Thursday, March 25, 2010

The 1968 Dodge Charger

Sometimes there are those cars that stir such passion and favorable emotions that they immediately become an instant classic. Such was the case with the 1968 Dodge Charger, with the car exploding onto the scene when its performance and popularity were cemented in movie Bullit. This propelled the 1968 Charger to immediate success; however it is important to note that this was the second model of the infamous car developed by Dodge.

The 1968 Dodge ChargerWhat happened was the Charger was originally created in 1966 with it originally being designed as an alternative for the muscle car craze that was gripping the nation. The first version featured a V - 8, with an electric shaver grill borrowed from the 1942 De Soto and the inside dashboard panel involved the use of actual bulbs to illuminate the gages. However, the car had some initial problems such it would lift when taking corners in excess of 150 miles per hour. This forced Dodge to impose dealer modifications to the 1966 and 1967 models. After seeing disappointing sales in the 1967 model because of this problem and complaints about some of the features forced the company to revaluate how the new Charger would be designed.

The 1968 Dodge ChargerThe 1968 Dodge Charger involved a complete top to bottom redesign with the body of the car having what is known as the double diamond styling or Coke bottle image. Next there was more sheet metal added to the under carriage, this is important because it help provide stability when the Charger would take corners at high speeds.

The 1968 Dodge Charger
The 1968 Dodge ChargerAll of the different lights such as headlights and the tail lights were hidden. The rear window was given the same kind of sleek look that was so popular on the 1966 - 1967 Pontiac GTO. The biggest distinction that would help the 1968 Charger become one of the iconic muscle cars was the R/ T package. This was a special designation given to those cars that had one of the two highest performing engines that Dodge produced 440 Magnum and the 426 Hemi.

Together these two V - 8 engines would set the standard for Dodge muscle cars in the future. There were massive improvements to the suspension and brakes, with added supports so that the car can be able to handle various jumps easier. The interior of the car was very roomy with the 1968 Charger being able to seat six people. The different extras included power windows, hidden ash trays, front head restraints, should harness seat belt for the front as well as rear outside passengers, a padded steering wheel and a rear window defroster. Together all of these different elements meant that the Charger would be known for reliability and speed. A good example of this occurred when the movie Bullit was being filmed on the streets of San Francisco with the Charger have no problems and more equipped to handle jumps along with sharp turns in comparison to the 1968 Ford Mustang.

Clearly the 1968 Dodge Charger is an icon for that speed, power and luxury that muscle cars are known for. What makes the 1968 model so special is because it was the first time that Dodge was able to make massive improvements to their original design. This was important because these changes set the standard for muscle car design for all the major American automobile manufacturers.

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