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24/09/2010 1263

Dodge [1] - Charger III

The Dodge Charger III was a 2-seat, 184-inch long, 42-inch high dream car that had concealed highlights, special rear airfoil, and taillights hidden under side flaps. At the push of a button, the canopy top rose up, the two-bucket seats elevated eight inches, and the steering wheel instrument cluster swung away. A periscope rear-view mirror was mounted in the top of the canopy. No engine was mentioned, but it was hinted that the 426 cubic inch Hemi V-8 would fit into the engine compartment.




The Charger III was the most aerodynamic car built by Chrysler Corporation.  The experimental car is long, low-slung, and sleek.  The Charger III is built upon the ideas learned in the development of it predecessor, the Charger II.  

The jet fighter styled Charger was designed in Dodge's styling studios, and constructed in secrecy at an old brick building along Detroit's water front.  The futuristic experimental design showcases new ideas that may be standard in the future Chrysler models.  

Dodge's general manager Robert B. McCurry stated, "Charger III is an idea car.  Or, it might better be called an exchange of ideas.  This experimental vehicle is our way of showing the public some of the design and engineering concepts which we have developed.  From the public, we learned what they would like (or not like) to see in tomorrow's automobile.  That is why we conduct special consumer surveys at auto shows.  Many of the features seen in Charger III might well be included in our cars in the not too distant future." 

The Charger III's body is painted with a custom "Candy Apple" red paint.  The Charger III has no doors or windows that open.  Instead, with the push of a button a jet aircraft style canopy swing up.   The twin bucket seats elevate eight inches while the steering wheel pod assembly swings away to aid in driver entry.   Once the driver is seated, another push of the button closes the canopy and return the steering wheel and seats to their proper orientation. 

The long tapered hood houses the concealed headlights and twin air scoops with debris shields.  As with the Charger II, the Charger III will accept any of the Dodge V8 engines including the 426 cu-in Hemi.  One of the Charger's experimental features include an engine service hatch.  The hatch is located at the rear of the driver's front fender.  The service hatch includes gauges that can quickly check the fluid level of the engine oil, engine coolant, and battery fluid.  The gauges replace the traditional dip-sticks, and aid in fast maintenance checks.  The hatch also houses the vehicle's electrical fuses.   

The rear of the Charger houses the experimental braking system.  Three air brake flaps are synchronized with the Charger's regular braking system and acts as a supplementary "air foil" brake.  Locked under the brake flaps are twin quick fill gas caps.  The rear finish panel houses the full width taillight system and the twin rectangular exhaust tips.

The interior of the Charger III is space craft inspired.  Astronaut style bucket seats have integrated head rests and quick release seat belts.  The full length center console houses the automatic transmission selector lever, parking brake lever, passenger assist handle, and onboard chemical fire extinguisher.  As with the Charger II, the Charger III has no vent windows.  Fresh air in brought through scoops at the base of the windshield canopy.  The fresh air circulates throughout the interior and is exhausted through rear vents.  

The lower left portion pf the canopy houses the integrated driver controls such as lighting, windshield washers, wipers, radio, heater, and air conditioning.  The driver's swing away instrument pod incorporates speedometer, tachometer, clock, and engine gauges.  All of the driver controls and swing away pod instrumentation are utilized from a standard 1968 Dodge Charger.  




Unlike the Charger II of 1965, with which the Dodge stylists tested the public's response to a planned, similarly styled production car, the 1968 Charger III styling study was not meant for large-scale production. Dodge did not intend to produce two-seater sports cars at the time. Instead, the Charger III served the purpose of presenting new styling elements and technical features, and it was "the aerodynamically most efficient car ever designed and built by Dodge," as the official announcement put it. An interesting feature: the complete cockpit roofing including the sides could be folded out and back again as in an aircraft cockpit.

DODGE CHARGER III, sleek, experimental two-seater, has no doors or windows that open. Jet-aircraft-type canopy swings open, steering wheel-instrument clusters pod moves up and out of way, and seats elevate to admit driver and passenger. Outside air enters driver-passenger are through scoops at base of windshield, circulates in  compartment and exhausts through rear bulkhead port.

CHARGER III, the most aerodynamic car ever conceived and built by Dodge, is an experimental two-seater only 42 inches high, 184 inches long, and 73 inches wide. Features include jet-aircraft-type canopy, swing-away steering wheel, elevating bucket seats, spoiler-type canopy, swing-away twin hood scoops supplement air entering engine compartment through grille. Side scoops ram cooling air to rear brakes.


1968  Chicago

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