Here’s a riddle four you: what is 5.3m (209 in) long, 2m (79 in) wide and weighs 1.7 tons (3,750 lbs)? The answer should be anything but a drift car and yet French enthusiast Alexandre Claudin has defied the odds, building a slip angle machine out of a 1968 Dodge Charger that comes with the said road-occupying, scale-resetting numbers.
It all started five or six years ago, with a story that so many builders are familiar to. This 1968 Charger—the first year of production for the iconic Gen II, was a field find. Plagued by rust, the car had holes in its floors and no doors.
Back then, the French pro drifter paid around $10,000 for the derelict Mopar, which might seem crazy today when such a Dodge would probably set you back twice as much.
A complete overhaul for slip angle duties
As Claudin, now in his early 30s, explains in the first video below, which was released back in January, he brought the car to France and started working on it, leaving little of the original in place, with the exception of the body that gives the thing its identity.
NASCAR-style bracing was installed throughout the vehicle, the rear axle and suspension was borrowed from a Porsche Cayenne Turbo and custom front suspension was built by French specialist Cyl6. We’re talking uber-wide steering angle, hydraulic handbrake and the whole lot you’d expect from a car taking part in international drifting competitions.
The vehicle was put together by one of his friends, who owns the Blood Motorsport shop. The Charger had left the factory with a 440 (7.2L Big Block), which wasn’t exactly fit for hooning duties.
And the driver’s first choice of engine was an S62B50 5.0L V8 from an E39 BMW M5. However, a second heart transplant brought in the current motor, which is of American making.
Built by North Carolina-based Rios Racing, this is an LS6 V8 sporting a centrifugal supercharger, with the motor delivering up to 1,200 horsepower—you can check out the 800 hp tune at work throgh the canyons in the second video below (don’t forget the 900 Nm/664 lb-ft of twist).
For better weight distribution, the radiator and most of the cooling circuit now sits in the trunk. And since drifting means the engine will spent quite a lot of time near the rev limited, this baby sips no less than 18 liters (4.75 gallons) of coolant. In addition, the front end disguises its engine-protecting frame beneath fiberglass panels.
A six-figure build, as seen on Netflix
The pro drifter, estimates that, without the help of sponsors, such a project would set one back between $80,000 and $150,000.
Then again, with his ’68 Charger drift car having become a Netflix star (think: Hyperdrive) while also laying rubber at Goodwood and taking part in multiple European competitions, he is getting plenty of assistance from sponsors.
Speaking of which, you can check out the classic Charger drifting in tripode mode thanks to the third vid below, which was recorded last month on Spain’s Jarama circuit.