Here’s a rare variety for you Charger fans, provided to us courtesy of Chris Green. While the Charger SE was not new in 1972, the roof treatment was. It may also have the distinction of being the largest C-pillar on an automobile.
The 1971 Chargers were all new, and this year they were the only option in mid-sized Dodge coupes. While in the 1968-70 period the Charger was essentially a Coronet with special sheetmetal (but what sheetmetal!), in 1971 Coronets were limited to sedan and station wagon models.
As a result, you could get a plain-Jane Charger with hubcaps, a bench seat, and fixed B-pillars. At the other end of the spectrum was the SE, which, as before, was the fanciest model. It included hidden headlights in a special grille and a flossier interior, among other niceties. The Charger R/T and Super Bee rounded out the two door lineup, and the Hemi made its last appearance.
In 1972 the SE received a unique roof treatment, with an extremely wide C-pillar and a tiny vertical quarter window. As insurance premiums were taking the wind out of the sails of the muscle car era, the Broughamized Charger sold better in its formal roofed version, with 22,430 ’72 SEs compared to 15,811 ’71s.
I had forgotten about the one year only ’72 until I saw this very nice example on the Cohort. One thing that impressed me was its originality. These days, you rarely see a Charger that isn’t in a High Impact color, and although this color may be more suited to a Monaco four door hardtop, I’m sure it is the original color.
With its new roof, the SE looked an awful lot like a 3/4 scale Thunderbird or Mark IV. But this is a Mopar, so they were probably thinking Imperial, right? Inside, high back bench seats were standard, but you could still get buckets and a console. Somewhat contrasting with the formal roof and pinstriping were standard Rallye gauges and optional Tuff steering wheel. But that’s not all! On top of the SE package, you could get a Brougham interior package, shown in the brochure picture above. Why? Because it was the ’70s, that’s why!
One thing I found neat was the building behind this car; it’s approximately the same vintage as this Charger. If it wasn’t for those pesky modern cars in the lot, this could have been taken from an episode of The Rockford Files.
As the Seventies waded ever deeper into the Great Brougham Epoch, those wild and crazy Chrysler landau roof engineers came up with an even more Broughamful top treatment, although the nifty hidden headlights disappeared for 1973.
The Charger SE would continue in this form until 1975, when Dodge dropped all pretense of sportiness and changed the Charger into a carbon copy Cordoba, complete with opera windows and velour seating. The Charger would never be quite the same.
I would like to see someone do the glass to metal ratios for the “greenhouse” areas of modern cars and classic cars. I think a few modern sedans might have this Charger beat in blind spot. Heck the current Charger might even trounce it.
If the beltlines get any higher on these new cars, the rear window will become a sunroof and the side windows will disappear altogether.
At least the blind spots were behind you then!
I never cared that much for the roofline on the 71-72 Charger. This version may be the best looking of that whole batch. But for 1973, the basic roofline was revised and it became the best looking of all of the B bodies, particularly without the SE treatment.
Agreed – all of these now seem to be orange or lime green. Not too many left in this color, which appears to be the same color as my 71 Scamp – “Tawney Gold Metallic.” I always wondered what they had to do to gold to make it tawney.
i was thinking that is one of the ugliest colors I can remember. Hate the 72 Color choices, after The Wild Colors of the previous 4 years.
that brown-green with Gold flecks reminds me of something you might find sold, by the g, in a coffeeshop in Amsterdam. not a color I want to see a 3,000 lb. metal work of art in.
this Car is directly related to the 74 Coronet Wagon, that was my first time behind the wheel.
A High School freind OF A freind…who drove a year before us, had a 75 Charger, that had been … emasculated it seemed, seemed more like a base Fury, But It Was NEW, and He liked To follow random cars For cruising kicks so… 5 of us would see Where ” Random Cool cars Were Headed until They Got P–sed off or home… when you don’t have your own car, you do what The Guy who saved his After School Job Money For A Car, wants to do.
i Rem thinking WHY the 75 Charger—? but i mostly kept my mouth shut about it.
