I saw this in Car and Driver
and thought everyone here might like to take a look.
Here is the original http://caranddriver.com/article.asp?sec ... le_id=8518
The title of the article was "2006 Dodge Charger - An exclusive first look at Dodge's hot revival. We are not making this up. Mostly." Below the pictures is the original article. It's pretty long but i'm sure some of you will want to read it. On the bottom of the article are all the specs.
In medieval times, a charger was a horse trained and equipped to carry guys into battle. Although not particularly fleet, they were big and powerful—useful attributes for lugging guys wearing iron hats, steel suits, chain-mail shirts, and leather underwear.
Fast forward about 1000 years. It's the summer of 1965, and the descendants of the medieval chargers have become the Budweiser Clydesdales. Meanwhile, several guys are sitting around an office in Highland Park, Michigan, brainstorming names for a hotted-up version of the Dodge Coronet. The age of the pony car is already at full gallop, thanks to the mid-'64 arrival of the Ford Mustang, so something horsy seems apropos: Charger. Romantic war-horse imagery backed by serious brute force in the form of Mopar's storied Hemi V-8.
Actually, the word Charger appeared in the Chrysler lexicon even before the Mustang trotted onto the scene. A Charger II concept car debuted at the '65 Chicago show, and Chrysler sold a "Hemi-Charger" package in '64 and '65. The package was designed primarily for drag racing and did not come with a warranty for street use. Yeah, right. Before you could say Woodward Avenue, Hemi hot rods were hammering around on public roads, and it wasn't long before Chrysler's marketing people decided to capitalize on a good thing.
The '66 Charger superimposed onto the Coronet chassis a two-door fastback with hidden headlights and full-width taillamps. It bore a strange resemblance to the unlovely AMC Marlin. And yeah, you could get that thing with a Hemi. Chrysler finally made the 426-cubic-inch Hemi available as a regular production option, one of three Charger V-8 engine choices. It was rated for 425 horsepower and 490 pound-feet of torque. Rating methods were different (SAE gross versus today's SAE net), but the 426 Hemi was stout enough to hustle a 4035-pound 1968 Charger to 60 mph in 4.8 seconds, as we discovered in a November 1967 test.
Nevertheless, most of the 37,344 Chargers produced for 1966 had one of the lesser eights—the 230-hp, 318-cubic-inch standard engine or the 265-hp, 361-cubic-inch upgrade option. Less than two percent of those '66 Chargers—just 468—had Hemis under their hoods.
Fast forward to 2004. The Chrysler Corporation has become DaimlerChrysler, the Hemi V-8 has been resurrected in a new and modern form, and Dodge is set to revive the Charger name when it unveils a new full-size, rear-drive sedan at the Detroit auto show in January.
As we go to press, this much has been confirmed by the company. What follows is informed speculation based on insider hints, heavily camouflaged spy photos, and various tidbits we've extracted from key players in the development project.
Chrysler Group design V-P Trevor Creed says the company "planned to do the Charger all along," but that's not entirely accurate. The car may have been a certainty, but the name was an open issue. Charger is a word that's loaded with powerful symbolism, and it still has plenty of proprietary identity with the Dodge division, but its cachet isn't quite as compelling as it once was.
This is attributable to certain abuses the name has suffered over the years. When emissions regs and the Arab oil embargo of 1973 put an end to Detroit's carefree big-inch V-8 heyday, Dodge began sticking Charger badges on rides that were, shall we say, not so noteworthy. The Hemi was gone by '72, and the Charger morphed into a big, soft luxury coupe before disappearing at the end of the '78 model year.
The name reappeared in 1981, affixed to a front-drive coupe based on the Dodge Omni econocar and later transferred to another front-drive coupe based on the ubiquitous K-car platform. With turbocharging, output of this car's 2.2-liter four eventually climbed as high as 174 horsepower—from a pathetic starting point of 109—but even with the added marketing power of a Carroll Shelby treatment, these were forgettable cars, and "Charger" was dropped from the Dodge brand roster again in 1988.
So what makes it worth reviving today? First, the new car is far more consistent with its big V-8 roots than those faux Chargers of the '80s. Second, and more to the point, the kids at Chrysler couldn't really come up with anything better.
"The name has positives and negatives," says Creed. "We think the positives dominate."
What Creed and crew "planned all along" was a sedan version of the Dodge Magnum wagon (called a "sports tourer," since wagon has become a word to avoid in automobile marketing circles). But why was there no coupe or sedan at the git-go?
"We went with the wagon initially because there are a lot of dealers carrying both Dodge and Chrysler, and we wanted to avoid having two similar-looking vehicles in the same stores."
