Dodge Selling a Carbon Fiber 1970 Charger Body Is a Dream for Hot-Rodders
Dodge is executing a real power move by offering the quintessential muscle car design in its lightest form.
It’s Dodge Speed Week, and the company is announcing plans for its present and future muscle car business. Over the next few years, Dodge is going electric, but it's also making moves to keep the internal-combustion torch lit among enthusiasts.
Monday's announcements focused on the aftermarket: a Dodge Challenger body for eight grand (in case you ball up the one on your drag car), a drag-ready rolling chassis, and some carbon fiber bits for your new Challenger by SpeedKore, known for its carbon fiber-rich custom car builds.
But I was otherwise occupied by the vague outline of a classic car under a sheet. At some point in the speech by Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis, the sheet came off, revealing a stunning carbon-fiber car body. Just the body, on a frame, with wheels. That’s it.
It was the body of a 1970 Dodge Charger licensed to be sold through Direct Connection, the company’s performance parts division that's returning after a three-decade absence. Yes. You’ll be able to buy a pre-made carbon-fiber body in one of the world’s most perfect car designs (aerodynamics not included) and put it on whatever you want. Presumably, you’ll want it on some sort of restomod, or a classic car updated to perform like a modern one.
Carbon fiber builds have been big among the restomod crowd for a few years. They’re basically big ticket, one-off exotics that look like they rolled off the line 50-something years ago. Imagine a 1960s TV with modern internals by Samsung, and a case that’s carbon fiber instead of Bakelite. I don’t know why you’d need that second analogy to picture it, but hey, I’m not inside your head.
I’m pretty sure it all started a few years ago with the carbon-fiber-body Mustang GT500CR by Classic Recreations. Now, it’s the hot setup if you’re shopping for a little something in the $300,000 to $500,000-and-up range. Yeah, I know that’s a lot, but $500,000 is the new $150,000, or so I’m told.
Direct Connection also plans to offer bodies like this for the classic Plymouth Barracuda and Road Runner through Finale Speed. Starting with the Charger makes perfect sense, though. It’s a multigenerational icon that starred in both Bullitt and the Fast and the Furious franchise. It’s also, historically speaking, peak muscle car. Nothing before or after it had the same combination of clarity, panache, and raw emotion. OK, maybe the Rolling Stones’ Exile on Main Street. But not many other things.
Dodge’s carbon-fiber supplier SpeedKore has created a few high-profile Dodge Charger builds. Vin Diesel’s 1,650-horsepower, 9.0-liter Mercury Marine-powered 1970 Dodge Charger ''Tantrum” comes to mind. SpeedKore also did the “Hellacious” mid-engine 1968 Charger from F9: The Fast Saga.
Both are a bit much for my minimalist taste, which you might describe as Presbyterian-modern. Give me the Chevy Nova your grandfather demanded the dealership order from the factory, because there wasn’t a single three-on-the-tree allocation to be had in the entire Northeast, and I’d be happy. Well, sort of happy, because I’d also want a carbon-fiber body with that.
Last night, Dodge, although probably not intending to, gave me an idea. The build I would go for, if I were in the Vin Diesel business, was on display.
What I want is a carbon-fiber bodied 1970 Dodge Charger with poverty wheels and “Fratzog”-logoed, redlined, dog dish hubcaps. Fratzog, if you were wondering, is that three-cornered Dodge logo from the 1960s and ‘70s. It’s one of those space-age designs that transports you to another era. Dodge is bringing it back, and it’ll be incorporated into its next generation of battery-electric vehicles. I just think it fits the vibe.
For the interior, I want a bench seat and one of those long speedometers that take up half the dash. Of course, I also want it to have a full independent suspension, multilink please, and all the other mod cons that signify the restomod scene. Yes, I want my grandfather-spec car to drive like a BMW M5 Competition. What am I, some kind of farm animal?
Right. I want a $500,000 car that looks like a $3,500 car (in 1970 dollars). Is that too much to ask? Yes, I suppose, in this case, it is. Still, kudos to Dodge for giving me options, and for continuing to feed the dream.