Back in the 2005 when Dodge revived its old-school muscle cars, the carmaker made a clear statement. That year saw the Charger sedan entering production, and while the company showed photos of a Challenger coupe prototype, this would only reach showrooms three years later. And while both Mopars have evolved spledidly over the years (think: preserved retro-inspired design and added Hellcat power), there are still some enthusiasts who wish to see the Charger returning to the two-door form that made it a cult car over five decades ago. Retromodding is arguably the most practical answer here, with this 1968 Charger virtual revival being an example as good as any.
Everybody and their drive-loving dog know what a restomod is, but what’s up with retromodding? The latter practice involves taking a modern automobile and gifting it with the looks of a classic one. Sure, purists will cry foul—especially since the greenhouse usually gives the base vehicle away. But doing things this way means you get to enjoy all the safety, comfort and other features of a contemporary OEM product.
Retromods are a bit of a trend these days, with examples ranging from… this 1968 Charger based on a modern Challenger (Hellcat muscle, baby!) to this two-door Chevy K5 Blazer-impersonating 2018 Tahoe—since GM now uses the Blazer name for an ICE (internal combustion engine) and an EV crossover, can you blame old-school aficionados for the latter retromod build?
This Charger-Challenger reminds us of the artist’s recent Plymouth Duster revival
Returning to the rendering at hand, this uses the Dodge Challenger SRT Super Stock as a starting point. Based on the drag strip record setter that was the Challenger SRT Demon, the Super Stock sticks to the straight-line mastery recipe, not unlike the classic Charger.
However, graphic designer Jim (aka jlord8) started with a serious change. You see, the classic Challenger wasn’t just smaller and sleeker than the Charger, it also came with slightly different propostions, especially since the rear overhang of the latter was more generous. Well, the contemporary Challenger sees its posterior being elongated for a proper old-school Charger makeover. And if this sounds familiar, it’s probably thanks to the said artist recently reviving the 1970 Plymouth Duster.
Then there’s the hideaway headlight transformation, along with a feature that used to define the classic Challenger rather than the Charger: the Rallye wheels—Dodge doesn’t offer these anymore, but you can find aftermarket solutions of the sort.
Why the ’68 Charger?
The 1968 was the original model year of the second-gen Charger—you can see an example in the gallery below, with this coming from Mecum. And that’s when the muscle car traded the lavish, moon race-inspired ambitions of the Gen I for a sportier take featuring the era’s Coke bottle design and sporting scallops on the doors and hood.
Speaking of which, the designer behind the classic Coca-Cola bottle iteration that influeced so many retro machines is Raymond Loewy. The French-born American industrial designer was responsible for iconic efforts belonging to multiple industries, from the logos of Shell and Exxon, to GM’s Greyhound Scenicruiser bus, the Studebaker Avanti, multiple railroad designs and even a livery for the Air Force One.
The echoes of his work continue to influence the Dodge world nowadays. For one, in the second Instagram post below, you’ll see Stellantis head designer Ralph Gilles talking about Loewy’s iteration of the Coke bottle and how the revolutionary design of the second-gen Charger had to overcome major obstacles before stepping out into dealer lots.
Gilles, who’s work includes the Gen V Viper, among others, recently completed his take on the 1968 Charger. A restomod build by SpeedKore, this carbon-intensive project rides on a custom perimeter frame, flexing the mother of HEMI crate engines, the 426 ci (7.0L) V8 Hellephant, with its 1,000 horsepower. Its name? The Hellucination, of course!