Cars & Racing | 24 July 2015The 1966 Charger and Its Spoiler Share article facebook twitter google pinterest The 1966 Charger’s fastback sure looked the part. It’s just that, when a Charger of that vintage went really, really fast—like over 150 miles per hour on NASCAR super speedways—the aerodynamic effect of its huge, sloping rear window tended to make the back end of the car get much, much lighter. Something had to be done about that, or the Charger’s first year in NASCAR would be a disaster. We found out what that solution was in this excerpt from Charger, Road Runner & Super Bee, by James Manning Michels. Here’s a 1967 Charger that came with the factory-installed, NASCA R-inspired spoiler. If you squint your eyes just right, you can just make out a Coronet’s rear end. Source – Mike Mueller / Charger, Road Runner & Super Bee. Spoiler Alert Luckily, a search for the solution was already underway. For unrelated reasons, halfway through the 1965 NASCAR season, Chrysler design principal Russ Shreve had hired aerodynamicist Jim Amick to conduct wind-tunnel tests to determine the efficacy of rear-mounted aerodynamic devices. “The divergence speed for a given combination of spring rates can be increased indefinitely by the installation of a horizontal airfoil at the rear of the vehicle,” Amick concluded. “A convenient place for such a stabilizer might be above the rear deck. An airfoil of 15-inch chord mounted 20 inches about the rear deck and spanning the full width of the car would probably provide complete aerodynamic stability.” Amick’s report would eventually make its way to Jim Hall, co-founder of the Texas-based Chaparral Cars racing team. There’s no denying the Charger was a striking car when it was introduced. Its trademark car-wide taillight would make a triumphant return about four decades later. Source – Mike Mueller / Charger, Road Runner & Super Bee First, though, Dodge made use of the money Chrysler spent on the wind tunnel tests. The Charger’s first spoiler wasn’t as radical as the one Amick suggested—that would come later on the Charger Daytona—but it cured the 1966 car’s high-speed handling problems. Suddenly, all the other NASCAR teams wanted a spoiler to see if it could help them keep up with the newly competitive Dodges. The thing was, Dodge had developed the spoiler first, then made the Charger the first U.S. production car to offer it. Dodge’s public relations department even sent Hot Rod some photos of a Charger having a spoiler installed on the assembly line, just to prove it was a legitimate option available to anyone who bought a Charger with a Hemi in it. Well, Dodge proved it to Hot Rod. Cover your eyes now if you don’t yet want to know if NASCAR was convinced. It was. Charger, Road Runner & Super Bee: 50 Years of Chrysler B-Body Muscle Author: James Manning Michels From the Charger to the Road Runner and Super Bee, through the Shelby era, and to the 21st century Charger, don’t miss a single moment of Chrysler’s 50 years of muscle car dominance. In 1966, a proper muscle car roared onto the market: the Dodge Charger, the first Chrysler product designed specifically for the baby-boom market. Within a couple of model years, the Charger went from stodgy to sexy, so much so that it became a darling of film and television, appearing in many of the hit cult films produced by the maverick breed of filmmakers taking over Hollywood at the time. Even more important than the Charger were the B-Body muscle cars it spawned, especially the Plymouth Road Runner, which became one of the most popular muscle cars of the era. Dodge followed with a similar performance car, the Super Bee. Charger, Road Runner & Super Bee: Fifty Years of Chrysler B-Body Muscle tells the entire B-Body story, from the original Dodge Charger through the popular Charger being sold today. The glory years of 1966â€“1971 are the focus, but the years between then and now are covered as well. During that time, the Charger first became a personal luxury car swaddled in Fine Corinthian Leather, then a hot hatchback imbued with the great Carroll Shelby’s mojo. Charger’s triumphant return to form beginning in 2006 wraps up this compelling, 50-year story of one of America’s great performance cars and its siblings. Buy from an Online Retailer Share article facebook twitter google pinterest If you have any comments on this article please contact us or get in touch via social media.