The 1971 Dodge Charger is the third generation Charger. The original Charger debuted in 1966 and was Dodge's first true performance car. Designed by Carl "Cam" Cameron, the 1966 model featured the famed "electric shaver" grille with rotating headlamps that when hidden gave the grille a single piece appearance that resembled an electric shaver. The interior featured four bucket seats with a console that stretched from the dashboard to the trunk divider behind the rear seats, according to Allpar.com.
The third generation Charger debuted with the 1971 model and was larger and rounder than the iconic "Coke-bottle style" 1968 to 1970 Chargers. Designed by Dodge chief stylist Bill Brownlie, the 1971 model featured a restyled split grille and rounded "fuselage" body. The unique hidden headlamps were now an option instead of standard equipment, but a "Ramcharger" hood could be ordered as an option. The cockpit was restyled. The rear window was fashioned into a semi-fastback configuration that flowed into the rear deck and ended in an integrated duck tail spoiler.
The 1971 Dodge Charger was offered in six models: the base model, a hardtop, the 500, the SE, the R/T and the Super Bee, which replaced the Dodge Coronet Super Bee. The 500 SE was the Charger luxury model and the Charger 500 Super Bee was the performance model. The R/T was the top-of-the-line appearance/performance package model.
Under the Hood
The Charger's standard engines were the modest 145-horsepower 225-cubic-inch slant six-cylinder or the 230-hp 318-cubic-inch V-8. The R/T was equipped with a 370-hp 440 Magnum Six-Pack V-8 or the legendary 426 Hemi. The 500 started with the 318 but any of the V-8s were available as an option. The standard powerplant on the Super Bee was the 275-hp 383-cubic-inch V-8, but the horsepower could be boosted to 300. The 383 was complemented by a floor-mounted three-speed manual transmission. The Super Bee could be ordered with the optional 440 or 426 Hemi.
Only 5,045 Dodge Charger Super Bees were produced in 1971. The Super Bee was equipped with heavy-duty brakes and suspension, 14-inch wheels, a special hood with blackout paint treatment, simulated wood grain trim in the interior, a full instrument panel with a 150-mph speedometer, full carpeting and dual exhaust. However, muscle car sales began to decline as gas gasoline prices and insurance rates rose. The Charger Super Bee was discontinued after only one year in production.
For 1971, a total of 74,686 Chargers were produced, including 471 coupes, 41,564 hardtops, 10,306 500 models, 14,641 SEs and 2,659 R/T models, plus the Super Bee versions.
The 1971 Dodge Charger was the last of the full-throttle muscle cars produced by the Chrysler Corporation before stricter federal emissions standards and the 1970s fuel shortages forced automakers to downsize all cars. Perhaps the muscle car era's swan song was the high-powered 1971 Charger Super Bee model that was produced for only one year and in limited numbers.