"Best Ever." Seems like we've seen that term used a lot to describe the '68 Dodge Charger. Starting with Ma Mopar's sales-number-counters, who saw the '68s sales easily top those of the wedge-fastback '66s and '67s combined, totaling some 96,100 Chargers and new-for-'68 Charger R/Ts-a total which would only be topped by Charger's biggest-ever sales year of 1973.
But, how do you improve on the best? If you're XV Motorsports, you continue the work started with their two E-Body Challengers and apply it to the larger B-Body platform.
To begin this project, XV Motorsports started with a '68 Charger, took it apart down to its bare, cold-rolled-steel unibody, and made an already stiff body even more resistant to the twisting effects of the road and engine torque. That meant adding an engine compartment brace, laser-cut subframe connectors, a front lower frame support/radiator crossmember, and an inner fender shock tower brace-all of them designed, engineered and made by XV Motorsports.
Once the Charger's unibody was reinforced, XV then added its Level II Suspension package. Up front, their own aluminum K-member replaced the stock steel one, and onto it went much more of their developed-in-house hardware: Aluminum upper and lower A-arms, aluminum spindles, adjustable coil-over shocks, a custom front anti-roll bar with billet mounts, plus a quick-ratio, variable-rate power steering rack and an adjustable bumpsteer kit.
In back, XV added their three-link billet aluminum lower links and adjustableupper link, an adjustable Panhard bar, plus-like in front-a custom anti-roll bar and a pair of adjustable coil-over shocks.
Sounds a lot like what went under their Challengers, doesn't it? "A bunch of the components are interchangeable (between E-Body and B-Body applications), just like the stock stuff," says XV's John Buscema. "As far as the package for handling, they're different." John spells out the main differences between their B-Body and E-Body suspension packages: "They have different shock valving and spring rates. All of this stuff was four-post tested and track tested. So, the spring rates and shock valving are specific to each platform."
Modern-day 600hp Hemi displaces...
Modern-day 600hp Hemi displaces 6 liters (366 cubic inches) and is nestled beneath XV's shock-tower reinforcing bar.
All that chassis hardware would go great with any of the engines that Ma Mopar plugged into the '68 Charger at Hamtramck or St. Louis-everything from the 318-inch LA-series small-block to the 426 Hemi. But XV wanted this Charger to have an even more powerful and efficient powertrain. In went a 6.0L Hemi Magnum that they built, filling it with forged pistons and rods, XV's own main stud and head stud kits, and a performance camshaft and extended-rpm valvespring package. Also going on-during hand-assembly in XV Motorsports' Irvington, New York, shop-were their own-design single-plane intake manifold, billet aluminum EFI throttle body and oil pan, along with their custom-tuned electronic engine management system that boasts EFI and a distributorless, coil-on-plug ignition system.
Backing this Hemi is a first for an XV-built car: an automatic transmission. This four-speed-with-overdrive, electronically-controlled box uses XV's custom programming, and is stirred by a stock '68 shifter located in a custom floor console. Out back, XV added a heavy-duty 8 3/4-inch rear that was also built in-house, featuring alloy axle shafts, a Sure Grip differential with a heavy-duty clutch pack and 3.91:1 gears and synthetic gear lube, all inside a nodular iron centersection and black powdercoated housing.
But wait-there's more! In each wheelwell, you'll find XV's Level II disc brake package (with 14-inch rotors and 6-piston calipers in front. 14-inch rotors/2-piston calipers in back, a Hydroboost booster, and stainless steel hard lines/ braided hoses), backing a set of three-piece forged Kinesis wheels and Y-speed-rated (to 186 mph) Michelin Pilot Sport tires.