The imaginative copy continued to emphasize the 1968-1969 Dodge Charger's ability to blow away the competition. Manual-shift fans were encouraged to imagine how the "four-speed box changes cogs with the precision of a sharp ax striking soft pine."
In other words, Dodge ads proclaimed exactly what America's sneering adolescents wanted to hear. "American guts" were promised, in a car "shaped like a Mach 2 jet on wheels."
Action matched the aggressive stance, too. A 440-Magnum Charger R/T could reach 60 in six and a half seconds or less. A Hemi might actually beat the five-second barrier, earning its $604.75 cost for those who appreciated such skills.
Front-disc brakes were still a $73 option, as was a tachometer at $48.70. Like some other muscle cars, Charger became a movie star, chased by Steve McQueen in Bullitt and playing against Elvis in Speedway.
A minor face-lift with split full-width grille wasn't the biggest news for 1969. More exciting was the emergence of the Charger name on two special models: the Hemi-powered Charger 500, built for competition; and the bullet-nosed Daytona with its far-above-the-crowd wing stabilizers, aimed at NASCAR racing.
A 500 sold for $3,860, the Daytona an even four grand. Most ordinary folks settled for a garden-variety Charger, an R/T, or new SE (Special Edition) with "leather-vinyl" front buckets and a sports-type steering wheel.
Take your R/T "to the strip where the men are," the ads suggested, where the Hurst shifter could be used to greatest advantage directing the power produced by either a Magnum or Hemi engine. Stepping downhill in scope, Chargers also came with six-cylinder engines in 1969.
Certainly, the restyled Charger ranked as one of the best-looking mid-size cars of the late 1960s: long and low, pleasingly rounded, headlights hidden again behind a simple grille. Car and Driver claimed that only the restyled Corvette challenged the Charger in the styling department, even pointing out rear-view similarities between the two.
Shoppers evidently flocked to the second generation in droves, too. Sales streaked to new heights, with 96,108 Chargers hitting the showrooms in 1968 and only 7,000 less in 1969. For sheer drama even when standing still, however, this notch-back hardtop with its semi-fastback roofline, even if NASCAR-inspired, lacked the panache of the initial fastback Charger.
But either example ranks as memorable American muscle today.
Continue reading to find out more about the 1968-1969 Dodge Charger specifications.