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Daimler's abuse of the Dodge Charger legacy.

itsnotachargeritsnotacharger Posts: 21
edited March 21 in Dodge
In Daimler's Spin Zone..."The Detroit News"...Chrysler's design chief Trevor Creed is quoted as saying, "...If the Charger had lived, this is how I believe it would have evolved."

Well then, someone should slap Charles Darwin because the depiction that I saw of the new Charger was a vile and grotesque mutation, not an evolutionary improvement upon the appealing lines and aggressive stance that were the Charger's origin.

Instead of Mr. Creed bringing us "The Origin of Species," he has brought us "The Origin of Feces," because that is what his vision of the new Charger looks like.

For the evolutionary process there has to be at least some of the original DNA present at the end of each change. In the case of the new Charger there is absolutely none.

Instead, the common house fly has more in common with the American Bald Eagle than this new imposter vehicle has with the original Chargers. Furthermore, if this designer had been put in charge of the evolution of the dinosaurs, I would have voted for their extinction.

Daimler's design department may have whiz kids, super computers and 3-D modeling, but I believe that they may have gotten better results using an "Etch-A-Sketch," a monkey and a bottle of Jim Beam." At the least it may have gotten them away from their apparent fixations with the body of the Ford Maverick.

Now in Singapore a person can be caned for spray-painting graffiti on automobiles. Tell me, what is the penalty for using a "Bait & Switch" routine: First, showcasing the exciting '99 Charger concept car, and then secondly, spreading graffiti across the muscle car heritage of the Chrysler Corporation and upon its loyal customers?

In closing, I apologize to Mr. Creed if these comments appear too harsh, but on this day it is too difficult to restrain the tremendous disappointment that this former Daimler-Chrysler customer now feels.

Mark Ebert
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Comments

  • carlisimocarlisimo Posts: 1,280
    So... what would you prefer a new Charger to be like?
  • driftracerdriftracer Posts: 2,692
    160 hp, handles like a tugboat, drums brakes all around, gets 8 miles to the gallon? They made those in 1973....I'll take the new ones, thank you.

    Bias ply tires and hydraulic shocks, along with underpowered engines, no longer have a place in automotive society.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,897
    considering what the Charger evolved into in the 70's, I don't think the new one is all that bad. Although the pics I've seen in Motortrend make it look like a heavy-handed 300C with styling cues of a South American Dart grafted on.

    Chrysler really watered down the Charger nameplate after 1970. For 1971, the name was applied to ALL its intermediate coupes, leaving the Coronet as a sedan/wagon only model. Now there were some pretty potent Chargers in the 70's, with 400's and 440's, and the HO 340's and 360's. And if you did the right mods and had a 3:23 rear, you could get a 318 to do the quarter mile in about 15 seconds. Chances are, though, most of 'em just had the 150 hp 318-2bbl. Some years, a slant six was actually standard, putting out all of 105-110 hp!

    The most popular Charger model by '73-74 was the SE model. SE was "Special Edition", which back then was essentially code for "Personal Luxury", i.e., upscale in a pimpy, landau-roofed, louvered-rear-quarters, shagged-out 70's sort of way.

    In 1975, the Charger became a clone to the Chrysler Cordoba, called "Charger SE". The "regular" intermediate coupes reclaimed their Coronet title, only to have it yanked away again for '76. That year, they were Chargers again, although the Cordoba-clone SE was still available. Then they switched back for '77, as the regular intermediates were all called Monaco, in a lame attempt to make people thing Dodge had downsized their big cars, and only the Charger SE was still around.

    Now for '78, it looked like a little excitement came back to Dodge with the Magnum. It was an agressive, good looking car that, for the time, did a great job at balancing the line between muscle car and personal luxury coupe in the looks department. It outsold the Charger SE, 55431 to 2800. Looks aside though, it was still more personal luxury coupe than musclecar, and most of them only had 318's or 360-2bbls. However, I think you could stil get a 400 and a 440 in '78, and in '79 they had a high-output 360 option with 195 hp, that probably made them one of the fastest 4000 lb cars around! But you could get that same 360 in a Volare Roadrunner or Aspen R/T, which were smaller and more manageable (although not necessarily much nimbler, and probably LESS durable!)

