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Daimler's abuse of the Dodge Charger legacy.



  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,535
    the only reason the Crown Vic is even the police car of choice is because Mopar and Chevy pretty much dropped out of that market. Impalas are pretty popular though, at the local and county level. I think state troopers still prefer something beefy like a Crown Vic, though.
  • john_324john_324 Posts: 974
    I see alot more Impala police cars these days (esp. as police "service" vehicles, like ticket writers and motorist assist cars).

    Though, big city police depts. still prefer the iron rwd toughness of the Crown Vics for the same reason cabbies do...

    Be cool to see a Mopar patrol car again...of course, I also hope highway patrols adopt the new Mustang as a pursuit car, just like in the '80s.
  • lemkolemko Philadelphia, PAPosts: 15,306
    They do have Dodge Intrepids as patrol cars in some municipalities. The city of Philadelphia seems to be slowly shifting to Impalas.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Some of these names kinda clunk in the year 2004 don't you think?
  • grbeckgrbeck Posts: 2,361
    Polara does have a 1960s "space age" ring to it, but Fury would still work, although we would have to get used to a Dodge Fury. The general public, however, probably wouldn't mind.

    As for the Eagle Premier/Dodge Monaco - it was originally designed when Renault still owned AMC. Chrysler escapes the blame for that one. To me, it was the epitome of bland, especially when parked beside a Ford Taurus or Mercury Sable of that time.
  • badtoybadtoy Posts: 368
    There is no arguing the fact that cars of the 68-70 vintage were poor handlers compared to almost any car of today -- even lowly Civics and Corollas. However, that is not a valid argument in my opinion, any more than speculating about who would have won WWI if they'd had F15s. It's simply not germane.

    As for Charger's handling relative to other cars of the time, I speak from experience in assuring you that they were every bit the equal of my Road Runner, Grand Prix and Firebird, the limiting factor in all three being those gawdawful bias plies (not the fault of the car companies, by the way, and one that is easily remedied today). And, as I've mentioned previously, it is a simple matter to upgrade any of these cars with modern suspension components, brakes and tires. I'd take any one of them in a heartbeat -- they are really cool cars, and a lot of fun to drive.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,535
    tested a 1969 Charger once. With a 375 hp (IIRC) 440, a Torqueflite 727 tranny, and a fairly tame 3.23:1 rear end. They hated it, but c'mon, it's Consumer Reports! They probably wet themselves when the got it to do 0-60 in 7 seconds!

    They also tore up the bias ply tires in the time that they had the car testing it, so that shows you they must've been having some fun with it, pushing it to the limit. They certainly weren't driving this Charger the way they'd drive a VW Bug or a 6-cyl Falcon or Valiant!

    And Badtoy's right...just making the switch from bias ply tires made a world of difference. I did just that with a '69 Dart GT, and put over 85,000 miles on my '68 Dart 270, which had 205/70/R-14's up front, and in back I'd switch between 225/70/R14's and 205/70/R14's. It handled differently from a modern car, and you had to pay attention to it, but in just about any "real world" driving you could throw at it, it didn't suffer because of being an old car. And when I delivered pizzas, let's just say that they didn't get to their destination any slower in my Dart than they did in the Civics, Mustangs, Tercels, Corollas, Skylarks, and other tiny cars the other drivers were using!

    I'm sure a Charger would behave similarly. In fact, it might actually handle more stably than a Dart because of the wider track. Darts had a really skinny track in back, something like 55.9", IIRC.

    Chrysler was usually praised for the well balanced handling and ride that the torsion bar suspensions provided. That is, at least, until they tried mounting them transversely on the '76 compacts, and the ride got mushy, and they started to crack, pull away from the sub-frame, etc!
  • driftracerdriftracer Posts: 2,692
    You better bet!!

    Hotchkis Suspension, a while back, teamed up with Car Craft or Popular Hot Rodding (I can't remember) and worked over a '69 Chevelle and a '69 Charger with their springs, shocks, sway bars, and polyurethane bushings, plus 17" wheels and tires.

    With just those simple mods, and less than $2,000 per car, both cars posted over .85 on the skidpad and 65+ mph slalom times...

