I Wuz Just Thinking: Return of the Charger

The General Lee from The Dukes of Hazard was a 1969 Dodge Charger. Photo: Old Cars Weekly

The Dodge Chargers from 1968 and ’69 remain as two of the most popular muscle cars to ever hit the highway.

I sit here and reflect back to a few weeks ago.  I wuz jus thinking of our spending some time with son, Jeff Baker, his wife, and their two beautiful daughters ages 15 and 12, who were visiting Kilgore from the Chicago area.

There was a purpose for their being here.  Not only visiting with his dad, Jimmy Baker, and myself and two of his brothers, but it seems the main purpose was an old car!

To me, I do not understand boys and men and their obsession of old automobiles.  I never understood all that talk of “muscle cars”, their parts and size engines, “bumble bee stripes”, tachometer, wheel base, horse power, Hemi, etc.

Betty Mahurin Baker

Now, I did watch some old movies that featured the 1968 and 1969 Dodge Chargers.  Stephen King’s movie, Christine used a 1968, and The Dukes of Hazzard  roared around the country in a 1969 Charger. In Steve McQueen’s movie, “Bullett,” he drove a mustang and the bad folks drove the 1968 black Charger.

I learned that in 1968, the base price for the Charger decreased from the year before to start at $3,040. Standard features included full carpeting, a three-spoke steering wheel and the concealed headlights that had become a trademark for the Charger.

To be more exact about the excitement for the 1968 Dodge Charger, “the R/T (Road/Track) package was introduced for 1968 and was known as part of Dodge’s “Scat Pack” line, and also were available as special models of the Coronet, Super Bee and Dart. Importantly for the Charger, the car came standard with the 440 Magnum engine which produced 350 horsepower. The car also featured special “bumble-bee” stripes, which were two thin stripes that surrounded two thicker stripes.

“Base models included a 318 CID V8 that produced 230 horsepower, and this could also be upgraded to a 2-barrel or 4-barrel version of the 383 CID V8 rated at 290 and 330 horsepower, respectively. But as it had been since the introduction of the Charger, the top of the line option was the 426 CID Street Hemi, which was rated at 425 horsepower.”

I do understand that many fathers want to have a special project of working on an old automobile to restore while bonding with their sons.

In Jeff’s family, our son and his two daughters are excited to begin restoring this old 1968 Dodge Charger, not only to spend quality time together but also so they can ride around in their town to show it off.

Now, I think I better understand the excitement of taking this 1968 Charger back home with them. This old model Charger has sat in his brother’s backyard for many, many years.

The transporter vehicle came this past week to pick it up and take to the Chicago area.

Today, I googled the prices for the 1968 Dodge Chargers….ones in really rough condition and the fully restored ones.  My oh my….I think I can not even count that high…as I wuz jus thinking.

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