After a 27-year hiatus, Dodge Charger returns to the Daytona International Speedway and Daytona Speedweeks this week with the introduction of a new limited-production 2006 Charger Daytona R/T model amidst the sounds of the track, cheers of the fans and the roar of the legendary HEMI® engine.
'The legendary Dodge Charger nameplate returns on a modern, high-performance, rear-wheel-drive vehicle that combines bold design with four-door functionality,' said Darryl Jackson, Vice President -- Dodge Marketing, Chrysler Group. 'To celebrate Dodge Charger's return to NASCAR, we're introducing a limited-production Daytona R/T model that offers a little slice of history with all the performance and handling characteristics to satisfy modern muscle car enthusiasts.'
Legendary Colors for Legendary Car
Daytona race fans yelling 'Go man, go!' will not only be cheering on the new Dodge Charger in its return to NASCAR Nextel Cup racing, but also will be describing the paint scheme on the first-available, limited-production 2006 Dodge Charger Daytona R/T model. Go ManGo!, a high-impact paint name initially used for the 1970 Dodge Charger, returns in an updated metallic orange paint on the all-new 2006 Dodge Charger Daytona R/T.
Following the limited-production run of Dodge Charger Daytona R/T in Go ManGo! will be a Dodge Charger Daytona R/T offered in Top Banana, another high-impact heritage paint name. The Top Banana Dodge Charger Daytona R/T will peel off the line in limited numbers later in 2005.
In addition to the special exterior paint colors, the 2006 Dodge Charger Daytona R/T model will be distinguishable by an exclusive front fascia with a chin spoiler and black honeycomb grille, unique black 'Daytona' and 'HEMI' decals, signature heritage R/T badging and a black rear decklid spoiler. The Daytona model also will include large, bright, dual-exhaust tips and 18-inch polished wheels with low-gloss, jet-black painted pockets. The powerful HEMI engine will feature a HEMI-orange engine cover.
The interior of the 2006 Dodge Charger Daytona R/T will feature performance front seats with suede inserts and embroidered 'Daytona' logos on the front headrests. Body-color accent stitching will appear on the front and rear seats and on the leather-wrapped steering wheel. Matching body-colored center stack bezel, a 'Daytona Limited Edition' display on the electronic cluster and a sequentially numbered limited-edition Daytona badge on the instrument panel will complete the unique Dodge Charger Daytona R/T interior.
The Dodge Charger Daytona R/T comes equipped with standard world-class ride and handling features, including Electronic Stability Program (ESP), All-speed Traction Control and Anti-lock Brake System (ABS). The Dodge Charger Daytona R/T model also will feature dual-zone automatic temperature controls, heated power front seats and power-adjustable pedals.
The 2006 Dodge Charger Daytona R/T in Go ManGo! paint will be on display at the 2005 Chicago Auto Show during press days, beginning Feb. 9. Dodge Charger Daytona R/T models in Go ManGo! and Top Banana paint will be featured in the Daytona Speedway Dodge City display, Feb. 16–20.
Dodge to Boost 5.7-liter HEMI to 350 Horsepower
Just in time for the Dodge Charger Daytona R/T launch, Chrysler Group engineers have muscled out even more horsepower from the legendary HEMI engine. The 2006 Dodge Charger Daytona R/T will feature a five-speed automatic transmission with AutoStick® and a 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 engine that offers an estimated 350 horsepower and 390 lb.-ft. of torque -- ten more horses than the previous 5.7-liter HEMI -- for even more power in this modern rear-wheel-drive muscle car.
Chrysler Group engineers developed uniquely tuned intake and exhaust systems to unleash some of the HEMI engine's untapped power for the Dodge Charger Daytona R/T. By using a less restrictive intake system and moving to a straight-through muffler from a three-pass muffler, the newly tuned 5.7-liter HEMI gets a 10-horsepower boost and a throaty, high-performance tone to match.
The HEMI engine's Multi-displacement System (MDS) provides up to 20 percent improved fuel economy, giving Dodge Charger customers the legendary HEMI power they want with fuel economy they will appreciate.
A high-performance suspension package that includes special suspension tuning, 18-inch all-season P235/55 R18 performance tires, performance-tuned 9-land steering gear and Nivomat™ self-leveling rear shock absorbers will be standard on the Charger Daytona R/T model.
2006 Dodge Charger Production
Production of the 2006 Dodge Charger SE, SXT and R/T models begins this spring at the Brampton Assembly Plant in Brampton, Ontario, Canada, with vehicles available in North American markets early this summer. The Dodge Charger will join the Dodge Magnum and Chrysler 300 vehicles built there.
Limited production of the 2006 Dodge Charger Daytona R/T model in modern Go ManGo! paint will begin early this summer with vehicles available in North American markets soon after. The Dodge Charger Daytona R/T model in Top Banana paint will be available after the limited production of Go ManGo! is complete.
