Every 80s kid remembers watching the bright orange Dodge Charger, the General Lee, blazing across the TV screen. The General was definitely the star of the show, leaving John Schneider and Tom Wopat with only supporting rolls. There’s something about a Charger that makes it the perfect film star – maybe it’s the unique appearance, powerful engine or the sweet exhaust note. Maybe it’s all of those things.
The first charger was introduced in 1966 as a two-door fastback. It featured rear-wheel drive and a range of 8-cylinder engines available under the hood. The Charger remained an in-your-face muscle car until the fourth generation debuted in 1975. At this time, the Charger hung up its boxing gloves and traded them for a velvet suit, morphing into a 70s luxury car.
In the 1980s the Charger switched to front-wheel drive for the first time. Even though most purists resisted the change, there were some notably cool Chargers during that time period. A turbocharged engine was made available and a performance Shelby model was offered. In 1987, the Charger nameplate was cancelled. The Charger would not reappear for another 19 years.
Fifth Generation Charger (2006-Present)
When the Charger returned in 2006, the exterior borrowed design cues from late 1960s models. However, unlike any charger before, it was a four-door sedan with available all-wheel drive. The option of a manual transmission was also gone. Engine options for that year were either a 3.5L 6-cylinder or a 5.7L Hemi 8-cylinder.
For model year 2010, the Charger remained essentially unchanged, except for the addition of side-curtain airbags as standard equipment. The 2012 Charger got a new 8-speed automatic transmission as well as sport seats, paddle shifters, hands-free texting and a color Vehicle Information Display screen. Three trim levels were also added to the lineup: the SXT, SRT8 and SRT8 Superbee. In 2013, a cold-air induction system and sport-tuned suspension were added to 6-cylinder SXT models. The SRT8 got a new suspension along with launch control. Model year 2014 saw the introduction of a new Redline Package as well as a Wheel Sport Appearance Group, and new paint choices.
In 2015, the Charger saw a lot of changes. The interior was completely redesigned and the exterior was tweaked. The ultra-high performance Hellcat was added to the lineup with a supercharged 6.2L 8-cylinder engine under the hood, producing 707 horsepower.
The Hellcat officially brings the Charger back to its muscle car roots. It would look great with a coat of orange paint with a 01 on the side and a confederate flag on the roof. Yeehaw!