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Old 10-16-2013, 10:47 PM   #1
nihil
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Default 1968 Dodge Charger R/T

There were some requests for more of my Charger, so here's the whole story and a few pics.

She was built in 1968 at the Hamtramck MI plant, equipped with the 440 Magnum and a TF727 transmission combo, A/C, and drenched in the most gorgeous factory color of the era, RR-1 Burgundy Metallic/Burgundy-poly with a black R/T stripe on that shapely ass end. Shortly after she was shipped to a dealer in Sumter SC.

My father was back in town after a sightseeing trip in southeast Asia, courtesy of the U.S. Marine Corps, and decided it was time to buy a car. And buy a car he did.

The dealer had originally ordered it as a demo car to help boost sales, but not long after it was delivered to the lot, it caught the attention of my father. He negotiated a deal for somewhere around the $3,500 mark. The dealer was reluctant to let it go, but was under the impression that he was going to make enough in finance charges to make it profitable.

As my father was writing out a check for the full purchase price (I still have the cashed check), the dealer started back-peddling and decided to cancel the deal. After a gentle talking-to from a 6'3" ~220lb government issue killing machine, he decided it was in everyones best interest to stick to his agreement. This was back in the days when a handshake meant something.

I don't know too much about her earlier years, but I imagine they were spent driving around North and South Carolina with great enthusiasm. I met her in 1975, on the day of my birth. There was no way I was going to be allowed to have my first ride in a car be in anything but this magnificent machine. That's when my obsession with this car began.

Like most of us, I don't remember too much about my early years, but the fragments I do have all tend to be focused on being in/on/around this car. As I was told later, it was a frequent occurrence that I would not go to sleep at night, and my parents would have to take me for a ride in the Charger to get me to go to sleep. The deep gurgle of 440 cubic inches of fire breathing lullaby was like morphine for the ears. I still to this day get that happy and comfortable feeling every time I'm driving it.

She served daily driver duties through the bulk of my early childhood. I recall one winter day, being home with a babysitter and outside playing in the snow, as I watched a white Jeep CJ with a gold eagle on the hood slide down a hill, and plow into the passenger side door leaving a formidable gash. My father, by this time working for the local P.D., and now having to put a family before his other pride and joy, did not have the cash to have it repaired. She has always been mechanically sound, but spent most of her life with that scar. Almost 30 years later, I fixed it.

In my late 20's/early 30's, my admiration and lust for this car, along with some less than casually dropped hints, finally paid off. I got a call from my dad one night, and he said "she's yours". I knew instantly what he was talking about, and a chill went down my spine. I was living in Chicago at the time, a town a now refer to as "The Windy Shitty", and had nowhere to keep her, so I left her with my father in Texas until I found a place with a garage. A few years later I ended up in St. Louis, in a house with a garage that she would not physically fit in. My plan was to buy a house with a larger garage, fix her up, and then give her back to my dad. If anyone has ever loved that car more than I do, it was most certainly him.

Unfortunately those plans were never realized, my father passed away before it could happen. Obvious troubles aside, I was then in the position of having to do something with the car in a bit of a hurry. I made some unauthorized modifications to the pull-under garage in the house I was renting at the time, and she could just barely squeeze in there with some deft maneuvering.

I've been doing little things here and there to bring her back to her former glory, but have yet to settle on a shop I trust enough to do the bodywork that is outside what I'd be comfortable doing myself. It seems like rolling into a shop with a car like that makes people see inflated figure flashbacks from "reality" TV shows and cartoon'ish dollar signs fall from the sky.

Anyway, sorry for the long ramble, but I think that covers most of the questions I get asked about it. Here are some pics I've taken since I brought her up here.

The first time I had seen her in roughly 15 years:


Replacing the passenger side door:




And how she sits now:










This is a random picture of someone elses `68 R/T I found on the web, but it's a solid reminder of how she's supposed to look:


That's my car and that's her story.
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2002 A4 1.8TQMS
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1968 Charger R/T
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Old 02-06-2014, 01:55 AM   #2
Griffin
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Great story! Sorry to hear about your dad passing before you could get it fixed up and send it back to him. What a great gesture on your part. I would do the same for my dad.
I know its been a few months since your post, but did you get a chance to fix it up? Would love to see the step by step mods you make if you have had the chance to do them. Look forward to seeing what you have or are going to do!
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Old 03-23-2014, 07:19 AM   #3
peruccy
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I just love Chargers! For me, the only muscle car I would actually own. Unfortunately, to buy one in my country, even in a poor state, you need to dosh out a lot of money. About the same as a new hatchback costs...

Hopefully yours will look the same as on the last picture when it's finished.
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Old 03-23-2014, 06:59 PM   #4
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Lovely looking machine, I do love the American classics.
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