The beloved Dodge Charger has come in varying shapes and sizes since it first hit production in the '60s. Despite its evolution, though, the well-loved car still goes down as a fan favorite. Why? 'Cause it is bad-ass.
The design and engineering that went into the earlier models helped to further inspire creativity among American muscle manufacturers -- the cars themselves went on to break numerous speed and track records. They often seem to be the vehicle-of-choice for characters in movies too, and it's understandable as to why. Take a look below for the 10 most bad-ass Dodge Chargers manufactured throughout the years.
10 1981 Dodge Charger 2.2
In the '80s, the Dodge Charger came back. Chrysler released a few L-bodied cars in the late '70s and brought back the plate as the Charger 2.2, a performance model of the Omni 024. For an extra 400 bucks, buyers got the then-trademark hood scoop, special gearing, and 84 HP from a .2 L 14 Volkswagen engine built in-house at Chrysler.
While not as visually stunning as its counterparts, the car marked the iconic return of the Charger, with the same commitment to performance as older models. Only 7,306 were ever built.
9 1983 Dodge Charger, Chrysler/Peugeot Engine
1983 was a big year for the Charger. After the Volkswagen model was discontinued, Chrysler partnered with Peugeot for their 1983 model to make a joint 1.6 L engine. It was also the same year that the popular Omni 24 was given the full name of Charger, no longer being known as just the performance model.
Owning a Dodge Charger became much more affordable afterward. For anyone who couldn't afford the luxury, a companion vehicle was introduced called the Plymouth Turismo. Later in the year, Carroll Shelby, the world-renowned car designer, began working on a range of new models with Chrysler, starting with the Dodge Shelby Charger.
8 1985-1987 Shelby Chargers
The Chargers between '85 and '87 were much more impressive and highly regarded, owing to Shelby's involvement. The first model of the period was fitted with a turbocharged engine and new color schemes were made available.
Now with the Shelby Charger in full swing, the Dodge Charger models had the option for using the Shelby engine, allowing for greater performance in the less enhanced models. By 1987, an even more exclusive model, the Shelby Charger Turbo was introduced and was fitted with a mean 174 hp Turbo II engine. Only around 2000 of these were up for grabs.
7 2019 Charger
Putting aside the classics for a few moments, Dodge's 2019 Charger is a true display of performance and ingenuity, which is probably what makes it the pursuit vehicle of choice for numerous police departments throughout the states.
While the standard engine comes with up to 300 HP, which is already far more than the earlier models, the R/T model pumps that up to 485. The Supercharged V8 Hellcat engine lends a ridiculous 707. There's a lot to be said for the '80s models, but many of them can't compete with the tenacity of the more recent.
6 1966 Charger
The 1966 model was where it all began. All models since the 1966 Dodge Charger owe their style, performance, and stance in the market to this vehicle. Though sales started out low, the first Charger model acted as a landing pad for the models that followed.
Everything about this car, from the engine to the aesthetic, became a reference point for the next generation of Chargers that went on to be immensely popular, most of which came very shortly after this one.
5 1970 Charger
The 1970 Charger wasn't a popular one. Sales weren't exactly great and didn't come close to what they made on the more-popular models from the late '60s. Looking back at it now, however, it's certainly one of the cooler, most-customizable models ever released.
The 1970 model was longer than its predecessors, but like the others, it came in different models. All were fitted with spoke wheels and unique door paneling, but the Charger 500, R/T and SE offered features like bucket seats, auto-transmission, and more. Though it wasn't all that popular back in the day, it's a collector's favorite now and has even appeared in movies like Fast and Furious.
4 1969 Charger
Most commonly referred to as General Lee, the 1969 Charger is likely one of the most cherished because of its TV affiliation -- as its most famously driven in The Dukes of Hazzard. Though hundreds were destroyed in the making of the show, a lot of passionate fans of both The Dukes of Hazzard and Dodge Chargers have a natural gravitation towards the 1969 model.
It's not surprising, given that as a follow on from the '68, it inherited a lot of its popularity due to the similarity in both style and performance.
3 1968 Charger
The 1968 Charger is a true favorite, next to General Lee, of course. Just like the 1969 Charger, the 1968 model has also featured in several movies, like Blade, Blade 2, and Roadrunner. The '68 and '68 R/T are some of the most commonly collected Chargers, with many available on the internet for purchase at a given time.
It's often the most customized too. It took on a coke-bottle appearance following the 1967 model, which is one component that apparently led to its greater success and higher regard among US muscle cars.
2 1969 Charger 500
Another of Dodge's meanest Chargers has to be 1969's 500. Just like the 1969 Charger Daytona, the 500 was built to contend ferociously on the speedway track. The very first prototype of the Charger 500 was made with a 1968 Charger R/T, yet another legend among the portfolio.
It underwent plenty of modifications over the years to make it more suitable to compete. While a lot of improvements were made, it was not too effective on the track. It's probably because of this failure that the next Charger was created.
1 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona
Likely the most bad-ass and well-respected Dodge Charger is the 1969 Daytona. Known mostly for its 2-foot, in-your-face spoiler, the Daytona was born out of a failure to complete on the NASCAR and speedway tracks. Luckily for Dodge, that's exactly what the Daytona delivered.
It was known for breaking quite a number of NASCAR records, but probably the most important one is that just one year after its creation, the Dodge Charger Daytona, driven by Buddy Baker, became the first car on the NASCAR track to break 200mph in 1970 at Talladega, Alabama.