1968 Dodge Charger R

It was the fall of 1967, and for the 1968 model year, Dodge introduced the all-new second-generation Charger that was an instant hit with car buyers and would eventually become an iconic symbol of the muscle car era. The appealing “Coke® bottle” flank profile accentuated by twin door scallops and a faux fastback appearance with the popular long-hood, short-deck look differentiated the Charger from the rest of the 1968 offerings. For 1968, Dodge started the successful Dodge Fever campaign, and for many, the fever was severe. A prospective buyer could check off the desired performance options when ordering a new Dodge, work out the terms for a manageable down payment and monthly installments, and drive out with one of the bumblebee striped Dodges. If a twin tail striped Charger R/T was purchased, the new owner now owned one of the “five from the hive” Dodges, which included the Swinger 340, Dart 340 GTS, Coronet R/T, Super Bee, and the Charger R/T. Picking up one of these Dodges authorized the owner to “Run with the Dodge Scat Pack,” which was always a cure for the fever.

Ronnie Stocks of Southaven, Mississippi was one of the lucky few to catch the fever in 1968. While in Vietnam, Ronnie had the opportunity to see previews of the production Charger in various magazines traded between soldiers of the 1st Cavalry Division, and he was hooked. It was the sleek lines that piqued Ronnie’s interest in the Charger. In the mid-60s, Ronnie had read about the formidable power of the 426 Hemi, and he was impressed with the attention the engine received. Ronnie decided if he was going to get a Charger R/T why not have the most powerful bullet installed between the frame rails. He got serious about getting the Charger, so he had his father send the latest Dodge brochures about the Charger offerings, and he quickly made his decision about the Charger, but where he was located in Vietnam, there wasn’t a post exchange (PX). An order could not be processed, so Ronnie had his father relay a dealer order form, and Ronnie selected the options he wanted. The order form was sent back to his parents, and his father took the paperwork to the local Dodge dealership. Two weeks before Ronnie arrived home, a beautiful MM1 bronze Charger R/T sporting a black vinyl top and uncharacteristically missing the easily recognizable bumblebee stripes arrived at Fort Dodge, Inc. in Memphis, Tennessee (Ronnie’s hometown in 1968). On June 8, 1968, a mere twelve hours after arriving from overseas, Ronnie picked up the Hurst stirred four-speed Hemi Charger R/T.

For the first few months of ownership, Ronnie made many high-speed trips between Memphis and Fort Campbell, Kentucky until he was discharged from the service. From that point, the Charger was designated a daily driver status, and it was drag raced at Lakeland International Raceway on the weekends. The Charger was slowly modified as the 15” x 6” steel wheels gave way to Cragar GT mags. The factory exhaust manifolds were swapped for a pair of Hooker headers, and the factory coil was replaced by a Mallory coil followed by an Accel coil. The massive valve cover’s black crinkle paint was removed and a little flash was added when the valve covers were chromed. Ronnie removed the R/T badges from the Charger, and that coupled with the bumblebee stripe delete led to many surprised would-be street challengers thinking they were picking on a feeble 318 or temperate 383 instead of an awe-inspiring pachyderm.