The Dodge Charger prototype was on the automotive showroom circuit by 1965 to gauge the public’s response to another class of personal luxury muscle car. The new Charger had a fastback and racing stripes that gave the car a sporty look, which did arouse public interest.
The Charger is on the Chrysler Coronet “B” body platform and uses many of the same components. The luxurious mid-sized AMC Marlin and the Dodge Charger both sport a radically long rear window, a fastback, setting a new course for the rest of the industry to follow, should it chose to. This new model was aimed as direct competition with, not only the smaller pony class Mustang and the two-seated Thunderbird, but also to the Plymouth Barracuda. The first generation Charger became available to the public late in the spring of 1966 and stayed the same through 1967.
The second-generation Charger, produced from 1968 until 1970, was, in the opinion of many, one of the most well designed and appealing vehicles ever made. These cars are among the most coveted muscle cars ever produced. For the ’69 model year, the base Charger had a 383-cubic-inch (6.7L) engine, which could have either a two-barrel carburetor that produced 290 hp or the four-barrel version, which developed 300 hp. The distinctive pie plate air cleaner displayed the 383/four barrel and identified this option, which was unique to the Charger for this one year only.
In ’69, if you chose the Charger RT, you could have the Magnum 440-cubic-inch (7.2L) engine with a four-barrel for 375 hp (279.5 kW) or the 426-cubic-inch (7.0L) Hemi engine with two four-barrel carburetors developing 425 hp (317 kW). For five more horsepower an “un-silenced” air cleaner was an option, and this particular version differed internally from the other 383 Magnum power plant in the Super Bee or the RoadRunner.
The two 383 engines used different valve springs, and had unique cam profiles, while the Magnum version also had a windage tray in the oil pan. Both engines used the same Carter AVS carburetors and sported the same exhaust manifolds as the larger 440 Magnum engines. There were five engines available for the Charger from the 225-cubic-inch six up to the 440-cubic-inch V8s that could couple with either of two three-speed automatic transmissions Also available was a three- or a four-speed to cover the two standard shifting options. Generally, all 1969 B series engines were turquoise, but both the Magnum power 440 choices and the 335 hp 383 were “Street Hemi Orange.”
For 1969, the Charger R/T had a revised grille with a divided center with horizontally configured taillights. There was a new trim option on the table in the form of the Special Edition or the SE, which could be ordered on its own for any Charger, including the RT. The SE package added front seat leather inserts, wood grain dash/steering wheel, and chromed rocker covers. There was also a seldom-seen option of a sunroof with only 260 units so equipped originally.
The bumblebee stripes were back, but slightly revised with one broad stripe between two narrower ones running down each rear quarter panel from the trunk lid. There was an R/T cutout in the center of the stripe and middle of the fender, or, if the stripe was deleted, then a metal R/T logo is in its place. The General Lee is a ’69 Charger used in the television series The Dukes of Hazzard, which ran from 1979 to 1985. The car had a confederate flag on the roof with 01 painted on each door and a horn that played Dixie. There were 89,199 Charger units produced in 1969.
The Sunbeam Tiger was partly designed by Carol Shelby working with the Rootes Group and their British Designed Sunbeam Alpine Roadster. The image is a Mark I version made from 1964 through to 1967. Under the hood of the Tiger is an an American Ford designed 260 cu in (4.3 L) V8 coupled to a Ford manufactured 4 speed manual transmission.
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After a five year hiatus from passenger cars the hemispherical engine is revived-in the second generation (G2) by Chrysler in 1964 and is sold as “The Hemi” which is now a trademark of the corporation. This newly released 426 cu in engine is large and heavy as well. It comes by the moniker of the “elephant’ honestly. The engine has a tall deck-at 10.72 inches (272.3 mm) with bore spacing of 4.80 inches (121.9 mm) and formidable width as well, a large engine compartment is needed to accommodate the size. This power plant is also pricey by comparison for the day so there were only 11,000 of them manufactured. The Plymouth Belvedere raced with this engine under the hood on NASCAR circuits in 1964. I n 1965 the engine was not allowed on NASCAR circuits because there were too few units available in showrooms. The engine became more widely available to the public for the 1966 model year when the street version is introduced which allowed the power plant to again be seen on NASCAR tracks.
The complexity of the valve train makes this hemispherical engine expensive to produce but it does improve the power plants high RPM respiration in any production automobile. NASCAR mandates only two valves are allowed in each cylinder but by increasing the angle of the valves in relation to the piston the valve size can be increased significantly. The configuration also allows room for additional valves to be added.
The 426 hemi is oversquare; the bore is 4.25 inches with a 3.75 inch (95.3 mm) stroke which immediatly made it a desirable power plant for the NHRA drag racing tracks. It is also an easy engine easy to bore to sizes unattainable with other blocks of this time period, Stroked and blueprinted this is the engine to best in all segments of funny car and top fuel racing. The track version often has a roots supercharger mounted on the intake, duel exhaust pipes, and can be powered by nitromethane.
The street hemi 426 engine was widely available for most high performance and high end Dodge or Plymouth models from 1965 until 1971. The engine was also available as a power option for the Dart in the 1968 model year if you could afford it although this car was not street legal. There was a prototype also made called the Monteverdi Hai 450 SS with the 426 hemi under the hood. The car was built to be in direct competition with Lamborgihini, Ferrari, and Maserati. The original production called for 49 units to be built when unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show in 1970 but production was halted after only two units were produced. The street hemi is much different than the conventional wedge headed big block version including the main bearing caps and the bolt pattern of the heads. The racing 426 hemi and the street edition sported different compression ratio, camshaft, both intake and exhaust manifolds as well as many lesser parts are also not the same. Some of the racing units in the ‘60’s integrated magnesium cross-ram air intakes and magnesium oil pans for the dry sump oiling system in an attempt to cut down the overall weight. Most aftermarket parts today-including pistons, con rods, heads and blocks are often made of aluminum.
Out of the showroom the 426 would produce 425 bhp (316.9 kw) gross and develop 472 lb-ft (640 Nm) of torque although real world testing rate the engine as producing 433.5 hp. The sales brochures in 1971 give the gross 425 hp (317 kw) with the net figures of 350 hp (261 kw) shown as well.