original-charger.jpgby Robert Tate

    On New Year’s Day of 1966, the original Dodge Charger made its debut as the “Leader of the Dodge Rebellion”. It was an instant hit among the buying public. However, it was the Dodge Charger II prototype that was displayed earlier to crowds in Detroit, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Tampa that generated a multitude of Charger fans. The Dodge Charger II show car was not only displayed to highlight the styling and engineering, but also to determine reactions from the buying public on such a unique model design.

    Many of the experimental car features on the Dodge Charger were retained
    in the production model. Every style line in the metal and glass had
    been smoothly blended to provide the Dodge Charger with a forward
    thrusting look and a low silhouette. From the sweptback roofline and
    full width tail lights to the tapering forward side sculpturing and
    scoop effect of the frontal area styling. The Dodge Charger was a car
    designed for the “go generation” and was introduced at a time when
    Americans wanted high performance and sporty styling automobiles. The
    Dodge Charger was one of the vehicle models credited as a trendsetter.

    go-charger.jpgThe two door hardtop model featured a roomy plush interior with four
    individual bucket seats and a full length console. The Dodge Charger
    offered revolving headlights that would disappear when not in use and
    were integrated with a unique one piece grille design.

    The front end of
    the Dodge Charger model, including its hood, grille and bumper, were
    designed to imply a ventured effect. The vertical rear fenders and wrap
    around bumpers were designed to center attention on the full width tail
    lights, which were trimmed in zinc die cast with bright perimeter
    molding. The rear window design offered a streamlined theme that curved
    upward at the outer ends in a gull wing fashion design.

    plain-jane-charger.jpgOn September 5, 2006, the automotive world mourned the passing of my
    good friend and mentor Mr. Carl Cameron. Mr. Cameron spent many years
    with the Chrysler Corporation and was responsible for the designs of the
    1966/67 Charger automobile and 1970 Dodge Challenger. Mr. Cameron
    always had interesting and fascinating stories along with happy memories
    of the glory days at Chrysler. Carl Cameron was 81 years old when he
    passed away and he will continually be remembered for not only his
    design of the 1966/67 Dodge Charger model, but also as the man who
    inspired many individuals in such a positive way.

    Content courtesy of  MotorCities National Heritage Area. A special thanks to Robert Tate, Automotive Historian and Researcher,
    for donating his story to the MotorCities Story of the Week program.
    Dodge Charger Photos are courtesy of Robert Tate.