1978 Dodge Charger Review

Feb 12, 2016 by Cedric (Driver Weekly)

Anyone familiar with classic cars knows that the Dodge Charger has a long history, spanning many decades. Not all drivers, however, realize just how long it took for the Charger to evolve to its current state. The 1978 Dodge Charger was the last model of the fourth generation, and the last version to be manufactured for several years.

End of a Generation


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When Dodge produced the 1978 Charger, their sales of this particular model were already lagging. Because of that, they only produced 2,800 units, making it a great challenge to find a 1978 Charger. The fifth generation of the Charger didn’t begin until 1982, meaning that 1978 was the last model for a few years. Since the fifth generation and the later sixth generation were very different from the fourth and earlier generations, 1978 is the last model of the Dodge Charger that looks close to the original models.

How It Ran

The 1978 Dodge Charger was essentially the same as the 1977 model. The SE trim came with a standard V8 engine 318. You could also upgrade to the 5.9-liter engine with 360 displacement or a 6.6-liter 400 engine, which worked with the 3-speed TorqueFlite automatic transmission. The 1978 Charger Daytona was available with the second or third of these engines.

What It Looked Like


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You could tell the trims apart since the Daytona had tape striping that reminded you of the racing origins of the Charger. The Charger had two doors and greatly resembled the Cordoba. It had the Cordoba’s slanted roof, rounded headlights, and rectangular grille. Like all other Chargers in the fourth generation, 1978 was a foot longer than earlier models, measuring 218 inches long. It still had the same wheelbase, suspension, and other structural elements. The nose’s round headlamps were just to the outside of the smaller, round turn signals. The bumpers were massive and the roofline was formal, with an over-styled deck lid.

Why Drivers Loved It

The earlier versions of the Dodge Charger, particularly the 1968 and 1969 models, were prized for power, appearance, and speed. By the 1978 Charger, drivers chose this vehicle over the others because of its dependability and long history.

Availability

Because of the small production, it can be harder to find a 1978 Dodge Charger than some of the other model years. A classic car collector with connections, however, should be able to, as long as they have the cash. To make it even harder to find, the fourth generation of the Charger was the least popular production. In fact, it will be easier to find a Charger from the previous decade than one from the mid- to late 70s.

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