Dodge Charger (1968)

Dodge-Charger_1968

There have been a number of vehicles bearing the Charger nameplate, but the name has generally denoted a performance model in the Dodge range. The 1966 to 1974 Chargers were the high performance B-body models. The 1975 to 1978 Chargers were based on the Chrysler Cordoba.

1968

It was clear after the sales drop of the 1967 Charger that a restyle was in order. Dodge was going to restyle their entire B-body lineup for 1968 and decided that it was time to separate the Coronet and Charger models even further. What designer Richard Sias came up with was a double-diamond design that would later be referred to as “coke-bottle” styling. From the side profile the curves around the front fenders and rear quarter panels look almost like a Coke bottle. On the roof a “flying buttress” was added to give the rear window area a look similar to that of the 1966 Pontiac GTO. The Charger retained its full-length hidden headlight grille, but the fully rotating electric headlights had been replaced by a simple vacuum operated cover, similar to the Camaro RS. The full length taillights were gone as well. Instead, dual Corvette-inspired taillights were added. Dual scallops were added to the doors and hood to help accent the new swoopy lines. Inside, the interior shared almost nothing with its first generation brothers. The four bucket seats were gone, the console remained the same as the ’67. The tachometer was now optional instead of standard, the trunk and grille medallions were gone, the carpeting in the trunk area was gone, replaced by a vinyl mat, the rear seats did not fold forward and the space-age looking electroluminescent gauges disappeared in favor of a more conventional looking design.

In order to further boost the Charger’s muscle car image, a new high-performance package was added, the R/T. This stood for “Road and Track” and would be the high performance badge that would establish Dodge’s performance image. Only the high performance cars were allowed to use the R/T badge. The R/T came standard with the previous year’s 440 “Magnum”. The Slant Six was added to the option list in 1968, but it proved to be a very poor seller. Most people wanted a V8 in their Charger. The rest of the engine lineup (318-2, 383-2, 383-4, 426-8) remained unchanged.

In 1968 Chrysler Corporation unveiled a new ad campaign featuring a Bee with an engine on its back. These cars were called the “Scat Pack”. The Coronet R/T, Super Bee, Dart GTS and Charger R/T received bumble-bee stripes (two thin stripes framing two thick stripes). The stripes were standard on the R/Ts and came in red, white or black. They also could be deleted at no cost. These changes and the new Charger bodystyle proved to be very popular with the public and helped to sell 96,100 Chargers, including over 17,000 Charger R/Ts.

A famous Charger was the four-speed, triple-black 1968 Charger R/T used in the movie Bullitt. The chase scene between Steve McQueen’s fastback Mustang GT and the hitmen’s Charger R/T is popularly regarded as one of the greatest car chase scenes ever filmed.


November 23, 2015

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