1968 Dodge Charger
Article and photos by Larry Crain
This awesome example of Mopar muscle is owned by Rich and Cindy Purdie of Melbourne, Florida, but it didn’t always look so show worthy. Their 1968 Dodge Charger started out as a very sad, old, and tired looking piece of muscle car history. The worn-out car came out of Springfield, Missouri in December of 2013 with Rich’s game plan being to build something really different. His first step in the right direction was to get with artist extraordinaire Eric Brockmeyer to come up with one of his fantastic renderings. Rich and Eric worked closely together and came up with the car design that would ultimately be what you see here. The interior design Eric came up with was spot on with some minor changes to the original dash design. In March of 2014 with the rendering complete, the decision was made to ship the Charger to the Muscle Rod Shop in San Antonio where they specialize in building custom wide-bodies.
The Muscle Rod Shop is known for the unique work it turns out and this Charger really showcases their work. The car features a channeled front and rear frame, the body has been widened 2 1/2” on both sides and the wheel arches raised 2 inches and flared. The cowl has been smoothed and the rockers lowered, the bumpers have been modified, the rear valance lowered and a one-off custom hood fabricated. All of this custom body work is covered in House of Kolor custom mix “Reflex Blue” and was painted by Jaime Ramos of the Muscle Rod Shop.
This Charger has been given updated handling and ride with a Reilly MotorSports AlterKtion front suspension package that features rack and pinion steering, coilover shocks and disc brakes. The rear suspension is also from Reilly MotorSports Street Lynx and features a triangulated 4-bar rear suspension system with coilover shocks. This custom rear suspension is home for the custom 8 3/4 rear end with 3:91 posi-trac built by Elite Vintage Auto in Melbourne, Florida. This very cool Charger rides on a set of wheels that are Hot Rods by Boyd and Pirelli P Zero tires, the HR-99 rear wheels are 20 x 12 mounted with 335/20/12 while the front HR-99 18 x 8 wheels are mounted with 245/18/8 tires. Stopping power for this full on custom chassis comes in the form of a Wilwood brake system.
The powerplant under the custom Reflex Blue hood is nothing but Mopar muscle, a built 440 that has been stroked to 535 cubic inches that puts out 700 horsepower! This Charger has been given a very different fuel system from most Mopar muscle cars that have been given the resto mod treatment in the form of a Hilborn EFI 8-stack. Transmission of choice to back up all of this power is a Silver Sport Tremec TKO-600 5-speed. Special features of the engine compartment include hand-crafted smoothed firewall and rolled custom sides all painted in slicked out Reflex Blue.
The interior of this custom Charger features metallic grey leather done by Steve Holcomb of Pro Auto Custom Interiors in Knoxville, Tennessee. This very unique interior features one-off custom seats, headliner, door panels and console all covered in grey leather. Other features of the interior include the custom dash that is equipped with gauges from Classic Instruments, a tilt steering column mounted with a custom leather wrapped steering wheel and a Vintage Air a/c system.
The initial completion date goal of this project was to have it ready for the Columbus Goodguys in July of 2016, but when building a car or truck, things never go quite as planned. The car was finished in December of 2016 and ScottieD was filming the car at Pro Auto Custom Interiors when Rich and his buddy came to pick it up. Scottie invited Rich to bring the Charger to the 2017 Spring Pigeon Forge Rod Run and be a part of the Dirty Dozen. The Reflex Blue Charger brought home a Top 25 Award from the Pigeon Forge Rod Run that will probably be just one of many awards that this awesome Mopar brings home.
Shops and manufacturers used in the building of this car.