Creed was, of course, referring to the Chrysler 300 and the upcoming Dodge sequel. Waiting a year gave the 300 a chance to establish itself in the marketplace, so the remaining challenge was creating a sedan with an identity of its own.
Here's what we know, and what we think
Unlike Chargers of yesteryear, the new one will have four doors, coupes being a weak commodity in today's generally soft passenger-car market. However, as our illustrations indicate, the Charger exterior design team—Ralph Gilles, Jeff Gale, and Mark Hall—seeks to preserve a coupe-ish look with a sloping rear roofline culminating in a steeply raked rear window and short decklid.
The decklid ends in a raised lip, which should reduce lift when you're cruising your neighborhood at 130 mph, and the trailing edges of the rear doors are cut well into the bulging rear fenders, reinforcing the coupe look and lending brawn to the package. There's also plenty of muscle in the front-end presentation, with flared fenders and Dodge's trademark gun-sight grille. And we anticipate the muscular presence to be backed up with plenty of grunt. More on that in a minute.
The Charger will ride on the same rear-drive platform that supports the Chrysler 300-series and the Magnum. No surprise there. That means the same 120.0-inch wheelbase, with track dimensions similar to those of the 300—63.0 inches in front, 63.1 inches in the rear—if not identical. Its overall length will probably be about the same as the 300's—about 197 inches—but we expect its roofline to be slightly lower than those of the 300 and Magnum wagon. The swoopy rear roofline mitigates the turret-top look of the 300, but the high beltline yields the same low glass-to-body ratio that's a key element in these new Chrysler Group designs, as well as an industry-wide trend. Feedback from consumer clinics suggests that reduced glass area and higher cowls give occupants a sense of heightened security.
Like the 300 and the wagon, the Charger's aggressive, bull-nosed look is enhanced by a limited front overhang, a benefit of a rear-drive design. However, even though the profiles of the 300 and Charger will be similar, our spies tell us the new sedan will share no—repeat no—sheetmetal with its Chrysler counterpart or, for that matter, with the Magnum wagon.
Like the original, the new Charger will offer the option of Hemi power—make that reborn-in-'03 Hemi power. The standard engine will be a 3.5-liter V-6 (250 horsepower, 250 pound-feet), with the 5.7 Hemi V-8 (340 horsepower, 390 pound-feet) as an option. The base Magnum's 2.7-liter V-6 (190 horsepower, 190 pound-feet) won't be offered in the Charger. The transmission with the Hemi will be a five-speed automatic (Mercedes-designed and Kokomo, Indiana-built) with manumatic capability, a.k.a. AutoStick. A four-speed AutoStick will come with the V-6.
So far, so good. But here's where the original Charger parallel may break down. In '66, the Hemi Charger was the hottest ride in the Chrysler garage. Not that the new Hemi Charger will be slow, despite an anticipated curb weight in the region of two tons. A 300C we tested in May tipped the scales at 4140 pounds but still hustled to 60 mph in 5.3 seconds.
Still, it appears the real hot rod on this platform will wear Chrysler badges. Unveiled in August at the Monterey Historic Automobile Races, the Chrysler 300C SRT-8 will get a new 6.1-liter version of the Hemi V-8, generating 425 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque. With the extra muscle come a firmer suspension and more aggressive rubber—hallmarks of an SRT treatment.
None of these goodies will be offered as Charger options, at least not initially. On the other hand, when the Charger goes on sale next spring, the Hemi version will undoubtedly be priced about the same as the Hemi-powered Magnum R/T, which starts just under $30,000, some three grand south of the 300C. Since we already regard the 300C as one of the best performance-sedan bargains on the market today, the Charger figures to be a strong contender for the absolute title.
2006 DODGE CHARGER
Vehicle type: front-engine, rear-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door sedan
Estimated base price: $26,000-$30,000
Engines: SOHC 24-valve 3.5-liter V-6, 250 hp, 250 lb-ft; pushrod 16-valve 5.7-liter V-8, 340 hp, 390 lb-ft
Transmissions: 4- or 5-speed automatic with manumatic shifting
Wheelbase: 120.0 in
Length/width/height: 197.0/75.5/57.5 in
Curb weight: 4100 lb
C/D-estimated performance (V-8):
Zero to 60 mph: 5.3 sec
Zero to 100 mph: 13.4 sec
Standing 1/4-mile: 13.9 sec
Top speed (governor limited): 130 mph
Projected fuel economy (C/D est):
EPA city driving: 17-19 mpg
EPA highway driving: 25-27 mpg
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