There was a lot of thought poured into the redesign of the second generation Dodge Charger. Initially, the Charger was merely a fastback version of its more sedan sibling, the Coronet. But as Chrysler was actively racing in NASCAR, seized the opportunity to turn the Charger into an aerodynamic dynamo, creating Dodge’s most stylized car to date.
The problem with the Charger on the Superspeedways was, ultimately, the very thing that it was designed for: aerodynamics. Styling Vice President, Elwood P. Engel, who boasted his love of automotive aerodynamics functionally knew very little of its properties. The ’68 Charger’s recessed grille, rear window and taillight alcove caused severe drag and needed to be quickly amended if the Charger was to remain competitive.
For the next year, Dodge introduced the Charger 500, a limited-count revision with a flush grille scavenged from a Coronet, A-pillar shields, a fastback rear window and wide, horizontal tail lights.
Dodge quickly re-equipped racers Buddy Baker, Bobby Allison and Bobby Isaac (as several others) with the new Chargers, who all went work eking out even more speed from the Coke-bottle shaped coupe. Long and angular, the second generation Charger never looks better than hauling at 175mph around the circle track, back when Stock Car racing meant stock car.
We absolutely LOVE this vintage film produced in late 1969, documenting the efforts of those men piloting the new Dodges. It’s definitely worth your time. Seriously, sit back, turn up the volume so you can hear the voices of NASCAR legends Cotton Owens and Mario Rossi and the high revving sounds of these “bathtub” intake-topped 426 HEMIs howling around the track at speed.
You know, if history class had been nearly as interesting as the video of those classic Chargers going the distance, we might have paid a little more attention in school. Check out part one here, and keep your eyes open for the next half to hit the web soon.