Beverly Gilbert's 1968 Dodge Charger

So you’re driving down the road as you drift back in time to an era when “Radical Change” was in the air and psychedelic color reigned. You can almost hear the strains of Iron Butterfly’s “In-da-gadda-da-vida” echoing in the background . . . that is until it’s drowned out by the awesome sound of a muscle car passing you at warp speed. The muscle car that just blew your doors off belonged to a 1968 Dodge Charger.

Okay, so I was just ten years old at the time. I knew I had a date with destiny. Six years later I was introduced to my fate. It all started rather harmlessly. I had a boyfriend who thought the greatest way to spend a weekend was to “cherry pick” a motor out of a car, drag it upstairs into the front room of an apartment, and tear it down and rebuild it. Being rather curious I’d inquire about the metal parts strewn about the room. I soon had quite a knowledge of the internal combustion engine. Of course, this motor was the heart of a ’68 Charger.

The boyfriend didn’t work out. A few years passed, however, and I picked up my first Charger, a 1966 version in white with a red interior. I think I paid $350. Then I sold it and bought a 1969 Charger that I lovingly referred to as the “Mock Pinto.” It was a light bronze color with a lot of primer spots. It did, however, have a beautiful tan vinyl top and interior that I complemented by painting the car a metallic shade of brown that I had seen on a Datsun 240Z. My license plates read “VW EATER” because of my car’s immense size. Of course, any recently painted car falls under the spell of Murphy’s Law and mine was no exception. My roommate’s car rolled down the driveway and struck my car squarely mid-ships. (And the judge didn’t hold her liable because she wasn’t behind the wheel. Go figure!)
Many years passed and while on vacation in Montana, I found a pristine 1974 black on black special edition Charger with only 25K on the odometer. I drove it to Southern California only to realize I’d given up commercial fishing and needed to sell it to purchase a truck and go back to being a courier. (I’m still kicking myself over that one.)

I thought I’d never have a truly great Charger, until this year. Jeff, my fiancée, bought me this car as an engagement gift. (I joke about it being the world’s biggest ring box.) The car came from Oregon where it had been restored and cared for by its second owner. He had the car for just over thirty years. He repainted the car and rebuilt the engine in 1996. This Charger is a 1968 painted a rare orange-red color that was a special order (one of fifty). It has a pearl white top and interior with black carpet and dash. Powered by a 383 magnum, backed by a Hurst 4-speed and sitting on a set of slightly over-sized mags and tires, this car can move.
By the way, if anybody comes across a guy named Jim Zerwick, tell him I said “thanks” for introducing me to one of the greatest cars to ever roll off an assembly line.

 

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