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Concept Cars, Dodge, Muscle Cars

1964 Dodge Charger Concept

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No, that title is not a misprint.  There really was a Dodge Charger back in 1964 even though the classic muscle car wouldn’t really come into its own until 1966.  The 1964 Charger Concept paved the way though, and was designed to be the first vehicle to showcase Dodge and Chysler’s Hemi V8, even though that engine wouldn’t actually make it into this particular concept until 1999.

The 426 CID Hemi V8 hadn’t yet made it to production cars when the Charger Concept was designed.  There were only a handful of the engines in existence, all hand-built, and all in the possession of professional racing teams.  The Charger Concept was supposed to be the first publicly displayed show model to have the engine, but one of those racing teams blew their engine and needed a replacment immediately, so the Charger Concept got stuck with a 383 CID V8 from the Dodge Polara (on whose platform the Charger Concept was designed).  Fast forward to 1999, and a car collector came into possession of the original Charger Concept and then managed to track down one of the fifteen original 426 Hemis that could have been put in the car.  It may have taken 45 years, but the Charger Concept finally had its Hemi.

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While that is certainly an amazing story, the rest of the car is no less amazing.  Redesigned from the ground-up from a stock Dodge Polara, the Charger Concept represented some fairly radical thinking.  For example, the two-seater had a divider between the two front seats (which conveniently enough allowed the roadster to have a continuous racing stripe front-to-back), and the headrests were built into a body-wide roll bar.  The windshield was a small piece of glass angled just enough to push the wind over the heads of the driver and passenger.

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The Charger Concept was met with a lot of enthusiasm, leading to the creation of the Charger Concept II the following year, which was far more in line styling-wise with the Charger that would hit production lines in 1966.  And one final thing:  the original Hemi V8 that the collector put into the Charger Concept?  It pumped out 600 horsepower.  They just don’t make cars like that anymore.

Dodge Charger Pictures Gallery

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