I had that dark gold on my 71 Scamp for about 5 years, and I must admit that it kind of grew on me. For some reason, the dark greens and golds were extrememly durable colors. Even junkyard cars always had a good shiny finish, while a lot of the blues and other colors of even well kept cars would lose their shines. A little wax on mine and it always shined like a new car, despite years of sitting outside.
I swear I had the exact same color on my ’72 Dart (4-door, black vinyl top, cream interior), it didn’t age well. Over time, it looked more and more like a big pile of poop!
Love the contrast to the Nissan Cube; what a perfect example of how much has changed in forty years. Could anyone have predicted that in 1972?
Well, it sure Isn’t a flying car. I think in 1972 I was still trying to picture how that was going to fly.
I really like That Nissan at Least HAS The Leaf, the Juke, and the Cube. There are not enough unique cars out there right now IMO.
If I had a drivers license in the early 1970s, the first thing I would do is take my new Charger down on the beach and then stand next to it in a suit and tie with a hot model for a Kodak moment. Isn’t that what everybody did back then?
Now that’s living.
Me, I would have driven to the field where the yellow weeds are. Maybe I would even unbolt the seat and set it on the ground next to the car so that I could sit down and gaze at whatever.
Those look rather like wild oats. Subliminal advertising?
Yes JP, a fine choice indeed for the discriminating connoisseur of vinyl thrones.
The finest in American grown naugahyde from the heartland of Americas Nauga-belt.
They were so late for that wedding reception because of Bob’s goofing off on the beach.
When I think of chargers I don’t think of this car. I didn’t care much for the 66 (IIRC) but I sure did the next edition.
Paul beat me to it on this, but – how did you get the picture of my cube? Did you go photoshop? Don’t remember being there. I love the contrast and despite my love for old metal I wouldn’t trade the cube for the charger. It just goes and goes. Tell me it’s an appliance if you want. I love my refrigerator and AC too.
The tie-in: the Cube throwback could be the optional shag carpet piece that you can get on the dashboard, no?
I was reading the copy on the brochures. A 318 with a three on the tree manual tranny? A 150 mph speedometer? What were these guys smoking?
The base 71 Charger took the place of the Coronet coupe, so thats why it had the 3 on the tree, which no dealer ordered. In ‘good old days’ base models were stripped bare to the bones.
I’ll agree with you on that. My Dad and I went to the new car show in ’74 in San Francisco. It seemed that the then “high MPG” model cars from everyone was displayed at the show. And being recession ’74, all of their “economy” models were strippers. I remember seeing on display a ’74 Duster . . . as “GSA” plain as could be; no radio (blank out plate), rubber floor mats, taxicab vinyl base seats, three on the three . . . dog dish wheel covers. Ditto an AMC Gremlin at that same show . . . basic Nova . . . Pinto . . . . etc. Would agree most dealers didn’t order those cars, but this trend seems to continue today at car shows I attend, only now it’s usually full size trucks (Silverados with roll up windows, rubber floor mats).
This lets Everyone Know The ENTRY price is not as high as the cars ON THE LOt would have you believe.
My Dad only Took me once, The Year That Town Car Became a Key Buzz featured package on the Lincoln. 1970?
In all fairness, He may have taken me to one or two more Car Shows, but Not in NYC – 13 miles from home, he hated THE city from he-l he called it… I decided at 13 I was old enough to go in by myself…for better or worse, I’m Still standing.
I Loved all The Big Limos and Pimp Cars I’d see too Purple Cabrilolet Eldoradoes
I remember the Models like Pontiac T-37s that you’d only see at the car Show. Shiny new Ford Custom 500s, The Bel Air’s last hurrah, or that shiny NEW Belvedere… wow, Now it’s a Satelight!
