By 1972, the handwriting was on the wall.

Bill Brownlie, who oversaw the design and execution of the ever-famous second-generation Charger (from 1968 to 1970), handed over the reigns to Diran Yajezian, who saw the future of the midsize musclecar in a different light. Diran would depart from Bill's vision of the Charger as a road-worthy stock car to more of a practical family hardtop coupe. Diran had the third-generation Charger totally redesigned from the ground up. The '71 Charger would retain slight design cues from its predecessor, such as the loop front bumper, rakish C-Pillar, and Coke-bottle tapered lines. In addition, the new Charger would come in smaller than its previous model, 3 inches shorter in overall length thanks to a 115-inch wheelbase. These dimensions, in addition to advancements in handling geometry and materials, would provide the third-generation Charger with more superior handling and cornering capabilities than previous models.

To better utilize the modified B-Body platform, Dodge decided to combine the Coronet and Charger brands together, saving the Coronet label for the four-door sedans. the merger entailed the carryover of the Super Bee option to the Charger. But with insurance companies hiking rates as a reaction to cries from activists and lobbyists demanding lower speed limits, government controlled safety equipment, and greater restrictions on performance vehicles, Chrysler, as well as Ford and GM, began to slowly drain the life's blood from their performance-bred musclecars. The Super Bee and R/T marques would be outsold by more cosmetic packages such as the SE (Special Edition) and 500. The Charger's lineup would also get a new option: the Charger Topper, a base-model hardtop with a landau vinyl top and additional cosmetic dressings.

By 1972, the tides of change had done their damage to the Mopar camp. The Plymouth GTX became the sole "pure" musclecar left in the lineup; both the R/T and Super Bee were dropped due to dismal sales in lieu of more aesthetic packages that merely gave the appearance of performance rather than actually performing. The 426 Hemi was laid to rest, while the 440 Six-Pack would remain as an option for the Charger and Road Runner. it is estimated that only two Chargers and one Road Runner would leave the factory with these engines. Together, the Super Bee and R/T sold a total of 7,000 vehicles in 1971, whereas the Charger 500 with its more luxurious accruements would sell over 10,000 units. Synonymous with high performance, the two marques were red flags for insurance agencies, which automatically attached higher premiums to the Super Bee and R/T labels, even though both featured lower overall power output numbers thanks to more restrictive intakes and lower compression on the 383 and 440 engines. Chrysler attributed these poor sales to the names and the connotations they carried, so in an effort to reinvent the performance midsize coupe, Dodge introduced a new brand to take the place of the R/T and Super Bee options-the Rallye.

The Rallye Charger would be available in either a coupe or a hardtop model, and incorporated all the trim and flair necessary to verify the Rallye as a performance vehicle. Available with a domed hood, blackout stripes and hood treatment, unique grille, and Rallye-specific doors with scallops and taillamps, the Rallye would also feature a wide array of powerplants. At the top of the '72 lineup was the four-barrel 440 (watered down to a measly 280 hp), available only in the Rallye and SE packages. The 383 was opened up to 400ci inches and served as the biggest plant for the base trim Charger. Besides those two big-blocks, the usual engine lineup was available: the 340, the 318, and the 225 slant six. Though weak in the power department, the Rallye did offer superior handling prowess over its elder siblings.