From The Archives: “Coke Bottle” Charger Introduced


In 1968, two years after production officially began, Dodge rolled out a new body style for the popular Dodge Charger muscle car and unknowingly introduced what would eventually become one of the most iconic cars in American history. Sporting curvier front fenders and rear quarter panels, the ’68 model was the first Charger to feature the famous “Coke bottle” styling and was widely praised by the automotive community for its eye-catching design. Today, this particular generation (1968-1970) remains one of the most popular thanks to the Charger’s famous roll in both Bullitt (1968 Dodge Charger R/T 440 Magnum) and the original TV series The Dukes of Hazzard (1969 Dodge Charger).


  • Flames T.

    Absolutely the most beautiful car Ma Mopar ever designed, followed closely by the new Challenger, and the 57 Chrysler 300…..methinks!!!!

  • lew

    lets not forget the charger in the movie dirty mary/crazy larry. awesome chase scene, some good mopar cop cars also !!!

  • SUBLIME

    I will have to echo Flames T comments. A timeless masterpiece!

  • HEMIhead

    Now those were the days!

  • jono

    if only one of the most iconic muscle cars didn’t become a family sedan 35 years later!
    i love my ’08 challenger and it pays amazing tribute to the ’70 challenger, but what was chrysler thinking when they named a 4 door family car charger?
    the current charger is a good looking car, but it is not worthy of that name.

  • SUBLIME

    Congrats, Brad Keselowski! Great win at the Nationwide race in Richmond. Way to go Dodge and Penske. Keep up the good work! A Dodge Charger does it again!!!

  • HEMIhead

    Congrats Brad Keselowski! He does it again! Two in a row! Congrats Penske/Dodge!
    Love that Dodge Charger!!!!

  • moparman

    Wow, what cool picture. I love to see the pictures of the old cars on the production lines. I admit I am biased, as I own a ’69, but I have to agree that the ’68 to ’70 is the all time best version of the charger. Although the ’66 and ’67, and the ’71 to ’74 were not bad either. My favorite racer, Richard Pettry raced a ’72, as I recall.

    I think I would have had way too much fun growing up in the late ’60s ( I was born in 1970). I mean think about how many cool cars there were back then, not just mopar, but all the muscle, pony, and sports cars in the late ’60s and early ’70s. What a great time to grow up and be a car guy!

    Sometimes I wish I was 15 years older……..oh no, wait, nah scratch that, I’m too old as it is, hehehe. :-)

    Love the archives stuff, RLD.

  • moparman

    Oops, tired I guess, that should say “Richard Petty”.

  • IndyRider

    This was one of the cars I remember as a child, someone in the neighborhood had a dark green, black vinyl top model. Seeing the car was a defining moment, and was part of the reason I bought my challenger recently.

    Love the old pics and stories. Lets redesign the Charger next!

    And yes, way to go Brad on the Nationwide win. Nice move at the end of the race!

  • SweDane

    Nice photo !
    Now, think about the working environment these cars were built in !
    It’s amazing that they were able to drive off the assembly line.
    And – present – we talk about build quality :-)
    SweDane

  • IndyRider

    Is it me, or are the driver’s side headlights missing, closed, just the picture angle?

    Lets see more pictures, and how about some vintage commercials, and print ads?

    And where are those high impact t shirts, to match the new colors? (marketing hint….)

  • SUBLIME

    IndyRider, that’s about right. One light up and one light down, crap laying on the hood and windshield, people standing around watching the car go by. I am surprised any of them came out of the factory running right. I love the four wheel drum brakes. It didn’t matter, they were the best looking car ever made so you could of put them together with chewing gum. Bring back more of these pictures and bring back these classic lines when you design your new cars.

  • Tazallen

    Hello ALL!!!

    It still looks good after all these years!!!!! Build it again (a modern version) and they will come!!!

    Tazallen

  • Tracy

    Hi Guys, yes this car is/was one of the most coolest looking cars ever made. It’s a top five in my book for the most bitchinest muscle cars ever. Dodge should rename the current Charger something else and make a retro Charger with TWO doors and hide away headlights and a tail that features two round tail lights per side, I can see it now, what a killer machine it would be. Now if they were to do this I think keeping the colors to maybe five, Black, Dark Green, Dark Blue, Light Blue, and a color to be voted on by the Dodge faithful. This way 5000 could be made of each color for a total of 25000. Now if this is too many to build drop the number to 4000 each and 20000 total.

  • 440

    Tracy,
    I wish they could make this exact car today !! I mean exactly the same,but new bumper regulations ect..wont allow it..I do have a 68 Charger for sale soon…My 69 is almost done…also a 73 Challenger done up like a 70 R/T and a 68 Chrysler 300 all 440′s of coarse….