A friend had a 1974 Road Runner, which had the same body, that was a 340 three-speed car. I parked beside it with my 1980 Firebird once, and the two cars were within an inch or two in most dimensions, with very similar bucket-seat-and-console interior layouts. It was fascinating how two cars could be so similar and one of them look so much better than the other.
What’s the difference between the “coupe” and the “hardtop”? Was the tiny glass divider fixed? I can’t tell from the brochure photo. If it was, why?
The early Roadrunners came in both pillarless and post options – the post with a pop-out window, like the 1969-70 Mustangs.
Good question, Zackman. Not sure about Charger, but in ’70 and ’71 I remember the Challenger “Deputy” – a stripper Challenger that had fixed side windows, so perhaps the Charger may or may not have had them – I suspect perhaps not. I remember seeing a Challenger Deputy on a used car lot around 1976. Orange, whitewalls and full wheel covers, but the slant six, manual steering and brakes and a 3-speed on the floor.
I did like the ’73 and ’74 SE’s. Neighbors down the street had one. White vinyl roof over black, which back in the ’70s, looked all right. Rallye wheels and WSW’s. I suspect a 318 car as I saw one puny tailpipe sticking out under the rear valance. And of course, this was California, so in ’74, probably the only available option was the 360 four barrel. BTW, I did like the ’76 and ’77 Charger, but only with the “Daytona” appearance option. RSW tires, rallye wheels and the darker contrasting color on the fender bulges. That looked cool – the regular ’75-’77s did not – Cordoba’s kid brother.
“With its new roof, the SE looked an awful lot like a 3/4 scale Thunderbird or Mark IV.”
Some models of the 1971 Thunderbird had a very wide C-pillar that may have been wider than the Charger (see attached picture and link).
Now thats a thick C-pillar.
The back windows do not roll down – same idea as the Challenger Deputy mentioned. There is no fixed pillar, per se, just the chrome divider same as the hardtop. Plymouth similarly had a Satellite Coupe vs. the hardtop Sebring.
Now that’s sad. How much weight and money did that save? I wonder…
Real Chargers were made in 71 just not in the US fastest 6 cylinder car anywhere. as seen on the cohort
Faster than a Porsche 911? Jaguar XJ 220? Acura NSX? BMW M3?
I saw it Bryce; awesome. I’d write it up if I felt I was up to it. Are you? Care to take it on? Let me know. I’d edit it for you 🙂
You are more than capable Paul I found this at the local vintage car club while I was aquiring Hillman parts the unlucky guy who owns it apparently has 2 genuine R/T Chargers rare cars now and rather valuable.
Fastest at the time – Sports Car World magazine recorded 0-100mph in 14.1sec, 3sec faster than a 911S at 17.1sec. It would take the 911 RS to be quicker. Not sure that any other 6cyl car of the era would be quicker.
Love the picture of the less than happy family by the brown(of course) Coronet sedan,
Dad: “Dont worry kids, the tow truck should be here soon”
Kids:”Daddy why are those vultures looking at us?”
Wifey:”That pack of wolves aint going away either…..”
“Daaaaaad, you promised after last time that you would buy an extra ballast resistor.”
Dad is this Disney World?
Yes it is sweethart……..
Ha! Emmys all around, guys.
Nice. I am awaiting the arrival of mine among a bunch of parts from JCW. Apparently a ballast resistor in the glovebox wards off evil spirits. 🙂
I like the clean styling….of the Leonis Malburg Building.
When I first met my future in-laws, they had a ’72 Coronet sedan in that same awful brown color. The car probably had a vinyl roof too, but I can’t remember for sure. Their other car was a basic ’74 Plymouth Duster, also brown. The Duster didn’t have a vinyl roof, because I remember my father-in-law dragging his briefcase across the roof, leaving behind some very obvious scratches!
Sorry, but this version of the Charger coupe was hideous looking.
Funny how cars can look like animals. The Wolseley from the other day looks like a happy hedgehog. The ’71-72 Charger looks like an angry anteater.
Make mine a Satellite Sebring, thanks.
Lol, very true!
