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Vehicle to be offered for Auction sale January 27th – 31st, 2016 at Russo and Steele’s 16th Annual Scottsdale Arizona Auction. Please contact us for more information.
Based on Chrysler’s redesigned-for-1968 B-Body platform, the handsome and sporty second-generation Dodge Charger remains an unqualified design triumph today. From launch, it’s chiselled bodylines and swept “flying buttress” rear roofline made the pure but unpopular fastback styling of the 1966-67 Chargers a distant memory. While Chrysler Corporation market planners initially envisioned demand for perhaps 35,000 of the new 1968 Chargers, brisk sales actually reached 96,100 units. To meet this unplanned-for but welcome demand, production capacity was quickly added at Chrysler’s Hamtramck, Michigan plant and another Charger line was added at St. Louis. With ’68 Charger sales levels now five times higher than before and accounting for almost 16 per cent of Dodge Division’s total sales, the Charger was clearly a massive hit.
A large measure of the Charger’s success was due to its high-profile use on NASCAR ovals. In fact, the new Charger’s sleek shape was the product of Chrysler’s Special Vehicles Group, which was formed in 1964 and aimed at putting the Pentastar into the winner’s circle. Chrysler’s monstrous 426 Hemi engine and developments were also a key part of Chrysler’s racing “Skunk Works.” On the street, the new Charger revitalized Chrysler’s once-dowdy styling and rivalled the third-generation Corvette design in terms of its stylistic excellence.
The Charger’s beauty was far more than skin deep, however. With its long options list, the Grand Touring-themed Charger ran the gamut from luxurious boulevardier to fire-breathing terror with virtually every Chrysler engine and powertrain combination available, plus a multitude of appearance, comfort, and convenience choices. The R/T (Road and Track) option was the Charger’s contribution to the Dodge “Scat Pack” high-performance line-up and included the 440 “Magnum” V-8 or the fire-breathing 426 Hemi. Heavy-duty drivetrain components and carefully-engineered heavy-duty underpinnings handled their incredible power and performance, which in the case of the Hemi, included 4.8-second 0-60 acceleration and the quarter-mile in just 13.5 seconds at 105 mph – with an automatic transmission, according to Car and Driver magazine’s November, 1967 road test report.
Quite likely the nicest and most correct 1968 Hemi Charger on the planet, this very rare 4-speed example is also the only one known with its striking ‘LL1’ exterior paint code. It clearly left the factory ready for business, with the usual vinyl top, “Bumblebee” tail stripes and floor console deleted. Steel wheels with hubcaps and black upholstery further this Hemi Charger’s serious image. Concessions to comfort and convenience did include power brakes, power steering, and power-operated window lifts. Retaining the all-important original fender tag, the Charger is also complete with its very desirable California “Black Plate” and original pink slip. While rust-free, this very special Hemi Charger was given a complete and documented restoration to its present glory, with over 1,200 hours of labor alone invested into the process. Numbers matching with all components properly date-coded, all of this Hemi Charger’s factory-original components were restored. Incredibly rare and very unique in presentation, this impeccably restored ‘LL1’ four-speed 1968 Hemi Charger represents the pinnacle of race-b red Chrysler performance and marks an outstanding find for committed Mopar collectors everywhere.