    For '80, the Magnum was replaced by the Mirada, which again had aggressive looks for a personal luxury coupe, and was probably the closest thing you could get to musclecar style that year, but most of them just had 85 hp slant sixes or 120 hp 318-2bbls. A 360-4bbl was optional but rarely ordered. Good for around 180-185 hp, it could get the beast from 0-60 in just under 10 seconds, which for the time was impressive. It would give the 2005 Chrysler 300 with the 2.7 a serious run for its money! ;-)

    The Mirada bowed out after 1983, and never was really replaced by anything. The Charger name did return, on a sporty looking 2-door version of the Omni/Horizon. It was a true insult to the name, though.

    Anything that would have followed on in the more "traditional" Charger role would have been K-car based by the 80's, so maybe it's best that they quit when they did!

    All things considered, I think Chrysler could do a lot worse with the Charger nameplate. At least they're putting it on a platform that's worthy...probably more worthy than anything since the big-block Chargers of the 70's.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,560
    Hahaha...I was gonna say...looking at what they did to the Charger in the 80s...DCX literally cannot do worse. I think the new guys are doing a decent job with Chrysler so far. They'll make something that's OK.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,529
    This is the automobile business. It's one of the most cut-throat businesses in the world. No prisoners, no mercy. You just have to expect this sort of thing, as the pressure increases to product new products faster and faster. The Japanese upped the stakes on product development and DC and other competitors to the Japanese will pull any rabbit out of any hat they can find.

    If there's a market for a Corvette SUV, they will build it. Porsche did, and it paid off, too.

    MODERATOR

  • KCRamKCRam Mt. Arlington NJPosts: 3,516
    The collective "we" are apparently fascinated with the retro styling cues. GM continued to evolve the Camaro/Firebird into TR7-like wedges, while Ford reversed field, went back to the 60s Mustangs for styling inspiration, and blew the Camaro/Firebird right off the market. The rear door glass and rear fender kick of the 06 Charger is just enough to show "heritage" that will attract sales. Using it as the NASCAR body will also pump interest.

    kcram
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  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 16,595
    Your analysis is faulty Cram. It's arguable whether the '96-'04 Mustangs were very retro but the new ones which are clearly so but the F-bodies
    are already history.

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,897
    they did a subtle restyle to the Mustang. Made it a bit less girly looking, and IMO at least, had a slight retro touch. Not as blatantly retro as the new model, but I saw more original Stang styling cues in the '99-04 than I did in any other Fairmont-based style.

    I never really saw any similarity between a TR7 and a Camaro/Firebird, either. If anything, I thought they were pretty modern looking, at least until they started overdoing the ribs & wings (mainly on the Pontiacs) in the final few years. About the closest similarity I saw to another car was that the '93-97 or so Camaros looked slightly like a Geo Storm, and the later models had a front-end that looked a bit like a Chrysler Concorde.
  • KCRamKCRam Mt. Arlington NJPosts: 3,516
    Andy, my point was that Ford's 1994 redesign of the Mustang was their first venture into using the old styling points. Mustang sales climbed while C/F sales fell, even though the C/F was the better statistical performer. It was the 94 Mustang that put the C/F down for good - obviously the pony car buyers wanted style over speed.

    Andre, didn't say the C/F looked like a TR7, just that they continued to evolve to that wedge form. The first and second gen C/Fs were actual coupes with trunks - after that, they were hatchbacks with low, angled hoods and high tails.

    Back to the 06 Charger, the rear flanks were clearly styled to reflect the design of the old late 60s-early 70s coupes. After the successes of the Ram (old Power Wagon crossed with modern Kenworth), Prowler, PT Cruiser, and now the Charger, the Chrysler design team has a pretty good handle on the retro look.

    kcram
    Host
    Smart Shopper and Wagons Message Boards
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,897
    that Chrysler tried to put just a hint of '68-70 Charger in the 2nd-gen Intrepid. It's noticeable mainly in the rear window, which is massive, and has just the hint of flying buttress. And the taillights have just a hint of '69-70 (the '68's had a 2-light treatment that the current Acura RSX recalls a bit)
  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,144
    ...is nothing compared to what happened to the Challenger. They turned it into a Mitsubishi!