In 1976, my one brothers bought a mint 1971 Charger Coupe from an older couple whose son never came back from Viet Nam. The car only had 10K or 12K miles on it, it was like brand new. IIRC, it had the 340/auto, light gold paint with the black vinyl half roof above the driver and passenger seats, white interior and the piece de resistance, an 8 track tape player. Additionally, it had the wheel covers from a 1966 Charger, the ones with the fake knock offs. I wish I had photos of it, it was one sharp car.
He drove it for a couple of years, but he did not take care of it and it developed some rather expensive problems. He traded it on a 1978 Mercury Zephyr ESS, which was a POS. Unfortunately, at that time, it was considered normal if your car had problems, so he just hung on to it until he couldn’t stand it any longer. That took about six years.
I still am a huge fan of this generation of Mopar B body, for obvious reasons. I can still remember the summer of ’76, cruising around in that Charger, with the 8-track blaring and the V8 burbling at stop lights. Good times.
Yes, there was something in the water. Probably bad acid.
The cars were ugly. The architecture was worse. Unfortunately, 1970s architecture blights the landscape a lot longer than the cars, and never achieves camp status.
At this side of the globe, the widest C-pillar award went to the mid-70s Ford Landau. I was born around the same time it was, so missed its early years, but the Landau was still widely d̶e̶r̶i̶d̶e̶d̶ admired throughout the 1980s. Glass of course weighs more than metal, so the Landau was actually an early attempt at an eco-luxury car. Except they were based on the XA Falcon coupe, with a metal fillet welded over the rear part of the Falcon’s side window, so buyers got metal hiding glass within. Sadly, the 1971 Thunderbird posted above means the Landau, much to Ford Australia’s chagrin, can never hope to hold the global award for widest C-pillar. But they are proud that the top two places go to the ‘family’, and hold begrudging respect for the well-deserved bronze awarded to the ’72 Charger SE.
As much as I like the Chargers from this era I think the Satellite looked better(especially the 71-72 with the Marvin the Martian front end).
Remove the vinyl roof and interior sail panels and you’ll find tthat they all have the same first year C-piller. All the different roofs, appearance-wise, was a smoke and mirrors show done with what the industry calls window “plugs”.
one of my biggest regrets of the 80s…my dad called me into the house and told me i have 24hrs to get that “blue car” out of his garage… i got some jumper cables and asked my 16yo younger brother to follow me. i drove my 73 charger to the town dump, left the keys in it and took the plate. The dump was closed so i parked it in front of the main gate and had my bro take me home. An hour later i came to my senses and had a friend drive me back to the car.It was gone. I never saw it again.
Bob New Haven, Ct.
I had one of these from ’72 to ’85. It was F8 Green and had the good (for CA) 400-255 net if I recall, buckets, console/slap stick. Rallyes, PS, Power Discs, Rallye susp., Rallye dash, A/C, Am/Fm. It was a great car! The handling was quite neutral with the rear bar, and I had fitted 245-60-15 T/As to the Rallyes and KYB shocks. When it needed a valve job we had Top Fuel racer Mike Kuhl do the heads with a nice 3-angle valve job, and surfaced them .030″ for a little more C.R. (should have done .050″ to .060″)! Full 2.5″ exhaust with super turbos and cross-over. Re-curved the dist and went through the ThermoQuad, built the trans with an 11″ 2500 stall converter and Trans Go TF2. Later we swapped the factory dual plane and TQ to an Ed. DP4B and 750 AFB. It had 2.76s, so it eased down the track at OCIR in the 14s and mid 90s, but it would bury the calibrated 150 speedo. Dropping the nose a bit with the T-bars helped the aero-esp stability at high speed-very stable on the top end. But that blind spot… Yeah, you check both mirrors, lean all the way forward and then all the way back looking over your shoulder and go back to the mirrors as you merge right-it’s not bad at all merging left. Wish we still had it, and lots of others-but seeing the future is an even bigger blind spot.