Some people probably called it perfection. Others likely cried ""blasphemy!"" But one thing's certain, when MoPar dealer Tom Kneer decided to commemorate the newly minted Cincinnati Bengals football team with a run of special edition Chargers, it made for a great story. And when it comes to premium collector cars, appeal is directly linked to story.
A SPRINKLE OF NFL, A SPLASH OF MDOT AND A DASH OF R/T Even in today's world of diverse automotive performance and varied fanbases, sports and muscle cars go hand in hand. Head out to any NFL game and you're sure to see a large number of Chargers, Challengers, Mustangs and Camaros posted up at tailgate parties across the city. Whether it was a flash of brilliant marketing or simply an enthusiastic fan honoring America's biggest sport, MoPar dealer Tom Kneer decided he wanted to mix two of his favorite things. When a longtime friend told Tom he was starting an AFL franchise for their hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio, Kneer decided to pull a few strings and commemorate the occasion. He secured the name and colors for the team before they were released to the public and promptly got on the horn to Chrysler's corporate offices. See, if Tom was going to pull off his new Bengal Charger, he needed the cars to be some shade of orange. Chrysler agreed and generously offered up custom pigment they had created for the Michigan Department of Transportation's various fleet rigs. There was only one catch: Chrysler needed an order of at least 50 cars to justify the expense. Tom quickly agreed and spec-ed up 50 freshly redesigned 1968 Chargers with ""Tiger Orange"" paint, Black vinyl tops and various sets of options. Chrysler had also created a snazzy new R/T stripe that they thought would be a cool addition, and Tom went about finding a Cincinnati local to stamp 100 chrome ""Bengal Charger"" badges that would be installed at the dealership. Not surprisingly, Tom Kneer Dodge sold all 50 Charger Bengal Edition cars before the Cincinnati Bengals ever played their first game. And today, only three of these exclusive MoPars are known to still exist.
1968 was a notable year in Western pop culture. Elvis made his greatest comeback, America enjoyed its first Big Mac, and Dodge released what is probably the most fabled muscle car of its long history of performance. Sure, you really can't go wrong driving any Charger. But when it comes to popularity, few will argue the incredible significance of a '68 or '69-spec B-Body. At the front of this cat, a silver-trimmed grille hangs ornate Charger emblems above a guarded bumper, fratzog-branded parking lamps and a factory-style tag. A sculpted hood tilts correct turn indicators opposite stainless wipers, which clear a factory-tint greenhouse that's reflected in a correct driver's mirror. At the sides of that glass, a broad-shouldered profile anchors chrome Chrysler door handles between stainless rockers, small markers and a familiar Flip-Top Fuel Filler. And out back, a second guarded bumper splits jet-style taillights, more vivid Charger emblems and rowdy exhaust tips.
NOT EVERYONE WANTED A BIG BLOCK
Tom Kneer was in the business of selling cars and, despite what the collector car market might indicate at this point in time, not everyone wanted a fire-breathing big block. Bengal Chargers varied in option and displacement, with most examples receiving 318 power and some even sporting Chrysler's stalwart 225 slant six. This coupe was one of the lucky few to be equipped with 383 cubic inches of storied Magnum V8! At the top of that Turquoise mill, an Organisol-coated air cleaner dumps wind through a familiar Carter 4-barrel, which is propped on a factory, cast iron intake. That induction works well with factory heads, which tilt painted valve covers under painted breathers. At the front of those heads, a hot distributor sequences spark through 7mm Hi-Temp Radio Suppression Cables. Pliable V-belts spin a factory AC compressor between factory exhaust manifolds. Cooling comes courtesy of a big MoPar radiator. And everything, from the car's factory brake booster to the mill's Turquoise oil pan, looks great inside a clean, body-matched engine bay.
Behind the smooth 383, a proven A727 3-speed twists torque through a tough Chrysler 8.75-inch axle. That drivetrain rides a sturdy factory suspension, which centers a requisite K-member between a beefy sway bar, familiar torsion bars and smooth Monroe shocks. Turns are tightened by optional power steering. Stops are greatly improved by optional power front disc and rear drum brakes. Exhaust rolls from large-diameter pipes to throaty, dual-chamber mufflers. And at the corners of this Charger's undercoated floors, chrome Magnum 500s spin 225/70R14 Hankook Optimos.
THE HIGH SIDE OF HANDSOME
Inside this awesome Dodge, correct Black vinyl hugs correct factory buckets that are complemented by a standard rear bench. In front of those thrones, a squared dash hangs correct telemetry, complete with a Tic-Toc-Tach, next to correct air conditioning and a Dodge Solid State radio that's correctly outfitted with cool thumbwheels and an 8-track player. Plush carpet floats exclusive Bengal Charger floor mats around a correct console that's topped by a handsome shifter. Fade-free side panels hide correct power windows beneath a tight headliner. And turns are matched by an attractive Chrysler Rallye Wheel.
Pedigreed, exclusive and ready to parade, this magazine-featured Charger is an excellent chance for any serious enthusiast to score a world class collector car. Only 50 of these legendary coupes rolled out of Tom Kneer's showroom, and only three survived to become coveted collectibles. Looking for the ultimate homage to the 'Golden Age' of the automobile industry? Find it now at https://www.RKMotors.com!
Documented, well-optioned Dodge Charger Bengal Edition that's been featured in Muscle Car Review
1 of only 50 Chargers created by Tom Kneer Dodge to celebrate the creation of the Cincinnati Bengals
1 of only 3 Dodge Charger Bengal Editions known to still exist
Correct 383 cubic inch Magnum V8
Correct A727 3-speed automatic transmission
Correct Chrysler 8.75-inch rear axle
Correct optional air conditioning
Factory power steering
Correct optional power front disc and rear drum brakes
Correct Black vinyl interior with correct optional bucket seats and a correct optional console
Correct optional tachometer and a correct optional rear window defogger
Correct optional 8-track radio with a correct optional rear seat speaker
Rallye Steering Wheel and correct Charger Bengal Edition floor mats
Correct optional power windows
Correct Tiger Orange paint that was custom ordered by Tom Kneer Dodge
Correct Black vinyl top and correct Black R/T stripes
14-inch Magnum 500 wheels
Copy of the car's Broadcast Sheet
Vintage ownership documents
Copy of the car's Muscle Car Review feature
CFL Auto Appraisal Report
All RK Motors vehicles receive a comprehensive, multi-point inspection
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