Pic: Charger R/T 1973
The Brazilian Charger History
Logo Charger

   The first Charger was presented officially to the Brazilian public in 1970. Launched as a 71 model , it offered from the Dart on the aggressive style and offered new optionals, becaming the best sport-car of the country. Two versions of this model had been presented: Charger (later called Charger LS) and Charger R/T. The LS was a version of bigger luxury with less sportivity. It offered: Manual 3 speed-shifter and power-steering, being able to get from factory all optionals of the R/T. The R/T (road and track) offered the full package, including a 4 Speed manual transmition, power-steering, power-brake disks, tachometer,Magnum wheels, , better interior finishings and seats. They get the stronger engine manufactured in the country at that time: The LA 318-V8 with 215 horses. (The Dart versions got 'only' 198hp). The Charger became the fastest car produced in Brazil, with 200 km/h of maximum speed.

       In 72 the Chrysler growed in the market of Sport-Cars, and brought up a little more changes. The model got a new interior, tail lights, and news sport-stripes covering the sides and roof. According to a magazine (QuatroRodas), it was again the "faster car of Brazil". The Charger became famous and desirable, but still with some problems, like irregular finishing.

 Happy with the sales, Chrysler modified the R/T again. In 73 it would have its bigger update made until then. The front was involved with a new grille, it gained a new hood (similar to US Dart GTS), new internal finishing with bucket seats and a new board. Back lights had been redesigned, and the car got new stripes either. Sufficiently differentiated of the previous models, the Charger got a lot more of fans. With the sales growing, the Ford launchs the Maverick GT 302-V8, and GM was trying to get a new performance for his Sport-Car, called Opala SS, with a L-6 engine. But nothing could be done... the Chrysler was growing more and more, with news advertising to the Charger model, even saying "A Sport-Car with less than 200 hp is a joke", the idea was make fun with the others models (GM-Ford) owners, because the Maverick (the second best sport car at that time) got only 199 hp. Everything on Charger leaves him in the top of his category. In the streets he was a success, but the car price was high, and the necessary use of a expensive high-octane gasoline conferred immediate status to the owner.

     For 74 it offered new lateral stripes, new Rallye wheels, new colors and the unknown one, until then, automatic transmission (Torqueflite 904) with shifter on floor. Other new developments in the part mechanics also were offered. The electronic ignition finally becames as standard equipment, offering better performance. The starter was also changed (was considered irritating for many, because of his sound). Comparative tests were made between Charger R/T and just launched Maverick GT. The numbers are always close, with small advantage of the Charger in the tests of accelerations and high-speeds. These models fight year after year trying to keep or take the title of "faster car of Brazil". Well, the things are going great, but the the first crisis of the Oil came... and the price of gasoline got higher and higher each day. All car factorys had soon been scared. The Charger had good sales, but it became to decay in the end of the year, only his fame keepping growing!

Charger R/T 1971
Charger R/T 1972
Charger R/T 1973
Charger R/T 1974

      For 75 the model was modified again, the stripes had been redesigned, it gained new back-lights, news trims and a new dash. Emerson Fittipaldi arrived and was invited, from a car magazine to test the model in the circuit of Interlagos. The pilot was impressed, he loved the engine, performance and all the style. After the race-test, he sad: "even compared with the North American models, the car is great". In the end of the test Emerson says: "If im living in Brazil, i would buy one". The advertising of Chrysler continued strong, trying to keep the car ahead of the competitors... At that time they say: "The Charger is the only sport-car that looks good and fills like a imported one (USA Mopar, for sure)". Tired to loose in the tests and streets, GM offered a new engine to Opala SS, and Brazil started to count with three good models in the market of sport-cars.
The Charger sales became to get lower with the lower prices of Maverick GT and Opala SS (being cheaper, about 25%) and the difficulty to find high-octane gasoline (Oil-crisis). The Chrysler continued to offer the car with a lot of optionals in the R/T keeping the engine the same. In this same year, the Charger got more changes: new interior, seats, stripes and colors. Everything to Keep the Dodge as a leader in his class.

      For 77 the Chrysler changed a few things on the engine: the high-octane gas was hard-to-find and the compression rate was reduced (8:4;1 for 7:5;1), being the same as the Dodge Dart models. However, its still with a double-exaust, generated 205 hp. Considerable changes would happen in the next year. The 78 model lost the famous hood (The US Dart GTS - roof), The vinyl-top was" reduced ", and called "las vegas" style, getting new side stripes either. Everything was to trasnform the car in a luxurious sport model. The engine still the same, with new carburetor tunning, for better gas-milleage. The performance still the great attraction, justifying the Road and Track emblem.

      After all, Chrysler change all models for 79, perhaps the deepest one occured until his launch. The R/T was totally restyled, gaining new front, new rear-end (similar to the US Dart Swinger) and paint in two color-tones. Less sportivity for more luxury. The new seats and interiorl finishings sufficiently differentiated him of the revious model. The Charger R/T started to lose his authenticity, even the tachometer had been removed of the panel. In the same year the Dodge Magnum also appeared, being the most luxurious car of Chrysler, and the more expensive of the line. In 1980 the corporate name of the Chrysler was changed to Volkswagen (market-fusion). The Dodge line, now from Volks, got little updates. The lack of interest of the VW soon was reflected, the Charger was loosing his style, sales and fame. The consumer was affraid to buy a new model, the gasoline was a considerable factor on buy, the rumors around the end of the Dodge line were constant. Result of this, only a few Chargers are sold on in this year. The end seemed next, the R/T had to be over. The next year would mark the end of the Dodge Line. The Volswagen stopped the production of Darts, Chargers and all A-Body based cars in Brazil. But its engines (318-V8) would continue to be produced to equip VW trucks.

      Today, the Charger keeps as a legend between the Brazilian Mopars fans. The aggressive style and its excellent performance, take him to the top of the desirable automobiles manufactured in the country.

Original Text : Ivan Resende - Dodge News

Charger R/T 1975
Charger R/T 1976
Charger R/T 1978
Charger R/T 1979

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