    Sublime,
    Not all Charger’s had 4 wheel drum brakes,I bought 4 of 68-69′s only 1 had drums from the factory a low optioned 383 2 bbl car….many had disks and they stopped from 60 mph in 120 ish feet !!! Todays car territory !! Even power drum brakes stopped very good,extremely touchy,throw you through the windshield braking power…its the non power drum brakes that get dicey…

    SweDane
    My dad bought a 383 Magnum four barrel 68 Charger new,and never,ever had a problem with it..no rattles,squeaks drove straight,stopped straight ect.everything always worked properly…..and haulled a** beat his buddies ss 396 350 hp Chevelle all day long !! He sold it when I was a little kid,guess that turned me into a Mopar guy…He had over 130,000 miles on it with no major repairs,he also owned many other new Mopars from the 60′s and 70′s and build quality was good,no leaks,no rattles,everything always worked properly..You cant compare a old one you buy today and think it was built like that,because most now are built from 10 different cars..these old Mopars were solid,rattle free cars !!

  • moparman

    “its the non power drum brakes that get dicey… ”

    Yeah, you got that right. My ’69 was originally a 318 car, but when I got it, it had been converted to a 440, but still had the 4 wheel, non-powered, drum brakes. Man, you didn’t know which way you were gonna go when you hit the brakes!

    I bought a set of disc brakes for it and had them isntalled in literally less than an hour. Now she stops on a dime (so fast I stalled the motor when I was testing them).

  • The Misunderstood

    They drove like they drank way too much coke, and went straight like they were on coke.

  • 440

    moparman,
    Yep, the non power drums were fun if you liked to either do 180′s or 360′s in a panic stop !! The power 4 wheel drums, I found stop straight but after 4-5 hard braking from high speed in a row,they tend to lose power,brake fade.I found that out racing around town when I was younger, in my teens…put disks on the front and never had brake fade again,and yep my engine stalled too on one of them !!! Cant complain because it stops so,so good !!

  • Bruce Robertson

    I always thought it looked more like a women laying on her side. Coca-Cola is a mighty fine beverage but I’ll take the woman over coke any day.

  • Tracy

    Hey 440, I bet it could be made to look just like they did in 1968-70. Crash bumpers and all. Come on Dodge this is AMERICA we put a man on the moon 41 yrs ago I think you guys could build a Charger that looks exactly like a 68-70 did. 440 I bet if someone took an old Charger that was on it’s last leg and had some super car builder fill in name here. and gave him the idea he’d have it up and going in no time. We have alot of great builders making some of the coolest machines on the road and inside of trailors, I could just see it now. Maybe someone will buy your 68 and do just what I’ve said. Sure wish I had that kind of talent, I’ve got the ideas just a little short on talent. I’d classify myself as a good mechanic with good ideas just not the know how to get it all done. Well enjoy. Tracy

  • moparman

    Mr Norm could do it, I have no doubt. That guy is very talented. Or Hennessee Performance maybe. Probably plenty of others too, but those are the ones that come to mind first.

  • Tracy

    Moparman, I knew it could be done, and by a couple of well known names. That would be something to see come from a shop that could get the job done. There’s another shop that works on Mopars, Pure Vision I believe is the name, some of their stuff is real awsome. Hopefully someone will here about this idea and make one on their own, and show Dodge just what it could look like and tell them how it was done. I get a kick out of throwing ideas out here on the board, to bad the Dodge Boys don’t like to ever answer our questions. Take it easy, Tracy

  • mopar5150

    I put my ’68 charger body onto a 2007 SRT8 Magnum chassis to do just that. Modern technology and classic looks.
    Plum Floored Creations in Arizona will build one for you.

    here is a link to the photos at lxforums
    http://www.lxforums.com/board/album.php?albumid=977

  • The Snowman

    ….isn’t nice to live in the past.

  • SUBLIME

    Snowman, we aren’t living in the past, there are just some things that were made that can never be topped and the 1968-70 Chargers are one of them. I thought for sure the “snowman” would love the “coke” shaped body of the Charger.

  • 440

    mopar5150,

    I guess its good to know that the current underpinnings of a lx car will fit the old Charger,if Chrysler can retool the old Charger to look the same,I mean the same…have a production line of new 2010 Charger’s that look the same as the picture above it would be great…but I think current law and regulations would alter the look of the car….