Dodge Charger Returns to NASCAR Racing at Daytona International Speedway
Joining the celebration of the Dodge Charger's return to NASCAR racing at this year's Daytona International Speedway will be two Dodge Charger NASCAR Nextel Cup race cars painted in the same special colors of Go ManGo! and Top Banana.
On Friday, Feb. 11, the Evernham Motorsports team will unveil the new Bud Shootout paint schemes on Dodge Charger race cars at the Daytona International Speedway, alongside the 2006 Dodge Charger Daytona R/T production vehicles.
The original Dodge Charger race car debuted during the 1966 Speedweeks at Daytona. In its 11 years of racing, the Charger won 124 NASCAR Cup races and took three drivers to five championships. Richard Petty won three of his seven titles behind the wheel of a Dodge Charger and was behind the wheel of Charger's last victory at Daytona in the 1977 Firecracker 400.
In 1970, a Dodge Charger Daytona made history at Talladega Speedway when Buddy Baker became the first driver to be clocked at more than 200 mph for a lap on a closed course.Source - DaimlerChrysler Press
The Dodge Charger was produced from 1966 through 1978, 1983 through 1987, and again beginning in 2006. Since its inception, the impressive performance and stylish bodies made the Charger an instant success. During its introductory year, 37,344 examples were produced.
The Dodge Charger was based on the Dodge Coronet platform, but with a fastback roofline. The headlights were retractable which resulted in a sportier appearance for the vehicle. The interior had four bucket seats with the rear seats able to be folded down that provided ample space for cargo. Under the hood was a 318 cubic-inch eight-cylinder engine that produced 230 horsepower. Optional was the 361 and 426 cubic-inch Hemi, available in various configurations. The 426 Hemi produced 425 horsepower and would set the buyer back $1000, a considerable cost considering the base price was $3122. Only 468 of the Hemi option were purchased.
In 1967 Dodge added the 440 cubic-inch Magnum to the Charger model line. With 375 horsepower, it was a cheaper option than the Hemi, easy to tune, and came standard with the R/T package. The 318 cubic-inch was still the standard option with the 426 Hemi the top-of-the-line producing 45 horsepower and 490 foot-pounds of torque. The production total for the Charger in 1967 was around 15,000 with 118 of those selecting the Hemi engine.
The 1968 Charger was redesigned, now with hidden headlights and a curvy body. The design was a success and sales soared to over 92,000 units. The Hemi option was available, with around 470 buyers opting for the option. The R/T package was a popular option with 17,665 buyers. Standard on the R/T performance package was the 440 Magnum engine producing 375 horsepower. Many argue that the 1968 was the most appealing muscle car of all 1960's era.
For 1969, Dodge decided to make only minor improvements to the Charger. The grille now had a chrome center divider. Two new Charger models were available. The Charger 500 was a performance machine with some styling cues similar to the Dodge Coronet. The big news was the Dodge charger Daytona which is easily identified by its larger vertical tail stabilizer and front nose extension. With just over 500 examples of the Daytona produced, the $4000 vehicle was available with either the Hemi or the 440 engine.
The Charger was redesigned in 1970 and became available in new colors. The SE version added leather seats and an electric sliding sunroof. Dodge introduced the 440 Six Pack which featured three Holley two-barrel carburetors and produced 390 horsepower. In total, there were just over 10,300 Chargers sold in 1970 with 42 of those sales including the 440 Six Pack and 116 opting for the Hemi.
The muscle car era was coming to a close. Government safety regulations, emission controls, and insurance premiums were beginning to force manufacturers into detuning their engines. This was the last year for the mighty Hemi engine, which retained it 425 horsepower rating. The 440 cubic-inc engine was now rated at 370, down by 5 horsepower. The 440 Six Pack also lost five horsepower. The Charger was redesigned and lost a few inches at the wheelbase. Available in SE and R/T trim, it now shared a body with the Super Bee. This body-style design lasted until 1974.
The Rallye was the performance model for the Dodge Charger for the years 1972 through 1974. The Rallye was equipped with the detuned 440 cubic-inch engine with four-barrel carburetors, hydraulic lifters, and five main bearings. The result was 280 horsepower for the years 1972 through 1973. In 1974 the horsepower dipped to 275.
For 1973, Dodge offered the base 318 cubic-inch eight-cylinder engine, now rated at 255 horsepower. The 440 was producing 255 horsepower while the 440 Six-Pack produced 330 horsepower. The decrease in horsepower was due to the detuning to comply with government safety and emission regulations and because horsepower was no longer being quoted in terms of gross output but rather in terms of net output. The suspension was reworked resulted in a quieter and more comfortable ride.