    The, you just do the brakes, and you've got a new Z-28 in a cool, classic wrapper.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    yeah but wear a boxer's mouthpiece to save your teeth over bumps.
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,565
    Actually the Eagle Premier was the last gasp of the American Motors/Renault cooperation before Chrysler bought AMC. If I recall AMC sunk a lot of money into a Canadian plant to build this unreliable beast just before Chrysler bought AMC, and Chrysler kept the model in production for a few years, probably to their regret. It did have nice exterior styling for its time, but that was all.

    Combining AMC and Renault to design and develop a car was a recipe for disaster.
  • driftracerdriftracer Posts: 2,692
    I disagree - my 1986 Mustang GT had 800 lb front and 450 lb rear springs, 1 3/8" front sway bar, 1 1/8" rear bar, and KYB AGX struts always set on 3 or 4 - it rode nicer than the 2005 WRX STi I was looking at buying....
  • rbentonrbenton Posts: 30
    Chrysler ruined the Monaco name that evil wart of vehicle. I had 92' Monaco, evil car. Total Lemon. The Premier/Monaco on a test drive basis was much better car K-car variant. However these cars in real life experience often have reliability, design and workmanship issues that make pre-1999 Hyundai's and Yugo's look good. I almost lost my shirt financially on that car.
    Andre it's true the Premier served as the design basis (i.e. blueprint) for all cab forward cars. Particularly the LH cars. So to speak AMC/Renault designer inspired Chrysler to adopted the colaboartive team design concept and gave them the answer book to modern chassis design. Otherwise Chrysler would have only been able just keep recycling the K-car. Much like GM has done with the W-Body cars.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Well sure it can ride better than a WRX STi because you have the longer wheelbase. But it's just not a sophisticated suspension no matter what you do to it; however, it can be highly effective for smooth flat tracking situations.

    All in all though, old cars are pretty primitive compared to modern ones, and they love to pogo-stick on rutted roads, as you probably know.

    We long for the old days, but we really don't want them as they were, only as we imagine them I think.
  • grbeckgrbeck Posts: 2,361
    I don't know if the Monaco based on the Renault Premier can be said to have ruined the name. Most people have probably never heard of this vehicle. It was obscure even when new.

    Before Chrysler purchased AMC from Renault, AMC had planned to build a coupe version of the Premier called the Allure. It died when Chrysler took over AMC. The coupe market was dying by the late 1980s, so it was just as well.

    If I recall correctly, the 300 and Magnum are built at the former AMC plant in Canada.
  • driftracerdriftracer Posts: 2,692
    The 1979-1993 Mustang has a 100.4" wheelbase, the STi has a 100.0" - .4" isn't much of a difference...
  • carlisimocarlisimo Posts: 1,280
    Those who want a coupe will join the sport compact coupe crowd who are being overrun by the sport compact sedan bunch. For some reason, everyone wants those rear doors nowadays, though I haven't seen a corresponding increase in carpooling.
  • driftracerdriftracer Posts: 2,692
    as the most common rally class is the 4-door group sedan...also most easily translated into real world vehicles.
  • I'd buy an 05 Chrysler 300C, remove the body and somehow drop a 68-70 RT body on it. The best of both worlds.
         By the way, my first car was a 68 Charger.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,535
    you might be able to actually get the suspension components of to mate up to the undercarriage of the classic Charger. With enough money and perseverance, that is!

    The new Hemi would fit in the engine bay, no trouble at all. Because while it might look pretty impressive compared to most modern engines, it's downright dainty and feminine-looking compared to some of the monsters that used to end up under the hood of a Charger!

    As for the tranny, I'm also guessing that the Benz 5-speed is physically bigger/longer than the old Torqueflite 727, so you might have to modify the tranny hump. At least, I heard you had to do that when putting in the 4-speed automatic overdrive from the trucks, which used to be a somewhat popular thing to do to somewhat modernize these old beasts (and probably plunge their durability too, as those old Torqueflites were one of the most durable parts of the car!)
  • A few years ago Jon Moss did put a Monte Carlo body on a Z28 chassis as an engineering experiment. Went from FWD to RWD, 406 ci, 6speed manual; the car hauled. Chevy toyed with the idea briefly. More of a what if than a why.
  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 20,481
    would anyone bother putting the goofy fwd MC body
    on a Z28 chassis? Why???????

