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Yes, a six pack is slang for a set of visible abdominal muscles. And it is also slang for a case of beer (which you shouldn’t drink in one sitting if you want visible abdominal muscles). And now, ‘sixpack’ is also Dodge’s brand name for the six-cylinder engine powering its latest Charger muscle car. But six pack is also a term Dodge has used across various generations of high-performance cars.

In 1969, gasoline cost $0.35. So it’s not shocking that one of the favored ways to make more horsepower was to just install more carburetors. Entry-level cars came with one-barrel carburetors, but performance trims had two-barrel carburetors. Some crazy, track-ready cars even came with four-barrels. But Dodge has never done things in halves.

Blue 1970 Dodge Charger in a museum with its hood up, showing off a Six Pack V8 engine
1970 Dodge Charger 440 Six Pack | Wikimedia Commons

In 1969, Dodge introduced a performance package with three, two-barrel carburetors for its 440-cubic inch V8. The “Six Pack” trim was first limited to B-Body cars, namely the Dodge Super Bee and Charger, along with the Plymouth Road Runner. But on Plymouths it was just called the “Six Barrel.”

For the 1970 model year, Dodge introduced the E-Body platform (the Challenger and Plymouth Barracuda). This car was just small enough to compete with pony cars, but big enough to house the 440-cubic-inch V8. So of course, the Challenger’s top trim models (such as the Dodge Challenger T/A) came with the Six Pack. Dodge also added a “Six Pack” three-carb setup for the 340 cubic-inch V8.

Dodge Sixpack engine | Stellantis

Big picture, Dodge had raised the bar for performance with the 426-cubic-inch Hemi V8 in 1964. Its 425 horsepower rating changed the muscle car market forever. But this NASCAR homologation V8 made power with very high compression for the day and was a bit finicky. It was also expensive and rare. So the 440 “Six Pack” brought similar performance (390 horsepower) to the masses, with much less headache.

Dodge’s next generation of muscle cars will all be called the Charger–whether coupes or sedans. What’s more, the Scat Pack and higher trims will be EVs. The lower trims will have a twin-turbocharged straight-six engine co-developed with Alfa Romeo. In sedans it will make 420 horsepower. In the coupe it will be tuned for 550 horsepower!

2024 Dodge Charger
2024 Dodge Charger | Stellantis

The automaker appears keenly aware that its electric transition will upset some enthusiasts. It is leaning into its heritage with everything from its new vehicle announcement to its branding. The Dodge Chager EV’s badge is even “Daytona.” So it isn’t surprising that it dusted off the Six Pack badge for the engine. (This time it is writing it “SIXPACK” because…Dodge).

But I’ll add that it’s a fitting name. Like it or not, electric will soon be the go-to powertrain for drag racing. And Dodge is rolling out an EV so it can reclaim the fastest times in the industry. But like the NASCAR-spec 426 Hemi V8, this EV chassis may be a non-starter for many casual drivers in America. Luckily, Dodge will offer the more accessible gas-powered I6 Charger. Just like the first Six Pack. And to be blunt, 550 horsepower from an I6 is something the Mopar fans of the 1960s and 1970s could have only dreamed about.

Next, find out about the new Charger’s new Banshee trim, or see the new car’s reveal video below: