 170 net?) at 4,400 rpm. The 2bbl 361 and 4bbl 383 were also options; the Hemi came in mid-year. The 318 Charger came standard with a 3 speed manual, and the bigger engines came with either a 4 speed manual (with Sure-Grip differential) or the Torqueflite automatic.

The 1966 Dodge Charger was introduced on New Year’s Day, and it didn’t take long for the 1967 model to replace it, with few changes. The 318 lost 55 pounds of weight without any disadvantage; the 361 was replaced by a mild two-barrel 383; and the 440 Magnum became available with 375 hp. Trim was upgraded, with new chrome and fender-mounted turn signals, as well as a new center section in front and optional

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split seats. The Charger had all the Coronet 500 luxury features, and both years had fold-flat rear seats, for 7 feet of cargo area, as well as a tachometer and full instrumentation. More serious options included a heavy duty suspension with stabilizer bar, towing package, and big 11 inch front disc brakes. This generation weighed about 3,600 pounds and rode a 117 inch wheelbase, with a 75 inch width, 204 inch length, and 54 inch height; it took 41 feet to turn around.

The Charger did very well on the NASCAR circuit, winning the manufacturer's championship, but sales were poor, with only 37,344 1966 Chargers sold, a mere 468 with the 426 Hemi engine (which sold for about 1/3 of the car's base price!). In its second year, a mere 15,000 were sold, including 118 Hemis.

1966 - 1967 Dodge Charger Web Links:

* My 1967 Dodge Charger Restoration Project

* My First 1966 Dodge Charger