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A 1968 Charger That Checks All The Boxes

HOT ROD logo HOT ROD 7/27/2018 Hot Rod Network Staff
1968-dodge-charger-01

He spotted the classic Mopar along his delivery route and the rest is history.

Troy Bolton, a UPS driver for over 30 years now, spotted this very original 1968 Charger in the driveway of a customer on his route. Upon delivering the package, the customer asked Bolton if he wanted to buy his car. Bolton was well aware of the Charger, the current owner having driven the car every day in his northern California neighborhood. It took only a short time to make the sale.

"I had designs on putting some big tires under the car and modifying the suspension to make it handle better than stock," said Bolton. "Even though the car was matching numbers from the engine to the rear end, it did not have the original fender trim tag that states the car's true history. For that reason, I planned to paint it red, slam it to the ground, and build a crazy engine."

Things were to change quite quickly when after three months of driving the car, the engine began to lose oil pressure at idle—a sure sign that the engine was on its last revolutions. With a tired engine, Bolton parked the car in his garage for 17 years. In the meantime, he raised kids, bought two houses, got divorced, and put the Mopar up for sale several times. It was while a future owner was making payments that he found a "missing link" in the car's history.

That missing fender trim tag showed up quite unannounced one day when he got a letter from a recently retired member of the military whose mother had recently died. In her things, he found the Charger's fender tag and tracked Bolton down through the DMV. The two met in San Francisco, the midpoint between them, and made the hand off.

"That was quite a surprise for me." proclaimed Bolton. "It was a missing piece of the puzzle that led to my researching the Charger's true lineage. It turns out that it is only one of 259 383-cid Magnum-equipped four-speed manual transmission '68 Chargers. From that point on, it was clear that I was destined to return the car to its original condition."

Mopar trim tags denote the original equipment added to the vehicle at the time of the build. These tags were simply screwed to the driver-side fenderwell with a pair of pan head screws. With the exception of taking liberties with the exterior color (the car was originally Turbine Bronze Metallic) Bolton's Charger sports all of the original content.

The Charger's restoration was actually well underway when Bolton received the trim tag, so he decided to stay the course with the R-4 Red exterior and changed from the original Black to the current Pearl White interior upholstery. Mike Estournes of Lakeville Auto Body in Petaluma, California, is responsible for the paint taking seven months to perfect the body and apply the paint. The assembly of the car took another two years to complete with Bolton and his wife, Rebecca, taking their time to get things just right. Bolton's Charger is a striking example of one of the most recognized shapes in muscle car history.

"I spent a huge amount of time researching and then tracking down the right parts to return this car to 'better than original' condition," stated Bolton. "Every panel has been massaged to fit, the only non-original body panel being the front driver-side fender, which took some time to get it perfect."

Clearly Bolton's desire to make this car perfect has been achieved. Awards from its first outing at the Southern California-based 2018 Spring Fling are just the beginning of the accolades headed his way. Certainly few would've figured that the Charger he spotted along his route and then "stored" for 17 years in his garage would ever achieve this result. It just goes to show you, Troy Bolton can deliver—in many ways—with the help of a few good friends and family.

Fast Facts

1968 Dodge Charger

Troy Bolton, Petaluma, Ca

ENGINE

Type: 383-cid Magnum, 335 hp

Bore x stroke: 4.280 (bore) x 3.380 (stroke)

Block: factory OE block 0.030-inch over bore

Rotating assembly: TRW Forged pistons, factory forged crankshaft and rebuilt connecting rods

Compression: 10.5:1

Cylinder heads: factory original port-matched and bowl-blended, over-size 2.19-inch intake and 1.88-inch exhaust

Camshaft: Comp Cams 0.525 Lift, 275-degree duration, Engine Dynamics custom valve and Comp Cams valvetrain

Induction: factory intake manifold with original Cart AFB 4-BBL carburetor

Oiling system: Factory original components

Exhaust: ceramic coated factory exhaust manifolds, original exhaust

Ignition: factory original CD ignition

Cooling: factory original cooling components

Engine built by: Engine Dynamics, Petaluma, CA

DRIVETRAIN

Transmission: Dodge A-833 New Process four-speed

Shifter: Hurst four-speed shifter

Driveshaft: stock factory-restored to original

Rearend: stock Chrysler 8.3/4 with 3:23: ratio with Sure-Grip

CHASSIS

Suspension: stock Chrysler

Steering: stock power steering box

Front brakes: stock Chrysler disc brakes

Rear brakes: stock Chrysler drum brakes

Wheels: Wheel Vintiques reproduction wheels

Tires: Diamond Back Red Lines, matching factory spec

 

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