10 cars you should know and adore

First used on cars as antifreeze by Chrysler Motor Parts, Mopar became a brand of its own in 1937. But more importantly, Mopar became a term for any vehicle built by the old Chrysler Corporation and rose to popularity in the 1960s, right before the muscle car wars emerged. Dodge Challenger, Plymouth Barracudas, Chrysler 300s? They were all Mopars back in the day, when what we now know as FCA was fighting for high-performance supremacy with Ford and General Motors. Chrysler built loads of iconic vehicles over the years, so here’s our top 10 list of the most memorable Mopars.

1954 Chrysler New Yorker

The 10 Most Memorable Mopar Cars Ever Made
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The New Yorker debuted in 1940 and it was an important car in the Chrysler lineup for several decades. But the nameplate became a really hot matter in 1954 when Chrysler managed to squeeze 235 horsepower from its still-new 5.4-liter Hemi V-8 engine.

While it might not sound like much nowadays, 235 horsepower was a lot of oomph for a regular production car in the mid-1950s. Originally a test bed for the V-8 engine, the New Yorker was redesigned a year later and all other powerplants were dropped from the lineup. The New Yorker became a big hit and proved that the Hemi V-8 design was fast and reliable. A New Yorker fitted with this mill set a world record during a special 24-hour endurance race that saw the Chrysler average 118.8 mph.

1954 Chrysler New Yorker specifications
Engine: 5.4-liter Hemi V-8
Power: 235 horsepower
Torque: 330 pound-feet
0-60: 11 seconds
Top speed: 106 mph
1/4 mile: 18.7 seconds

1955 Chrysler C-300

The 10 Most Memorable Mopar Cars Ever Made
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The New Yorker wasn’t the only Mopar that was making waves in the mid-1950s. In 1955, Chrysler introduced the C-300, the first of the company’s famous "letter cars." The fastest and most powerful production model in America at the time, the C-300 was also more exclusive than its competitors. It offered enhanced luxury and comfort, as well as sports car-like performance. Also powered by the 5.4-liter V-8, the C-300 boasted an amazing 300 horsepower thanks to a race-spec camshaft and twin four-barrel carburetors. The C-300 was sold in 1955 only, when 1,725 units were produced. The letter in the name was changed with each year, leading to the 300L model of 1965. The C-300 should not be confused with the 300C of 1957 or the 300C of 2005.

1955 Chrysler C-300 specifications
Engine: 5.4-liter Hemi V-8
Power: 300 horsepower
Torque: 345 pound-feet
0-60: 10 seconds
Top speed: 128 mph
1/4 mile: 17.5 seconds

1962 Dodge Dart 413 Max Wedge

The 10 Most Memorable Mopar Cars Ever Made
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The Dodge Dart started life in 1959 as a simple family car, but things changed when Mopar entered the drag racing scene in the early 1960s.

The 413 Max Wedge is the first in a long line of factory drag racers from Mopar and its name comes from the massive 6.8-liter V-8 engine it was fitted with. The high compression ratio pushed output up to 420 horsepower, while the limited-slip differential, the lightweight body, heavy-duty suspension, and the stripped interior made it ideal for the drag strip.

The package was rather expensive, but it proved popular with amateur racers that wanted to win races against owners of Ford and General Motors cars. Dodge eventually launched more beefed-up versions of the Dart in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

1962 Dodge Dart 413 Max Wedge specifications
Engine: 6.8-liter Hemi V-8
Power: 420 horsepower
Torque: 470 pound-feet
0-60: 6 seconds
Top speed: 145 mph
1/4 mile: 14.4 seconds @ 101 mph

1965 Plymouth Belvedere Altered Wheelbase

The 10 Most Memorable Mopar Cars Ever Made
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The drag strip wars were going strong in the early 1960s so Chrysler started working on a bespoke Hemi V-8 engine for racing. This mill broke cover in 1964, but it was followed in 1965 by one of the hottest race-spec Mopar ever built. Actually, there were two of them, as both Dodge and Plymouth built their own versions on the same platform.

These altered wheelbase cars were based on the production Dodge Coronet and Plymouth Belvedere and looks almost identical to their road-legal counterparts.

However, the floor pans of these cars were moved 15 inches forward, so the rear axles were just behind the drivers. This modification improved the weight distribution and off-the-line traction, turning them into almost unbeatable racers at the drag strip. These cars were also extremely powerful with well in excess of 500 horsepower at their disposal.

Only six Dodges and six Plymouths were made, which makes them incredibly rare and valuable pieces of muscle car history nowadays. It’s also one of the most spectacular Mopar project cars that actually made it into production.

