"A Charger was the first car I ever went 100 mph in." Pat Flaherty, referencing his childhood ride in his dad's old '68 Hemi Charger.
The Hemi displaces a total of 472 inches thanks to a stroker crankshaft. The package has a
Bill Brownlie's design crew that created the second-generation Charger made what some have called a few errors in its execution; indeed, the styling itself proved to be anathema in the function department when NASCAR's pilots took the beasts above 160 mph. Nonetheless, that clean, deeply-inset grille and the flying buttress rear window still look good standing still. It will always remain classic.
Let's take a look at Pat Flaherty's Charger from this esthetic point of view. Chargers have come in a lot of colors, but for this rendition, Pat chose to use a silver hue, originally mixed for Mercedes, with PPG supplying the pigment and John Lanza doing the actual hard work of handling a run-free spray gun. Coupled with the chrome accents, black grille and Scat stripe, and red taillights, the car looks beautifully clean and raw.
With the help of Fatman Fabrications and Just Suspension, the Charger is lowered 2 inches
According to Pat, "My dad always had cars around, but by far the best was his '68 Hemi Charger; he bought it new in 1967. It was the first car I ever went 100 mph in. It was B5 blue, and he raced it at the now-closed 75-80 Dragway and won a lot of class trophies."
This Charger began life as a standard 383 example. The car's rework had been started by a police officer in Colorado, who decided it was going to take too much cash to bring it back to life. The sheetmetal replacement work had been finished, but the car was apart. In early 2006, Pat brought it home in pieces, and did just about all of the remaining work except the driveline and paint in his home garage.
Inside, the Charger got red vinyl skins from Legendary Auto Interiors, while the dash was sent out to Just Dashes for a full rebuild, including the factory tachometer. Pat installed a shift light as well, so he would know instantly when the engine is up in its 7,000-plus redline zone. A set of Autometer gauges mounted in a custom panel are positioned in the dash above the console to monitor the vital signs, and Pat gives a special thanks to Gary's Wheels in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, for the excellent appearance on the OE steering wheel.
Pat admits he enjoyed the handiwork more than anything; the car was a project that involved his sons Nick and Kurt, and he is already deciding what to do with his time now that this masterpiece is done.
'68 Dodge Charger
Car Owner: Pat Flaherty, Edgewater, Maryland
- Engine: Hemi power is a special breed; this engine began around fresh Mopar Performance pieces and a custom brew of specialized parts by Ray Barton Racing Engines. The Hemi displaces a total of 472-inches thanks to a stroker crankshaft. The package has a dyno sheet that shows 711 horsepower and a redline of 7,300 rpm; to appreciate all this horsepower fully, you would need to be cruising on the Autobahn. Pat chose to stick with the classic inline quads, using Edelbrock's latest version of the classic AFB, with Barton's crew porting, polishing and bench-flowing the top end. The internals are of Barton's own selection, and we can't get a lot of details, but with 711 horsepower, the right choices were made. The camshaft is a solid lifter design, and Barton's patented redesigned rocker gears tops off the valve train. MSD supplied the distributor and 6AL box, and the battery remains mounted under the hood. A complete 3-inch ceramic-coated tti exhaust system from headers to S/S tips rounds it out. It idles calmly until you get your foot into it...
- Transmission: Rick Allison and the guys at A&A set up a semi-competition TorqueFlite for the Charger, with heavy-duty internals and a reverse valve body. Frank Lupo and the crew at Dynamic custom built a torque converter for the application. It specs out at 9-inches in diameter, with a 3,900-stall. A Hurst shifter stirs it up.
- Differential: A 4.10 ring in a DTS-built Dana is bulletproof enough for the car to have no problems out back; DTS also supplied the axles and did the rear disc install on the housing.
- Suspension: In keeping with a more modern theme, Pat decided to give the car a few 21st century touches. For that, 2-inch drop spindles by Fat Man Fabrication, and two inch lowering springs courtesy of Just Suspension, with the one-inch tire variance giving the car a rakish look without the aggressive rear-lifted sometimes seen in this application. Giving the thoroughbred some highway functionality are Strange gas shocks.
- Brakes: Wilwood multi-piston discs are "hanging out" on all four corners
- Wheels and Rubber: To rake the car, 17-inch Wheel Vintiques Magnums up front and 18-inch Wheel Vintiques Magnums out back wrapped in road-worthy Nitto tires keeps it stuck to the interstate.
- Body: The Colorado body had already undergone some sheet-metal replacement, and John Lanza did the final prep before hitting with the spray gun.
- Paint: Lanza used PPG's 1990 Mercedes Silver to make the Charger into a platinum-appearing sculpture.
- Interior: After finishing the disassembly, the dash was re-done by Just Dashes, the wheel by Gary's, and the interior supplied by Legendary. Pat put it all together at home, adding a set of AutoMeter gauges and a shift light.