    I hate the 1975 Charger for more personal reasons. I had a real (more profanity than 3 Martin Scorcese movies with Joe Pesci) teacher who bought a new 1975 Charger. This guy's looks and attitude were all that I hated about the '70s. I wish I could teleport myself back in time to key this jerk's ride!
  • john_324john_324 Posts: 974
    I just hope we'll get a 2-door version.

    I know I'm out of step with the buying public, but I like coupes, if only for the air of impracticality around them...there's just something about a 2-door that says "no grocery-getting, no soccer practice...just performance." Even if it doesn't quite deliver (e.g. the 1980s Chargers), it has the look at least.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,897
    even if it doesn't have the performance, I still think it should have the style. I've always preferred coupes myself, mainly because the coupes I've owned were always sleeker than their sedan counterparts. But nowadays most cars are so aerodynamic, that going to a 2-door design might not really do much. For example, while an early 80's Charger looked a lot sportier than an Omni, and a Dodge Mirada made a Diplomat look like the brick that it was, I don't think a 2-door Intrepid would have been much of an improvement.

    With the Charger going for a blockier look though, a coupe version might be nicer.
  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,144
    ...the original Charger was based on the 1967 Coronet - a rather blocky car itself.
  • I have a potential solution to problem some people have with using the storied Charger name on a new vehicle. My solution - don't use it. Instead, Chrysler should resurrect the Challenger name. Here's why:

    1. As revealed in the previous few posts people get very (overly?) emotional about the Charger name. There is a perception that a true Charger must look like a 1969 Charger and sport a big cube hemi or 440 six pack.

    2. The Challenger, to my eyes, was a much better looking car. It had sporty, clean lines on the outside and a purposeful, business-like interior.

    3. The vehicle that last used the Charger name left a very bad taste in the buying public's mouth. At least the Mitsubishi-based Challenger was a decent car.

    Just a thought.
  • john_324john_324 Posts: 974
    I would personally love that, as I always liked the Challengers better myself.

    "Vanishing Point" alone makes it a cool idea in my book...
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,897
    but in this case, I think the Charger nameplate actually fits the bill a bit better here. The Challenger was actually a purpose built "pony-car" contender, along the lines of the Mustang, Camaro, Firebird, Cougar, and Javelin. Only difference is, for its time, it was based on the intermediate platform, whereas those others were based on cars that were compact at the time.

    The Charger in its original form was more a cross of a musclecar and a personal luxury coupe, and as a result had just as much functionality as its more mundane Coronet/Satellite counterparts. IMO at least, a musclecar is a high-performance car that can still double as a family car (because most of them were just high performance versions of existing compact, intermediate, or full-sized platforms), whereas a "pony-car" (a term coined by the Ford Mustang) is more purpose-built, stressing style and performance over utility. So, for example, a Camaro would give up a lot of utility over a Chevy II/Nova, but a Chevy Nova SS would not.

    IMO, here's what Dodge should do, if they want to keep some semblance of heritage...offer the Magnum as a sedan and wagon (maybe even a blocky coupe), but then offer a Charger variant that would have a much sleeker coupe and maybe even a convertible variant. It still wouldn't be totally historically accurate, because there never was a Charger 'vert, there never was a Magnum or Charger sedan, and originally the Magnum slotted above the Charger for '78. But hey, I think it could work!
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,897
    I do like the '70-74 Challenger better than any Charger after 1970. I even like the little Mitsu Challenger/Sapporo, even if it was kind of a slur on that name! But to be fair, there were slant six Challengers, and I'm sure a 2.6 '79 Charger would give one a run for its money!