    I think what people want is a New factory built,warranty,new 1968-69 Dodge Charger,exact copy of it…say a 1969 looking Charger all new factory build from scratch for 2011…

    Bet its pretty costly to have a old Charger put on a new chassis…The old Charger’s actually handle extrememly good,and with just rebuilding the original suspension with thicker sway bars,beefier torsion bars these cars handle like a new Challenger SRT-8 !! Or better,mine sticks to the corners like its on glue,plus the torsion bar front suspension I just go under the car and in 4 minutes adjust the ride height of the front end,I lower it so the top of the fender is just barely covering the top of the front tire,even on a stock C-body it makes them stick to the corners 10 times better..I never had issues with old technology for reliability,actually easier to work on,no computer,sensors to throw you off,add gas,if you have spark they start..plus the sound of an old big block Mopar is second to none !! The starter sound every Mopar guy loves,you know its a Mopar from an ear shot away…

  • IndyRider

    All I know is that these vintage pics rock. Similar to the pics of the NASCAR pit crew with t shirts, cig hanging out of the mouth, putting gas in the car during the race.

    Classic stuff. Remember your history students! And dig the present! SRT8 and RT offerings of the present, past, and future.

    Sorry, but every time I walk into the garage, I say “DAMN, THAT IS A FINE AUTOMOBILE!!”
    SRT8 owner, 2010.
    Thank you Dodge.

  • PlumKrz70

    I agree IndyRider! I love the look and styling of my ’07 Plum Crazy Daytona. It sits in my garage next to my ’70 Plum Crazy Charger R/T. I get to see both side by side every day. Four doors or two doors, they are both mighty fine Mopar machines.
    I’ll be curious to see the new 2011 Charger.

    RLD – Any news a date for the release of the 2011?

  • djnetboy

    The truth of the matter is: no matter how cool we may think it looks now due to it’s popularization from “Dukes” and various movies (and the model not being in production anymore), the 68-70 Charger was not that unique back then. Every car was huge back then and most vehicles were designed not far off from the 68 even a few years prior to it’s release. The design wasn’t that jaw dropping back when most of the vehicles were the same huge body size and weight. Chargers handled like a boat, were slow as a slug in comparison to the mustang and other muscle cars of the day, and sucked gas to the point that even back then you had to be pretty well off to afford to drive one. Even considering that most cars were not fuel efficient back then, they drank gas way more than other cars of the day. It is also an absolute fact that they were one of the slowest sellers for the decade and the mustang and camero were each selling twice what the Charger was and for good reason. The 68-70 model of charger is no better than the current model. Better than the 80′s . . . absolutely Yes, but to say that it is “better” than the current model is not really fair given the innovations that the new model has and is simply not accurate. Could they both be called muscle cars? Yes just like an apple and an orange can both be called fruits. They are still too different though and to grade one above the other is not fair just like saying the new Charger is better than the 69-70 one simply because it would absolutely smoke the 69-70 model on the track. :)

  • SUBLIME

    djnetboy, obviously you didn’t live back then or you drove a 318 Charger. My friend had a ’69 HEMI Charger and we beat everything on the street. I own two 440 six pack road runners that I have had since the 80s and nobody has beat them as well. I don’t know what you are smoking but those cars were awesome. Yeah, the fit and finish was poor, but all the car makers made them so they would fall apart so you would have to buy a new car every couple of years to keep the economy going. We all knew that. My six pack road runners get 12-14 mpg when my 2004 HEMI Ram gets only 10-11 in the city. I thought they did alright for a three speed automatic. By the way, my road runners can smoke any new Camaro, Mustang, Challenger, or Charger off the line any day. The new cars are going to get me on the highway because I only have three speeds and quarter mile rear end gears. At any rate, the new Charger is probably the best looking sedan on the market, however, the old Chargers look much better and you know it.

  • HEMIhead

    Sublime, I agree. I wish I had 1 roadrunner. My favorite
    car of all time! Loved Plymouth. Any Mopar back then
    Looked way better than anything on the road at the time. And
    yes, they were fast! What puzzles the hell out of
    me is that the fuel economy on V8′s is no better today
    than way back then? I guess if you got 8 cylinders, you’re
    gonna burn fuel.

  • SUBLIME

    HEMIhead, you are correct except that the MDS in my 2010 Plum Crazy Challenger really works. I am getting 14-16 mpg driving around town under 45 mph in stop and go traffic (worst conditions). I just have a 372hp R/T automatic and a new Shelby Mustang GT 500 barley beat me and they are supposed to have 540hp. If I reprogrammed the computer, I may have beat him and if I change out the rear end to a 3.73 or taller gears, who knows. Maybe not, why void the warranty and get a speeding ticket. Its pretty quick and gets good gas mileage, why mess it up. I will pull out the road runner if I really want to go fast.

  • HEMIhead

    Sublime, get yourself a predator $289 from shophemi.com (wanna give my support to Arringtons). It will wake that baby up! I have MDS on my 5.7 Top Banana Charger Daytona, and
    yes it does work. I was mostly commenting on the V8 industry as a whole. My problem with
    MDS is that I can’t seem to keep my right foot off the hammer! I love the sound of that thing.
    Mopars are just Awesome. Have fun with all of yours!!!!