1965 Plymouth Belvedere Altered Wheelbase specifications
Engine: 7.0-liter Hemi V-8
Power: 550 horsepower
Torque: 490 pound-feet
0-60: 4.5 seconds
Top speed: 150+ mph
1/4 mile: 10.2 seconds @ 138 mph

1966 Dodge Charger

The 10 Most Memorable Mopar Cars Ever Made
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The modern Dodge Charger may be a four-door midsize sedan, but the nameplate went through big changes in the past. Mostly known as a cult muscle car with big power in the late 1960s and early 1970s, the Charger actually came to life as a massive two-door fastback.

It happened in 1966, when Dodge introduced it as a more upscale alternative to the popular Coronet.

It was big and quite heavy, but aimed at customers that wanted a fancier interior and more equipment. But even though it wasn’t marketed as a performance car, it was available with a Hemi V-8. It eventually evolved into a full-fledged member of the Mopar muscle car community toward the late 1960s.

1966 Dodge Charger
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1966 Dodge Charger specifications
Engine: 7.0-liter Hemi V-8
Power: 425 horsepower
Torque: 490 pound-feet
0-60: 6.4 seconds
Top speed: 130 mph
1/4 mile: 14.2 seconds @ 96 mph

Read our full review on the 1966 Dodge Charger

1969 Dodge Charger Daytona

The 10 Most Memorable Mopar Cars Ever Made
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Next up on our Mopar cars list is also a Charger. But this one it’s from 1969, the year that brought the first mild update to the second-generation model. It was also unlike the road model, simply because it was a race-spec car developed for NASCAR. The latter was a big deal back in the 1960s and Detroit-based makers were fighting for supremacy with increasingly bigger engines.

But the 1960s also brought big changes to the rules that allowed modifications to the standard car bodies to make them more aerodynamic. So Dodge went ahead and added a nose come to the front fascia and a massive wing atop the deck lid.

The upgrades made the Daytona unbeatable in 1970, but NASCAR eventually banned aero cars for 1971. Plymouth built its very own version as the Roadrunner Superbird. In order to homologate the Daytona for racing, Dodge built around 500 cars for road use. These were powered by 7.0-liter Hemi or 7.2-liter Magnum V-8 engines.

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1969 Dodge Charger Daytona specifications
Engine: 7.0-liter Hemi V-8
Power: 425 horsepower
Torque: 490 pound-feet
0-60: 6 seconds
Top speed: 150+ mph
1/4 mile: 13.2 seconds @ 103 mph

Read our full review on the 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona

1970 Plymouth Roadrunner

The 10 Most Memorable Mopar Cars Ever Made
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The Roadrunner was one of the coolest Mopar cars when it broke cover back in 1968. That’s because while it was as powerful as the already available Dodges and Plymouths, it was more affordable.

The idea behind the Roadrunner was simple: to offer a low priced yet powerful model in order to attract people on a limited budget in dealerships.

And Plymouth succeeded, as the Roadrunner became an instant hit. The fact that Plymouth bought the rights to the name and design of the roadrunner character from the popular Willie E. Coyote cartoon also helped. In 1970, the Roadrunner was upgraded with new styling and improved V-8 engines and joined the Barracuda in the muscle car wars.

1970 Plymouth Roadrunner specifications
Engine: 7.0-liter Hemi V-8
Power: 425 horsepower
Torque: 490 pound-feet
0-60: 6 seconds
Top speed: 131 mph
1/4 mile: 13.6 seconds @ 101 mph

Read our full review on the 1970 Plymouth Roadrunner

1970 Plymouth Cuda AAR

The 10 Most Memorable Mopar Cars Ever Made
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The Plymouth Cuda is by far one of the most iconic of the classic Mopar cars and like most of its competitors, this nameplate reached its peak in 1970. The Cuda Hemi remains the most legendary version of this high-performance coupe, but the AAR is an interesting, limited-series variant.

Launched to celebrate Dan Gurney’s All American Racing team, which used Cudas in the Trans Am championship, the AAR didn’t feature a Hemi engine, but it was lighter. Instead of the big 7.0-liter Hemi, the AAR featured the 5.6-liter V-8 in the Cuda 340. It was fitted with a race-inspired composite engine hood, a rear spoiler, and unique AAR graphics on the sides. Only 2,724 were made, so the Cuda AAR is a rare bird nowadays.

