The Dodge Charger is a tour de force in the muscle car world, it exemplifies cutting-edge design and performance. It's no secret that this car is an American staple, as auto enthusiasts love it because it's so fun to drive. The 2020 four-door Charger continues to show its dominance in the muscle car world, as it's a leader in safety, horsepower, and performance.

This modern-day Charger traces its roots back to 1966. Since its debut, the Charger was modified to improve its quality and appearance, transforming into the beloved sports muscle car that we know today. The 1960s and 1970s were defining moments in the Charger's history, as the car was known for its cargo room in the 1960s before undergoing exterior changes to solidify its status as a luxury car icon in the 1970s. Each model was adapted to fulfill consumer needs and conveyed the growing changes in each generation.

Here's a detailed breakdown of what set the 1970 Charger apart from the 1960s version.

The 1966-1967 Dodge Charger

A blue 1966 Dodge Charger stands on a road.
Via: Autotrader

We're heading back to where it all began. The car's features were unveiled in December 1965, and the car hit American roads in 1966. After analyzing its sturdy design, it was evident that this model didn't have the classic muscle car appearance. While the two feet of cargo room and folding rear seats were strong characteristics, the only engine offered was a V8. A two-door car, the first generation Charger fit four passengers.

The competitiveness of the automobile market additionally made it harder for this car to have successful sales. While the Dodge Charger was up for sale at the affordable price of $3, 122, the car's rivals, the Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro, achieved greater success due to their higher-quality capabilities.  A 318 cubic inch V8 wasn't robust and couldn't outperform other cars with stronger engines.

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The 1968-1970 Dodge Charger

A black 1968 Dodge Charger stands parked on a road.
Via: Partsopen

Production for the second-generation Dodge Charger meant departing from the polished look that characterized previous models and ushering in a new line of cars that featured sleek designs. This model turned heads, as drivers said hello to covered headlights and circular taillights. Owners now possessed a car that had an extended length of five inches. A 3.7-liter inline six-cylinder was launched, another crucial trait that made this car distinct from the previous model. 426 horsepower meant this car was unstoppable while on the road. Both the front and back of this car had a more pronounced curve than the first-generation Charger. Dodge premiered 96,000 Chargers in 1968.

The cultural impact was another example of how this model outshined the previous one and left a greater legacy. A black 1968-1970 Dodge Charger was the treasured car of character Dominic Toretto in the Fast & Furious movies, and the 1968 movie Bullitt featured the Charger in a chase around San Francisco.  A 1969 Dodge Charger made an appearance in the TV series The Dukes of Hazzard. With a presence in American films and noticeable improvements, the second-generation Dodge Charger pushed itself to the forefront of the automobile industry and was notably different from its predecessor.

RELATED: 1968 Dodge Charger “Bullitt” Car Is Up For Sale

The 1971-1974 Dodge Charger

The interior of a 1971 Dodge Charger.
Via: Hotrod

A new decade meant introducing new components and bringing attention to security. Safety was paramount, as the car was changed to pass the 1971 safety protocols. This model was different from the ones manufactured in the 1960s because it was equipped with a split grill, fastback rear window, and a ducktail spoiler. The car's length and wheelbase were further shortened. In the 1972 car, a 383 engine was exchanged for a new 400 cubic inch motor. Owners could choose between a three-speed automatic or three-speed manual transmission. Horsepower plummeted from 350 to 280.

Upon examining the 1971 Charger, it was apparent that the car has a more rounded shape than its previous counterparts. The 1973 model also had larger windows.

The 1975-1978 Dodge Charger

A 1975 Dodge Charger is parked on a road.
Via: CarGurus

Move over, Ford Thunderbird. The fourth-generation Dodge Charger reflected a major turning point, as the car now demonstrated grandeur. The car's length was extended by 10 inches. While this Charger still had the hallmark features of a muscle car- two-doors and a V8 engine-, it was now promoted as a personal luxury car due to its elegant exterior. In addition to the longer length, the fourth-generation Charger had more defined lines than the 1966 model.

The Dodge Charger's rebranding from a muscle car in the 1960s to a personal luxury car in the 1970s was proof of consumers' changing attitudes: A stylish car that offered comfort had a greater appeal to Americans than a car recognized for its fast acceleration. Engine power was reduced, as horsepower was now 225. The demand for personal luxury cars resulted in more competitors for the Dodge Charger, as the Pontiac Grand Prix and Oldsmobile Toronado were sold at this time.

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