    My favorite though, is the '68-70 Charger. Yet, as muscular as those are, even some of those were offered with a slant six! It was rare, though. Of the roughly 90,000 Chargers built in 1969, I think only around 5,000 had the slant six. Back in '93, I was actually thinking about looking at one. I had hit a crater in the road with my Dart, and thought I had done irreparable damage to it, so I started looking for another car. One other candidate I was thinking of was a gorgeous '65 Buick Electra hardtop sedan for $2500. In retrospect, I shoulda bought it! I never did get a chance to look at that slant six Charger though, because my mechanic gave me some pointers on what to do to fix my Dart myself, and I did it, for around $75 total.

    I know a '69 Charger slant six wouldn't have been much to brag about (I had a '69 Dart slant six, and that was enough car for that engine!), but it least it would have looked good while it was going slow! ;-)
  • badtoybadtoy Posts: 368
    that was an interesting post...I have to confess I wouldn't have expected it from you.

    I don't think the gentleman who created this topic is looking for a replica of a 73 Charger (which, as any Mopar freak knows, is not really a Charger anyway). Rather, they hope for a modern interpretation of the original concept -- a stunningly beautiful, relatively inexpensive, extremely fast coupe. Something with enough oats to burn the skins, and enough attitude to intimdate the competition, all the while looking for all the world lilke it's wearing a tuxedo.

    The Charger was probably the most elegant expression of the muscle car idiom ever devised (with the Grand Prix of the same era a close second). The Road Runner was the original Belvedere [non-permissible content removed] big-block, and it was truly lovely (I had one, an orange 69; I also had a 68 Grand Prix SJ); but it had nowhere near the cache and presence of the Charger. The Crossfire probably comes closest to what the Charger was, but it's small, and it's certainly not inexpensive. Maybe it's too much to ask, but dreams die hard. I'd suggest acquiring a 68-70 Charger (if you can find one), and upgrading the suspension and brakes. You'll impress everybody, and find it impossible to wipe the grin off your face every time you drive it.
  • driftracerdriftracer Posts: 2,692
    Charger will live on forever, considering it's a cool car and with the cars like the Daytona and Superbird leading the charge, and an endless supply of Dukes of Hazzard reruns, everyone will always know what the car is.

    As cool as it was, though, either in 440 or Hemi form, it was still an enormous car with bias tires and poor handling, even compared to the other bias ply tired poor handling cars of the time.

    Being a purist is cool - I'm a purist about several things automotive. Trashing DaimlerChrysler for resurrecting the Charger name in a better performing, more efficient, and all around greater vehicle is beyond being a purist...

    Times have changed - it's good to remember and reminisce - it's also good to realize that more power, faster acceleration, and better handling, combined with better fuel economy and cleaner emissions...isn't a bad thing.

    Besides, the Dukes of Hazzard reruns will be around FOREVER.....
  • grbeckgrbeck Posts: 2,361
    If Dodge wants to reach into the past for a nameplate, and purists howl at the thought of a nameplate associated with sporty coupes being stuck on a 21st century sedan, then how about...Polara?

    Monaco?

    Coronet?

    Don't be too hard on the 1971-74 Dodge Chargers. They may be overshadowed by their fire-breathing forebears, but taken in the context of their time, they weren't bad vehicles.

    Our neighbor had a 1973 Charger SE (medium blue metallic with a white vinyl top), and it was a handsome car for the time.

    At least Dodge didn't ruin the Charger for 1973-74. Plymouth, on the other hand, facelifted the Satellite Sebring for 1973, and completely ruined the car by adding an upright front with an awkward grille.

    Speaking of Plymouth, maybe Dodge can raid the nameplate bin of its deceased sibling.

    Dodge could use Fury, Satellite or Belvedere.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,897
    is that for the most part, their past names just don't have that much equity. I could see Charger, Challenger, and Magnum having some name equity, but for the most part, names like "Coronet", "Polara", "Monaco", etc pale in comparison to "Malibu", "Impala", "Monte Carlo", "Thunderbird", etc.