The 10 Most Memorable Mopar Cars Ever Made
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1970 Plymouth Cuda AAR specifications
Engine: 5.6-liter V-8
Power: 290 horsepower
Torque: 345 pound-feet
0-60: 5.8 seconds
Top speed: 130 mph
1/4 mile: 14.4 seconds @ 99 mph

1970 Dodge Challenger R/T

The 10 Most Memorable Mopar Cars Ever Made
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While Plymouth entered the pony car market a couple of weeks before Ford launched the Mustang, stablemate Dodge didn’t jump on the bandwagon until 1970. But Dodge did it with a bang, by joining in with the iconic Challenger. Like all other Mopars from the era, the Challenger was also offered with the 7.0-liter Hemi V-8 and the even bigger 7.2-liter engine, but Dodge’s true performance model was powered by a smaller engine as standard.

It was called the R/T, which stood for Road/Track, and came with the 6.3-liter Magnum V-8 and a Rallye instrument cluster that included a 150-mph speedometer and a 8,000-rpm rev counter. The Hemi-fitted model was obviously the fastest, but the Magnum version was quite nimble thanks to its reduced overall weight.

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1970 Dodge Challenger R/T specifications
Engine: 7.0-liter Hemi V-8
Power: 425 horsepower
Torque: 490 pound-feet
0-60: 5.5 seconds
Top speed: 140 mph
1/4 mile: 13.2 seconds @ 108 mph

2017 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon

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Dodge Challenger SRT Demon 2.3 Seconds

This is the only modern vehicle on our Mopar muscle cars list. While FCA continues to build interesting vehicles, its lineup isn’t as exciting and diverse as it used to be. But the good news is that the Challenger was revived in 2008 and it spawned a couple of amazing models. By far the most extreme is the SRT Demon.

Essentially a drag racing version of the already impressive Hellcat, the Demon features a wide array of upgrades, starting with an all-new 6.2-liter V-8 and a 2.7-liter supercharger.

It also rides on drag-ready tires, a "transbrake" system, a Power Chiller, Drag Mode suspension setup, and Torque Reserve on Demand. The NHRA banned the Demon from competition because it doesn’t have the NHRA-certified roll cage required for cars that can run the quarter-mile in less than 10 seconds.

2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon High Resolution Exterior
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2017 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon specifications
Engine: supercharged, 6.2-liter Hemi V-8
Power: 840 horsepower
Torque: 770 pound-feet
0-60: 2.3 seconds
Top speed: 168 mph
1/4 mile: 9.6 seconds @ 140 mph

Read our full review on the 2017 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon

Quick Mopar cars Q&A

What is a Mopar Muscle Car?

2014 Dodge Challenger Mopar Edition Exterior
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A Mopar muscle car is any high-performance vehicle built by a brand that belonged to the Chrysler Corporation in the past and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles in modern times.

What Does Mopar Stand For?

2016 Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak Exterior
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Mopar is a portmanteau of the words "Motor" and "Parts." The name was first used in the 1920s on cans of Chrysler Motor Parts antifreeze. The Mopar brand was established in 1937.

What is Mopar?

Dodge And Mopar Leading The Way At SEMA High Resolution Drivetrain
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Mopar is now the parts, service, and customer care organization within the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) group. The brand provides parts and accessories for all FCA brands sold in the United States, including those that aren’t American, like Fiat. Mopar also designs and builds limited-edition and concept cars.

Who Owns Mopar?

2010 Dodge Mopar Challenger High Resolution Exterior Computer Renderings and Photoshop
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Mopar is currently owned by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, a multinational corporation established in 2014 by Fiat and the Chrysler Corporation.

What car brands are usually called Mopars

2011 Mopar V-10 Challenger Drag Pak High Resolution Exterior AutoShow
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Following the founding of the Mopar brand in 1937, the term has become an inclusive word for any Chrysler-built vehicle. Back in the day, it was used for cars made by Chrysler, Dodge, Plymouth, Imperial, DeSoto, and Ram trucks. When Chrysler purchased American Motors Corporation in 1987, Mopar was extended to include vehicles by AMC, Jeep, and Eagle.

With some older Chrysler brands discontinued, Mopar is currently used to describe vehicles made by Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, and Ram Trucks. Some also include Fiat and Abarth products here, since Mopar offers parts and accessories for the Italian brands in the United States.

Ciprian Florea
Senior Editor and Supercar Expert - ciprian@topspeed.com
Ciprian's passion for everything with four wheels (and more) started back when he was just a little boy, and the Lamborghini Countach was still the coolest car poster you could hang on your wall. Ciprian's career as a journalist began long before earning a Bachelor's degree, but it was only after graduating that his love for cars became a profession.  Read More
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