In the late 1960s to 1970s, every car manufacturer with a muscle car or two under its belt strived to dominate NASCAR. There was cut-throat competition to make the most powerful cars. This led to some cars being incredibly successful and even turning into timeless icons while others never even made it to the NASCAR races and were forgotten before they had their chance in the limelight. The Dodge Charger 500 is one such casualty.
In 1968, the Dodge Charger had a new body style. The car makers indented the rear window and the grille, which made the car a horrible racer. Despite this, the car still sold decently and won awards.
In those days, NASCAR only allowed stock cars to race. For a car to be considered “stock”, over 500 of them had to have been sold. Dodge’s selection for that year’s NASCAR was the “Charger 500”. They made its grill flush with the hood’s leading edge and filled the cavity at the rear, hoping that this would solve the car’s issues.
Dodge officially unveiled it in June 1968. They shipped unfinished versions of the car to Creative Industries, who installed the rear window plug, front spoiler, grille and more. Dodge made the car available with the 426 Hemi engine. They sold it at a base price of $3,843 without the Hemi.
Dodge never built and sold the five hundred Charger 500s they were supposed to; instead, they only sold around 392. And none of those were ever raced. Dodge replaced the car with the Charger Daytona, which had a massive wind and a nosecone. They sold 503 of them, and these have become collector’s cars.
The Charger 500 is undeniably the rarer of the cars. And people are taking note. In 2014, a Charger 500 sold at an auction for $181,500.
The car never made it to NASCAR, and few people know about it. Its history is sad and it was not an excellent racer, but it still deserves its place among the classic muscle cars.
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