    2001 BMW 330ci/E46, 2008 BMW 335i conv/E93

  • It was a show car designed to gauge interest. Apparently America's reaction was similar to yours.
          It was just one of over a hundred vehicles Moss Frankensteined with. Why a Monte Carlo... I couldn't guess. I can appreciate his imagination though.
         I don't want to sidetrack the original topic, so back to the Charger.
  • grbeckgrbeck Posts: 2,361
    With the current Monte Carlo, the first thing you do to improve the car is throw away the body!

    The current Monte Carlo has to be one of the most awkward looking cars on the market.

    Money would be better spent bringing one of the sharp 1970-72 Monte Carlos up to modern specs.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 47,964
    With the retro craze hitting everywhere, they should try to remake the old Monte.

    The new one really is an ungainly design, sags and bulges in every odd location. Blech.
  • The article I am refering to is from the August 1996 issue of Motor Trend. The car doesn't look half bad, metallic green, rear 335/45ZR17 tires. This is back when Earnhardt Sr. was driving a Monte Carlo race car, so that may explain some of this.

         Back to topic, the most blatant abuse of the Charger name happened in the mid 80's, with the release of the FWD version. A double disgrace when Shelby allowed his name to be used.
  • grbeckgrbeck Posts: 2,361
    Those Monte Carlos weren't ugly, just very bland - a two-door Lumina in every sense of the word.
  • john_324john_324 Posts: 974
    I always liked those 1980s Montes Carlo...yeah, I know they sported the weakest V8 engine this side of a Mustang II, but the styling was pretty good I thought, and the car seemed like a total anachronism in the heyday of small, fwd coupes that favored turbo 4s for performance.

    Current version seems bland indeed...I think the only thing keeping it going is the NASCAR faithful for whom it's as close as they can get to what their racing heroes drive.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,535
    and it was a pretty nice car. My Mom bought it brand-new, and gave it to me in early 1998. It was just the base 305 V-8, no SS or anything. For the time, and for what it was, I don't think it was a bad performer. I didn't look at that 305 as being weak so much as being held back. Unless you got an SS, the 305 in midsize cars had a restricted exhaust, or something restricted, that cut horsepower down from the 165 that it had in full-sized cars and pickups. And the gearing was something really loafy, like a 2.56:1 or 2.73:1. Heck, maybe it was even a 2.41:1? I know all three of those ratios were pretty common.

    It would do 0-60 in about 10 seconds, which was about on par with the competition at the time. A V-8 T-bird only had around 140-150 hp at that time, even with fuel injection. I think Ford tended to use quicker gearing, though. And the closest thing Chrysler would've had in '86 to the Monte Carlo would've been the LeBaron/600 coupe. And witha Turbo-I/automatic, they were only good for 0-60 in around 9-9.5 seconds, stock.

    Chrysler really made a resurgence in this type of market in '87, with the sleek new LeBaron coupe/convertible. I think that was one of the most beautiful K-cars ever built! (and I'm not trying to damn it with faint praise!) It's kind of a shame that Dodge didn't get a version of that. For the timeframe, it wouldn't have made a bad basis for the Charger. In a way though, the Dodge Daytona filled that slot. It was smaller, but still a K-car, and used the same dashboard as the LeBaron and many of the same interior bits.
  • john_324john_324 Posts: 974
    Did the 1980s Montes ever have a manual available? I've never seen one, but you never know...

    I always liked the sytling of the LeBaron, and thought the Sebring's design was a step down. Loved those headlight covers, and have a weird soft spot in my heart for that bizarro Maserati/Chrysler TC thing (who couldn't love those porthole windows that came on the hardtop??)
  • driftracerdriftracer Posts: 2,692
    the most powerful of the '80s Montes was the SS, with only 190 hp, I believe, which translates to 150-160 at the wheels...

    The last manual Monte Carlos were the first gen.
This discussion has been closed.