Collectors rank the 1968 Dodge Charger as one of the fastest and best-styled muscle cars of its era. This, the second generation of Charger, marked the pinnacle of the horsepower race between American car manufacturers in the late 1960s. At that time, gasoline was 10 cents a gallon, Americans had more disposable income than ever before, and engine capacity was everything to the aspiring car buyer.
With its hugely powerful 7.2-liter engine, the Charger 440 was, in reality, a thinly veiled street racer. The Rapid Transit (R/T) version was a high-performance factory option, which included heavy-duty suspension and brakes, dual exhausts, and wider tires. At idle, the engine produced such massive torque that it rocked the car body from side to side. Buyers took the second generation Charger to their hearts in a big way, with sales outstripping the earlier lackluster model by a factor of six.
The Charger was the creation of Dodge’s chief of design, Bill Brownlie, and its clean, voluptuous lines gave this car one of the most handsome shapes of the day. It left you in no doubt as to what it was all about: guts and purpose. The mean-looking nose, blacked-out grille, and low hood made drivers of lesser machines move over fast.
Enormous 1 in (25 mm) diameter antiroll bars.
The potent engine had enough power to spin the rear wheels in every gear.
Neat styling features included indicator repeaters built into the hood scoop.
Factory options included wood-grained steering wheel and cruise control.
Bucket seats were de rigueur at the time.
Chargers were also for those “who like it soft inside.” All had standard clock, heater, and cigarette lighter.
The chrome, quick-fill, racing-style gas cap was attached to the car by wire to stop souvenir hunters.
Transferring all the power to the road required ultra-wide 235×14 tires.
“Buttress-backed” styling was America’s version of a European 2+2 sports coupe. Ads called the Charger “a beautiful screamer,” which was aimed at “a rugged type of individual.” Profile is all agression, with lantern-jawed lines, mock vents on the doors, bumblebee stripes and twin exhausts that roared.
The standard R/T cockpit is functional to the point of being stark. No distractions here— just a matte black dash with six gauges that included a 150 mph (241 km/h) speedometer.
Huge steering wheel was essential for keeping all that grunt in a straight line.
STAR OF THE SCREEN
A car with star quality, the Charger featured in the classic nine-minute chase sequence in the film Bullitt. It also had major roles in the 1970s cult movie Vanishing Point, and the television series, The Dukes of Hazzard.
Choices originally included Plum Crazy, Go Mango, and Top Banana.
Hazard warning lights were groovy features for 1967.
These were hidden under electric flaps to give the Charger a sinister grin.
The wall-to-wall engine found in the R/T Charger is Dodge’s immensely powerful 440 Magnum—a 7.2-liter V8. This stump-pulling power plant produced maximum torque at a lazy 3200 rpm— making it obscenely quick, yet as docile as a kitten in town traffic.
The gargantuan engine returned just 10 mpg (3.5 km/l).
S P E C I F I C A T I O N S
MODEL Dodge Charger (1967–70)
BODY STYLE Two-door, four-seater.
CONSTRUCTION Steel monocoque body.
ENGINE 7.2-liter V8.
POWER OUTPUT 375 bhp at 3200 rpm.
TRANSMISSION Three-speed TorqueFlite auto, or Hurst four-speed manual.
SUSPENSION Front: heavy duty independent; Rear: leaf-spring.
BRAKES Heavy duty, 11 in (280 mm) drums, with optional front discs.
MAXIMUM SPEED 150 mph (241 km/h)
0–60 MPH (0–96 KM/H) 6 sec
0–100 MPH (0–161 KM/H) 13.3 sec
A.F.C. 10 mpg (3.5 km/l)