Whether you’re a Mopar fan or not, you might’ve noticed that the Aussie Chargers were not true pillarless cars like their Ford and Holden contemporaries - the Monaro and Falcon coupes. There's no B pillar on a Charger - which means it is pillarless...but you can't wind the rear window down. Confused? It wasn’t an oversight - to find out the reason, read on...
Chrysler Australia had a lot of success selling Dodge Darts as Valiant VF and VG coupes in Oz from ‘69 through ‘71, so American management decided we had to have a replacement when the new, locally designed VH range was on the drawing board.
The Australians weren’t convinced, but were overruled – apparently the Americans knew more about Aussie buyers than the locals. So Chrysler went ahead and developed a huge hardtop coupe based on the VH sedan. Deciding there was no point doing things by halves – they gave it the longest boot on any Australian car ever made – before or since.
The VH Regal, Regal 770 and top of the range CH Chrysler By Chrysler hardtops were released with much fanfare...and bombed, just as the Aussies feared.
It was just as well then, that the local boys had enough sway to convince the Americans that a smaller coupe was needed - before final sign off of the new range. Effectively, the Charger was an afterthought.
A rush job – the mighty Charger was done in haste and there was one clear sign of this on every Charger made right through to the final CL model of 1977. Despite being designed as pillarless hardtops, you couldn't wind down the rear windows on a Charger.
They just ran out of time to engineer the intricacies for getting the rear window to slide down inside the bodywork. So they went with the quick, cheap & nasty option - a flip-out rear window.
Such a shame – all hardtops look better with windows down, a look we never got to see on the Chargers due to the el cheapo flip-out rear window that was a compromise and only supposed to be offered on the cheapest XL models. Some early Charger advertising showed side-on photos without the rear window. I'm guessing dealerships complained when Charger buyers began flooding in...only to find they couldn't wind down the rear window like in the ads.
So there was at least one advantage to buying the huge and unloved VH/VJ/CH coupes – they had roll down rear windows. But really – apart from a bigger boot, that was the only advantage they offered over the Charger. Interior room was about the same, while performance and handling weren’t quite a match for the shorter, lighter Charger, and neither was fuel economy.
Aussies knew all that. So if you were in the market for a hip, sporty, locally made coupe that could double as family transport – you chose the Charger. If you wanted performance and economy - the Hemi 6 offered both. If you wanted more status - you could go for 318, 340 or 360 cubes. Unless of course your local Ford or Holden dealers could talk you into a HQ Monaro or XA Falcon coupe, but that’s another story...