Car of the Week: 1968 Dodge Charger

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Story and photos by John Gunnell

Beautiful new styling characterized the second-generation Chargers, which saw a huge sales boost from 14,980 cars in 1967 to 96,100 new 1968 cars, all of which were two-door hardtops. What made the Charger so popular for ’68 was Dodge’s introduction of “airplane fuselage” styling that featured a smoother, rounded Coke-bottle-shaped semi-fastback body and wheel bulges.

Hidden headlamps were continued into 1968 and a blacked-out grille was used to give a taped-headlamp look of the day’s race cars. A race-style gas filler was also added. Scallops in the hood could be optioned with turn indicators, and the doors were also scalloped. There was an integral rear spoiler and a blacked-out rear beauty panel with two round taillights on each side.

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Standard on Chargers were all federal safety features plus all-vinyl front bucket seats; carpeting; a three-spoke steering wheel with a padded hub and partial horn ring; a heater and defroster; electric clock; cigar lighter; ashtray lamp; heavy-duty suspension; sway bar; heavy-duty rear springs and torsion bars; front and rear bumper guards; wheel opening moldings; concealed headlamps; quick-fill gasoline cap; the 145-hp/225-cid “slant six;” and 7.35×14 tubeless blackwall tires.

The base six-cylinder Charger (only 908 were built) listed for $2,934 and weighed 3,500 lbs. The 230-hp/318-cid V-8 could be added for $106 and was a far more popular choice with 76,893 were built. The R/T (for “Road and Track”) listed for $3,500 and weighed about 130 lbs. more. It had a production run of 18,307.

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Charger options included the 318-cid V-8; 290-hp/383-cid V-8; 330-hp/383-cid V-8; 375-hp/440-cid V-8; and 425-hp/426-cid V-8. Buyers could add muscle car features including a limited-slip differential for $42.35; a tachometer for $48.70; custom wheels for $97.30; and a console for $52.85. Power brakes were $41.75 and if you wanted front disc brakes, they were a $72.95 option.

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As standard equipment, the Charger R/T model included the 375-hp/440-cid Magnum V-8; TorqueFlite automatic transmission; dual exhaust (with chrome tips); heavy-duty brakes; R/T handling package; racing stripes; and F70-14 Red Streak or whitewall tires.

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Motor Trend summed up the new R/T model-option as a “Charger with a set of mags, Wide Oval tires and a bumblebee stripe.” The R/T also included name badges, heavy-duty underpinnings along with the 440 Magnum V-8. This engine was good for 0-to-60 mph in 6.5 seconds and a 15-second quarter at 93 mph in the 1968 Charger.

The featured Bright Blue R/T has a white vinyl top and belongs to Greg Fox of Franklin, Wis., and is one of dozens of Chargers scheduled to appear at the 2016 Iola Car Show. Under the hood is the standard R/T Magnum 440 V-8 attached to a column-shifted TorqueFlite. The interior features matching blue bucket seats with an armrest-style console and a wood-rimmed steering wheel. Fox did what most new Charger owners did on the second day of ownership: he added a set of five-spoke mag wheels to his car for that period look. All the features add up to one heck of a “looker.”

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