A Brief Aerodynamic History of the Dodge Charger
The Dodge Charger is Still Around, but the Massive Amounts of Lift and Drag It Used to Have Are Not
The 1960s Dodge Charger is a classic American muscle. You can use a variety of superlatives to describe its design – “badass”, “solid”, “worth-selling-a-kidney-just-to-have-in-your-garage”, etc. In technical terms, the word “slick” is not one of them.
That’s because the B-body beast’s exterior has a blunt, squared-off nose and body work that wants to bash its way through a wind tunnel instead of glide through its jets of air. Just give the video below a watch. The ’69’s rectangular maw causes the air stream to separate and lift the front end. Things don’t improve around the A-pillars, thanks to the window trim and rain gutters. Those flying buttresses out back? They may look cool, but in a lab setting, they’re a big (source of) drag.
That wasn’t going to cut it at the NASCAR tracks back in the ’60s, so Dodge did some research on how to make the Charger Daytona slip through the atmosphere, then did some restyling. The big nose cone and sky-high wing were as aero-friendly as they were over-the-top. They contributed to significantly higher rear downforce. Along with a flush rear window, they also lowered lift and drag while simultaneously elevating Dodge to racing greatness.
Flash forward to the modern Charger SRT Hellcat. It’s built to drag, but its exterior wasn’t designed to. It has almost as much rear downforce as the Daytona, even though it has a much smaller spoiler, one whose height can be measured in millimeters, not feet. It may not be close to the Daytona wing’s level of cool, but it sure makes the Charger Hellcat look slick.
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via [Motor Authority]