I’d like to imagine that I found and shot this curbside Charger, as I’ve been on the prowl for one since this treasure hunt began. Bu it was shot and posted by LeSabrethoothTiger, which I believe makes it likely to be the New York area. These gen1 Charger are a bit of an odd duck; they’re both so compelling at yet not just quite right either. Well, putting a big fastback roof on a Dodge Coronet body is liable to create a bit of a split personality. At the time this Charger was new, I was working at a little gas station owned by a cab company, meaning a sea of yellow Coronets. But no, this is no taxi.
I’m not exactly wild about the shed-roof hood scoop, but then this is how these cars often ended up. And I like it better like this than if it had been perfectly restored; it’s a period piece. The badge on the fender says “383”; no wonder it got this kind of attention. These Chrysler B-Bodies suited guys who were a bit more, a, visceral than average. Maybe that’s a stereotype. But during my time in Maryland from 1965 – 1971, it seems like a disproportionate number of young guys who had moved to Baltimore from the sticks and even further south, because that’s where the jobs where, tended to drive Mopar B-Bodies. They were Southern Boys, and they liked their Mopars, and fast at that.
These were that, and tough and big. They weren’t really mid-sized cars like the Chevelle and Fairlane; these sat on a 117″ wheelbase, just two inches shy of an Impala’s. The B-Body started out as a full-sized car, in 1962, even if it was a bit shorter than the competition.
Which of course explains why they were so popular as cabs: they were big enough to be considered “full-size” in that role; nobody was running Chevelles and Fairlanes as taxis back then. But they were cheaper than a big Chevy or Ford; and tougher.
So why am I talking about taxis instead of the Charger? Well, the credibility factor on this big fastback was a bit hard to swallow, especially since it cost a good chunk more than a Coronet 500. Too much so, which explains why this gen1 Charger was a bit of sales dud. Unlike the cheaper and yet more distinctive 1968 version that replaced it, and became an icon. And could even be had with the slant six, unlike these, which were V8 only. A Dodge Coronet coupe seemed more honest, and a bit less affected.