As Dodge is preparing to shut down the V8 party after 2023—Hellcats are being retired to make room for 2024’s new electric muscle car—those who love old-school muscle are fighting to keep old Mopars alive. And if you’re looking for an impressive survival story, this ’68 Charger, which was once a dirt track animal, is ready to deliver it.
This big coup was born at the height of the original muscle car era, but only stayed on the road until 1970, when another vehicle crashed into it, causing serious damage. However, its original owner, who was a dirt track cowboy, decided to turn the thing into a racecar, with the Charger chasing that checkered flag until 1975.
As you can expect, all the unpaved surface thrashing took quite a toll on the car, which sat around until 2018, when it was brought back to the road. The thing got dropped on a 2002 Lincoln Town Car chassis, with its battle-scarred body getting the second chance so many rusty pieces of muscle car history dream of.
So, when YouTuber Dylan McCool recently stepped out of the Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport over in South Carolina, the Town Car waiting to pick him up was like no other machine of the sort. Then again, the enthusiast, who grew up around cool cars thanks to his dad having a thing for such toys, had planned that all along, since he added the Dodge to his growing collection of rusty muscle.
Can this Mopar prove its mettle on the street?
The idea was to take the ’68 Charger for a 300+ (550 km) roadtrip, which is exactly what’s showcased in the clip below.
Having been brought back to a street-legal status, the muscle car comes with plenty of goodies from the Town Car, including functional climate control and radio, while even packing a spare in the generous trunk.
However, the thing is still loud as hell, whether we’re talking about the exhaust droning or the wind noise—there are no side windows in this thing, so going down the interstate at 80 mph is a pretty intense experience.
“The steering wheel [which is said to be the original piece] is kind of in your line of sight. It rattles, it squeeks, it’s loud […]. I mean, my line of sight is obstructed by the giant air cleaner. It’s so loud you can’t hear anything!” the YouTuber explains.
Then again, this is more of a reason to fall in love with the thing, which he mentions. And we can say the same about the positive reactions the contraption gets.
You can get the car out of the dirt, but you can’t get the dirt out of the car—the cabin is nasty, with the vehicle giving you a physical as soon as you get in—you’ll have to pull a Dukes of Hazzard-style entry as a driver due to the steel bars that have basically replaced the door, even though you can still open the passenger side unit.
In factory form, the 4.6L N/A V8 of the Town Car makes 220 hp and this one only seems to pack a cold air intake, but that appears to be enough to bring the Charger right back to its slippery surface glory days (gravel fans can head over to the 17:21 timestamp, while dirt road fanatics are expected at the 23:18 point of the clip).
Dylan relied on his vehicle repair skills during the trip, whether to keep the rusty hood from completely disintegrating or to fix a fluid leak caused by a baked fuse. And this is the kind of experience that gets our heart racing, with that V8 bring brought back to life for a final round of shenanigans, Christmas lights and all.