Concept Car of the Day – 1964 Dodge Charger Hemi Roadster

1964 Dodge Charger Roadster Concept Image
1964 Dodge Charger Roadster Concept Front

The 1964 Dodge Charger Hemi concept was the car that began it all. The Dodge Charger has since seen 7 generations and in the process has become an American muscle car legend. The 1964 Dodge Charger began as an attempt by Chrysler to match the Pontiac GTO’s firepower. Chrysler wanted to stun the muscle car world and wanted to do with a big, burly V8 petrol engine that displaced a full 7 liters, or 426 cubic inches. 

Back in the day, cars will be built around engines and the 426 V8 platform was chosen to build the Dodge Charger concept. The engine came straight out of Chrysler’s NASCAR racing program and featured a hemispherical combustion chamber, popularly known as a Hemi. The motor was rated at 425 Bhp-640 Nm and was mated to a three speed manual gearbox. Eventually, the 426 Hemi V8 made it to the production Dodge Charger, which saw the light of the day in 1966.

1964 Dodge Charger Roadster Concept Pic
1964 Dodge Charger Roadster Concept Rear


While the 1964 Dodge Charger Concept featured the 426 logo proudly emblazoned on its flanks, the concept car featured anything but the 426 Hemi V8-er. As Chrysler’s engineers were in a tearing rush to ready up the concept, with Pontiac already having beaten them to the post with the GTO, the Chrysler Polara was the car around which the Dodge Charger concept was modeled.

After a complete redesign of the Polara’s exteriors, the roof making way for a roadster finish, the interiors getting a complete once over as a two seat model, the 1964 Dodge Charger concept was born. Along the way, Chrysler engineers even borrowed the Polara’s 6.3 liter (383 cubic inches) V8 petrol motor that output 305 horses. In a nutshell, the Dodge Charger concept was a Polara in disguise. The actual production version of the Charger, which made its debut in 1966, was as different as chalk is from cheese, for it was a two door coupe, a far cry from its roadster origins.

Images courtesy FabWheelsDigest