The Charger's appearance became sportier in 1974, with minor aesthetic changes and larger quarter windows. The 318 V8 was rated at 175, the 440 V8 produced 280, and the 440 Six Pack produced 330 horsepower. The engine choices remained the same for 1974 but it would be the final year for its sporty persona. In 1975, Dodge repositioned the Charger as a luxury vehicle. They introduced the Charger SE, a near-clone of the Chrysler Cordoba. The SE came equipped with lots of standard equipment and a 360 cubic-inch engine producing 180 horsepower. The slant-six 318 and 400 were available in various configurations. The 360 fitted with a four-barrel, instead of the standard two-barrel carburetor, would increase the horsepower to 200.
In 1978, Dodge replaced the Charger with the Magnum which was basically a name change because the Magnum was identical to the Charger SE. The Charger name has reappeared in recent times, a tribute to the muscle-car phenomenon of the 1960's. The name was also used in the 1980's on the Dodge Omni.
The Charger was brought back in 1981 as a performance package on the Omni 024 (and Plymouth Horizon TC3), called the Charger 2.2. The Charger 2.2 option may have improved the styling and performance of the Omni, but it was nothing like the Charger of the 1960's. The Charger 2.2 was given a 2.2-liter 4-cylinder engine that produced 85 horsepower. A hood scoop and a rear spoiler added to the performance look, but did little to improve the overall performance. The aesthetics were updated in 1982, improving upon the performance persona with the addition of side scoops mounted behind the front wheels.
The base engine, a 1.7-liter unit that produced 70 horsepower, was produced by Volkswagen. In 1983, Volkswagen ceased production of the engine. A new engine was found at Peugeot. Upon the addition of the new engine, Chrysler renamed the Omni 024 to Charger.
In 1984, quad headlights were added to the Charger making it easier to distinguish from its sibling, the Omni.
In 1987 production ceased for the Charger, Turismo, Omni, and Horizon. Shelby Charger
In 1983 Carroll Shelby made modifications to the Charger that included both mechanical and aesthetic improvements, increasing the performance of the vehicle. All major aspects of the vehicle were updated, including the suspension, brakes, steering, engine, and transmission. The front-end was modified and racing stripes traversed the entire length of the vehicle. In its first year, over 8200 examples were sold.
In 1984 the engine was again addressed, this time horsepower improved by around 5. An automatic transmission was became available, as did a new red exterior paint color. The other colors available were black with silver stripes, blue with silver stripes, and silver with blue stripes.
In 1985 a MPFI turbo-charged was installed, raising horsepower to nearly 150. Little was changed in the following years with production ceasing in 1987 after nearly 16400 examples of the turbo-version produced. 1,000 of the last Dodge Shelby Chargers were purchased by Carroll Shelby and converted them into the Shelby Charger CLHS. The vehicles were rebadged with the Shelby logo replacing the Dodge logo. Using Knoi adjustable shocks and struts, the suspension was greatly improved. The tires were improved Z-tires and the intercooler and components of the Turbo II engine were installed. All were painted in black.2005 Chargersource: Dodge
One of the biggest names from the muscle car era – powered its way out of its storied past and onto the stage at the 2005 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The Charger coming off the line and out of garages create a new reputation for the Dodge legend, featuring a modern design to back up its 21st century muscle car power, sports car handling and cutting-edge technology.
With a 250-horsepower High Output V-6 engine or the optional 340-horsepower HEMI® engine powering large 18-inch rear wheels, the all-new 2006 Dodge Charger races into the car market with bold, provocative styling and substance without losing the convenience of a modern sedan.
The all-new 2006 Dodge Charger features rear-wheel drive with near 50/50 weight distribution and advanced technologies that offer superb ride and responsive handling in all surface and traction conditions.
The Multiple Displacement System (MDS) on the Dodge Charger's HEMI engine seamlessly deactivates four cylinders in just 40 milliseconds – quicker than a blink of an eye – when full V-8 power is not needed, improving fuel economy by up to 20 percent. The HEMI engine with MDS completed more than 6.5 million customer-equivalent miles through the Chrysler Group's development and durability testing.
After a 30-year absence, Charger returns to the track beginning in February 2005. The historic Dodge Charger nameplate returns to NASCAR Nextel Cup competition as the successor to the race-winning Dodge Intrepid race cars of 2001- 2004, and to the storied Dodge Charger race cars of the late 1960s and early 1970s that earned several national championships.
Following the adage that 'racing improves the breed,' motorsports competition has long been part of the Dodge heritage. From engineering labs in Auburn Hills, Mich., to shop floors in Charlotte, N.C., Dodge, its teams and its dealers live the philosophy it takes to be successful in the ultra-competitive world of racing.By Daniel Vaughan | Mar 2006