1973 DODGE CHARGER IN A NEW SKIN
While they look very similar to the ’71-72 early-3rd-generation Chargers, the 1973 model actually received all new sheetmetal from front to back. Even the roofline was changed. There was a new front grille, and hideaway headlights were no longer an option. And there were new vertically-slatted tail lights. All this work had been done partially to meet new 5mph crash safety standards required by law, both front and rear. Overall the ’73 was bigger by every dimension, it was longer, wider and taller, and heavier. These designs that were just now reaching the market had begun several years earlier, in very different times, when it was considered a ‘given’ that cars would get bigger and heavier and more powerful with each new model year. Things were already moving the other way. The imports had arrived and were gaining ground with ‘smaller, lighter, more economical’ cars and Detroit was going to have to wake up and smell the coffee, whether they wanted to or not. But for now, in 1973, these cars that were designed back in 1970 were still big and getting bigger.
1971 DODGE CHARGER OPTIONS
There was a new SE option that included a stylish (and novel) vinyl roof treatment that completely covered the rear quarter windows, leaving only 3 vertical louvers of glass to see through. The overall shape was very elegant and well-crafted. All other non-SEs got traditional rear quarter windows. Sales were fairly good by 1970s standards with some 108,000 Chargers sold, of which about 40% had (what they were calling) high performance engines. Engine choices were uninspiring. The 318 small block V8 was now standard. On Rallye-optioned cars only, there was a 340 small block available. Next up was a 2-barrel 360 small block V8. Then the new, 400 (formerly the 383), and 440 big blocks, each with 2 versions, one with 2-barrel and single exhaust the other with 4-barrel and dual exhaust.