1968 Dodge Charger R/T Hemi

1968 Dodge Charger RT Hemi
©2007 Publications International, Ltd. The second-generation Charger was one of the day's handsomest muscle cars, aptly described by Car and Driver as "all guts and purpose." Of 92,590 produced for '68, 17,665 were R/T versions. See more muscle car pictures.

Mopar fans still bristle at the thought of Steve McQueen's 390 Mustang besting that black 440 Charger R/T. At least producers of the hit film Bullitt knew what they were doing when they cast the redesigned Dodge as McQueen's foil. The 1968 Dodge Charger R/T Hemi was a muscle car with star quality.

Charger's new hidden-headlamp grille, curvy body, elegant recessed backlight, refined tail, and spare use of chrome represented a styling high point for '60s muscle cars. And in R/T form, its performance justified equal praise.


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For $3,506, the R/T came with the 375-bhp 440-cid four-barrel Magnum V-8, heavy-duty brakes, R/T handling package, and F70Xl4 tires. The rear bumblebee stripe could be left off, while inside, the original Charger's space-age interior gave way to less flashy, more functional decor.

©2007 The 440 Magnum V-8 was standard on Charger R/Ts. Some 475 very serious muscle car fans, however, order theirs with the 426 Hemi, a $605 option.

The only engine option was the mighty 426 Hemi, at $605. Chrysler strengthened it for '68, with a slightly longer-duration cam, new valve springs, and revisions that reduced oil consumption. It was still underrated at 425 bhp, but as Car and Driver marveled, "There just isn't more honest horsepower available off the showroom floor than you get from this bright orange monster."

©2007 Charger came with an array of gauges, but a tachometer was a $49 option. This is one of

Either engine could be hooked to a TorqueFlite automatic with a floor lever or a four-speed with a Hurst Competition-Plus shifter. Automatic was the ticket for straight-line acceleration, and Hemi cars got a special high-stall-speed torque converter (3.23:1 gears were standard). The driver could upshift at 6500 rpm, or let the TorqueFlite do it at 5500. In traffic, the Hemi could be driven like a docile small-block yet was more than half a second quicker and 10 mph faster in the quarter-mile than a 440 Charger.

©2007 The prominent gas cap on the R/T Hemi was a racing-inspired styling touch. The bumblebee stripes could be left off if the buyer desired.

The '68 model's new bucket seats lacked support, and its flying-buttress roof pillars reduced rear visibility. On R/Ts, handling was a nose-heavy chore, and such essential items as a tach, power-front disc brakes, and power steering were options. Still, Charger sales increased sixfold over '67, leaving just one question: How would McQueen have done against a Hemi?

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