  • SUBLIME

    HEMIhead, do you still run regular unleaded or do you have to run superunleaded when you use the predator?

  • SUBLIME

    HEMIhead, there was a Top Banna sitting in the showroom when they first came out and I was so close to buying one. They didn’t have any discounts at the time (or my dealer was being a jerk) at any rate that shade of yellow looks better than the detonator yellow they put on the Challengers. I guess it is just a personal thing, but those are cool cars. I am curious to see what the new Charger will look like. Maybe they will surprise us with something cool, maybe not. They need to contract those designers who created the new Challenger. I will be honest with you, if they changed the cars every few years and made them look better, then I would trade in my car and buy a new one more often. Dodge holds onto the same design for too long and then just offers new paint colors. The Japanese and Korean car makers change theirs all the time. Hopefully, the Fiat/Chrysler alliance will remain intact for a few years so Chrysler can stay current with their car line. I will be honest with you, I am surprised they have held onto as much of the marketshare as they have with the same old stuff they have on the lots.

  • HEMIhead

    Sublime, there are preset tunes in the predator to select. Or if you can get a dyno run and send your results to Diablo or go to an authorized Diablo Tuner, they can make a custom tune for you and upload it to your predator to use. When you get the predator there are 91 Octane, 91 CAI tune, 93 Octane, 93 CAI, tunes already on there for you. (CAI – Cold Air Intake). You can also just modify your stock tune. It will save and back up your factory tune for you, and it takes 10 seconds to put it back on before you take it to the dealer for service. I run the 91 Octane tune, as I have my stock air box on, I like the look of that better than the CAI’s. I am gonna get a AFE Pro-Dry air filter for it. It’s free flowing with synthetic material and uses no oil on the filter. (oil can destroy your IAT sensor due to contamination). I can’t get 93 octane here, so I have to run the 91. Yes, if you want to run these tunes than you have to buy the higher octane due to detonation when the predator advances the timing and such.
    But all that aside, it’s definitely the best bank for your buck. The one modification I would buy first. Besides, you’ll need the predator if you want to add headers, cam, different size wheels, etc.. This thing does it all. I don’t mind the cost of fuel, I only drive it about 12 times a year. Trying to keep it for my boys to enjoy when they grow up. I love the car. Total awesomeness!
    I didn’t buy it new, it’s an ’06 that was a returned lease to the dealer. I couldn’t afford the $40k
    for a new one when they first came out. But I was keeping an eye on those because I loved the yellow and black combo. When I saw this car I had to have it. Everybody always asks me about it when I take it out for a spin. Every time I start it in the garage I can’t stop smiling! Thanks DODGE!

  • SUBLIME

    HEMIhead, thanks for the information. I have the Mopar CAI and SRT larger tires on the back. Do you think that would make enough difference where I would have to retune in? I guess it can’t hurt.

  • HEMIhead

    Sublime, you wouldn’t have a problem with wider rear tires as long a the diameter is the same. If you went from 18″ to 20″ you would need to compensate for that. As a matter of fact, if you put 20′s on, your check engine light will come on a after a few drives because the cars computer doesn’t know what’s wrong as the speed sensor on the wheel picks up the difference in the turning rate (due to larger wheels) and what the speed should be. As for rear end gears, you need a reprogram because your car will just go into “Limp” mode because it don’t know what has changed or what you did. It calculates the output shaft speed from the tranny and when it compares it to the wheel speed it doesn’t know what’s going on. So that’s why the predator should be the number 1 purchase. Get your engine broken in properly (as per owners manual), get the predator and put a CAI tune on and I am telling you it’ll blow your mind. Awesome stuff! Best dollar for dollar value modification on the market. Best part is you can always return it to stock at anytime.

  • SUBLIME

    HEMIhead, sounds good. I will order one today. I don’t want to do too much to the car because I am hoping that Dodge will come out with a 6.4 liter or 392 HEMI with MDS and 3.73 gears next year in sublime. We shall see. Maybe they will have the 8 speed automatic available and then we won’t have to worry about gears and bog. Thanks again!

  • Lantz

    Yes the 68-69 Chargers were absolute knockouts. I was 16 yrs. old in 1974 and we ALL drove awesome American muscle in high schools, accept for the surfers who liked their VWs. The new Charger should have been called a Coronet and come in both a 4-door and 2-door like in the old days. I happen to own a 68 Coronet convertible with 383 4bbl. My car came with the 4-wheel 11″ HD power drum brakes.

  • http://randomgriffith.wordpress.com/ Jaxong

    Always thought this modern sedan version of the Charger should be called Polara, and that it would give Dodge the latitude to build a hotter coupe version, which could be called a Charger. Then again, I think the fratzog is a pretty cool logo, so what do I know?

  • Ramrod