    And I'm sure it's a safe bet that there will never be another Dodge named "Aspen"! The Dart was probably the most famous Dodge of all, but that's a name I think should be retired forever, out of respect. Unless Mopar had a danged good small car to put it on. And, knowing the domestics, I don't think they can put out a small car that good! Plus, the name "Dart" just sounds too 60's or 70's IMO. I dunno if it would go well on a modern car.

    Now "Demon" was a cool name. But good luck getting people in the Bible belt to buy one. They're not gonna want to drive it to church on Sundays!
  • john_324john_324 Posts: 974
    Always thought "Fury" was a great Mopar name that deserves to be brought back, esp. "Gran Fury."

    There was a brief, early '90s Dodge Monaco wasn't there? I recall it was a Euro-looking sedan of intermediate proportions...
  • driftracerdriftracer Posts: 2,692
    was around and had a Renault twin....the car had a 75% first year depreciation hit...
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,897
    the Monaco was brought back for a few years, as a clone to the Eagle Premier. It was one of those cars that, had the reliability been there, it would've been a great car. Unfortunately, it was kind of an odd combination of Renault and Chrysler, and I have a feeling they took the least reliable bits of each one!

    I dunno if this is true or not, but I've heard that the Premier/Monaco actually served as the basis for the original Intrepid. I know they had a longitudinal engine layout, just like the Intrepid.

    "Fury" is probably one of the few time-honored names that never did get dragged through the muck. The original Fury was V-8 and RWD, as was the final 1989 model. Okay, so by 1989 it was down to 140 hp for civvy models and 175 for police interceptors, but still, at least there was never a K-car Fury!
  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,144
    ... the 1958 Plymouth is probably the world's most famous Fury thanks to Stephen King and John Carpenter. In reality, Christine was a Belvedere because real 1958 Furies were cream & gold with gold anodized trim.

    I always wished Chrysler had built an LH version of the Plymouth Fury. I bet it would've been beautiful. If DCX had any guts, it would bring back Plymouth with a Fury.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,897
    would have been nice looking, but I don't think it would have been enough to save the division. I imagine it would've looked about like a Dodge Intrepid, but maybe with an eggcrate grille similar to the Plymouth Breeze?

    IMO, current Chrysler-badged cars like the Sebring, PT Cruiser, and the V-6 versions of the 300 are really about where a Plymouth should be, in terms of price and prestige. Heck, Sebring is even an old Plymouth name!

    What I think they should do is offer the 300 as a V-8 only model. Just either de-tune it or reduce its displacement for the cheaper models. Then for a Plymouth version, offer a base 2.7 Fury, a mid-range 3.5 Gran Fury or Fury VIP, and then a Hemi-only Fury GT model.

    The key would be to differentiate the style between a Chrysler and a Plymouth, and that's something that Mopar has had trouble doing ever since the downsizing era of the late 70's. While, say, a 1977 New Yorker actually shares very little sheetmetal with a 1977 Gran Fury, from 1980 onward (when the Gran Fury was re-introduced) it was all but identical to a Chrysler Newport, except the taillights, which were borrowed from a Dodge St. Regis!

    But then having a Plymouth lineup would cut into Dodge territory as well, since over the years Dodge has moved down into that range.
  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,144
    ...would look like? I imagine it would look like an evolution of your old Gran Fury police interceptor.
  • wale_bate1wale_bate1 Posts: 1,986
    itsnotacharger and I are seeing this one near eye to eye.

    The 1999 Charger concept, that was strangely enough still on the circuit until this year, is the expression (or close to it) of what I had hoped to see. Flowing lines of pure muscle.

    This is a cheap 300 reskin or Magnum butt-ectomy. I don't mind them doing it, and understand the economics of it perfectly, but don't mess with the Charger (or Challenger) name.

    Like grbeck, Polara popped into my head when I first saw the pics. Now that I'm thinking about it, Fury seems like a near perfect fit.
  • KCRamKCRam Mt. Arlington NJPosts: 3,516
    ...would probably have the potential to supplant the Crown Vic as the police car of choice.

    kcram
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