The year 1968 found Dodge with a new Charger, a new attitude, and a new slogan. This was the Scat Pack, consisting of the biggest, baddest Dodge selection to ever roll off the assembly line to that date (Charger R/T, Coronet R/T, Dart GTS, and Super Bee).
A radical set of advertisements, a pair of stripes encircling the rear end (one journalist surmised that they ran too quick for the painter to get them on any sooner), and the hot 340, 383, and 440 Magnum engines made Mopar history that year. Add a Hemi to the new Coke-bottle-styled Charger and you had the sportiest model in Dodge City.
Times change, of course. Throughout the next few years, Chargers became even more radical, culminating in the '71 packages that featured all sorts of gizmos, trim, and options. For many Charger aficionados, however, the '68 model represented the cleanest models of the car's long run. For Matt Delaney, the '68 Hemi Charger he wanted to restore was going to need a donor car, and that's how this particular example, a clean, non-R/T that had left the factory with a 383 4V engine, ended up in his possession.
Matt, who lives in Shreveport, Louisiana, is no stranger to building heavy-duty street cars. At the time this transpired, he was rolling around in a 528-inch, fuel-injected '70 Hemi 'Cuda, but a trip to Las Vegas and a Viper rental car (you can rent anything in Vegas) changed his whole attitude.
"I was out there and rented a Viper just for fun," recalls 42-year-old Matt. "I couldn't believe how nice it ran, and it had loads of power. Right then, I thought, man, this thing would be great in a musclecar."
Soon after, the Hemi 'Cuda ended up on eBay and the solid Charger donor was suddenly going to get a new lease on life-one that could even put the original Scat Packs to shame. The classic would get a Viper V10 and transmission and would be built as the ultimate highway driver.
The idea was simple, but what ideas aren't? Execution would require some serious changes to the '68 dimensions. First and foremost, the engine with its two extra cylinders would need to fit under the hood. To that end, the entire firewall and trans tunnel was carefully cut below the rear cowl and tucked back 211/42 inches, taking 211/42 inches from the area at the back of the cut panel near the crossmember before welding it back together to make sure everything fit properly. The wiper motor was reversed and tucked inside, and a thinner-than-stock Griffin radiator was moved to the outside of the front cowl bracket; narrow electric fans would handle the cooling.
Of course, there was the problem with the K-frame as well, which had also been made to support a completely different engine. Though Magnum Force, who makes a tubular K-frame, was called on for the upper and lower control arms, the tube replacement under this car was custom-built by Brad Emmons and Gary Medders of B&M Performance in Bossier City, Louisiana, to clear the Viper oil pan.
The aluminum-block Viper engine, which was unmodified except for the K&N Filter Chargers, came from Mopar Performance via Viper Connection in Atlanta, who also supplied the accompanying six-speed transmission. To feed fuel to the beast, a 11/42-inch pickup was mounted in the gas tank and a fuel-pressure regulator mounted up front makes sure it doesn't starve for go-juice. A custom 211/42-inch exhaust system, built with stainless steel components and completely ceramic-coated by Aero Coatings in Oklahoma City, sends the exhaust rumble through Hooker Aerochamber mufflers before it exits in the stock location under the bumper.