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Daimler's abuse of the Dodge Charger legacy.



  • 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?



    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: 23,054
    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: 23,054
    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 Philadelphia, PAPosts: 15,294
    ... 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: 23,054
    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 Philadelphia, PAPosts: 15,294
    ...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.

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  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,054
    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: 15,294
    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: 58,890
    Some of these names kinda clunk in the year 2004 don't you think?

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  • 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: 23,054
    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: 58,890
    yeah but wear a boxer's mouthpiece to save your teeth over bumps.

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  • 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.
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