Friday, December 30, 2016

Sources differ on it's originality, but this Bengal Charger is a good reminder that in the muscle car era, dealerships made some of their own models cooler than the factory

this is Rich Grushinski from Scott Township, PA and Chrysler Power Magazine says it's an original, but the local newspaper says it is a tribute

The second generation Charger was all-new for 1968 and so were the Cincinnati Bengals. Dodge dealer Tom Kneer decided to create his own special edition Dodge Charger in the team’s colors and learned from the team HQ that the team’s uniforms would be black with orange and white stripes and helmets would be bright orange with black “Bengal” lettering.

So he placed the order with Dodge for 50 1968 Chargers. Tom scanned through the paint samples in Dodge’s color guide and discovered an orange used for Michigan state fleet vehicles that he dubbed Tiger Orange.

Black vinyl tops and dual black stripes around the trunk rounded out Tom’s specifications for his Bengal Charger. Most cars were ordered with the 318 or 383, none were ordered with the 426 Hemi.
He had a few 6 cylinder cars built for marketing purposes and an estimated 10 - 12 R/Ts.

Because Tom was purchasing so many cars, Chrysler agreed to throw in the black Sport Stripes for free. In 1968, Chrysler put Sport Stripes on the Charger R/T only. Since most of the Bengals were not R/Ts, obviously, an exception was made. For this reason and because they were free, the stripe does not appear on the broadcast sheet but instead was part of the special order processing along with the orange paint.

Tom ordered 100 chromed  “Bengal Charger” fender badges, but no other body modifications were made to the car. The fender badges were made in Cincinnati and were mounted on the cars when they arrived at the dealership.

The ad mentions that 30 cars are available out of the 50 that were built, as some were already chosen for specific customers, like the Bengals team owner Barry Buse and the quarterback received one to drive for a year.

An article in the January 2002 edition of Muscle Car Review states that only three of the unique Chargers have been accounted for in recent years. The simple way to see if a 68 Charger MIGHT be a Bengal, is to look at the paint code. It must be a 999.

Jeff Warner, a Central Ohio native, discovered the first one in 1992, his particular BENGAL is also uncommonly loaded with options. Galen stated; "This is one of, if not the highest optioned '68 Charger I have ever seen! Whoever ordered this car must have said, order everything on the list!",32703.0.html.I

Special Order "999" paint codes were codes assigned for a vehicle for paint colors that were not officially available for that model vehicle for a given year. When a car line was planned and introduced, a number of colors were designated as being available for that car. Dealer information and paint chips were distributed, assembly lines were readied with paint mixes and instructions for the paint departments for the identified set of paint codes.

The way a 999 car was order was that any one with a fleet account (dealerships, or large purchasing agents) could order any Ditzler color for any vehicle for some additional small fee ($75-100). When the 999 order was placed, some notation as to which actual color was written on the order. The factory would have sent the car down the assembly line with papers that also reflected that special paint color.

While the parameters of the 999 special order paint mean that there were probalby some unique orders that mades a "one off", for some years, there were common 999 orders. 1968-1969 999 Orange cars would be one of these commonly order special colors. There were probably a few hundred 999 Orange cars built in 1968 and 1969. For 1968 and the beginning of 1969, these were Omaha Orange which is the same orange used to paint early 1964 race hemi's (Ditzler code DRA60436). At some point in the 1969 model year, the special order 999 Omaha Orange became the EK2 Vitamin C Orange which would be standard color for 1970. The is per a 4/7/69 TSB stating that begining approx. Feb 1, 1969, EK2 "Vitamin C" Orange would be available for Belvedere models.

4 of the known 999 cars that were not Bengals were painted silver, a Petty Blue, a Rallye Green and Bahama Yellow.

Clair says:
I own the 1968 Bengal R/T. I found it just outside of Hazard Kentucky in 1993. It was made to look like a Dukes car; when I went to look at it, it had little football helmet stickers in the back window and had the Bengal Charger emblems on the fenders. When I popped the hood and seen the 999 code, I knew there was something special about the car, I just found the only R/T that was known to exist. It had the build sheet behind the back seat. It coded out as 440 with AC, automatic with white interior, and the sheet said SPECIAL HANDLING JOB at the bottom of it.

The other 3 Bengals all have black interior. I took it to the Nats right after I bought it (1993)  and then tucked it away for thirteen years while raising kids and building a house. Then had the car disassembled and bead blasted but ran out of motivation and it's just sitting waiting for NOS parts since 2006. As for the other 3, the 383 car was recently restored and is in Texas, the 318 car with the low miles was sold to a guy in Missouri, and the 318 car in Saskatchewan Canada was nicely redone into a R/T clone. That's the one next to the jet.

These badges are for the 1972, and the 1968 Bengals, and were pulled out of the trash by a dealership employee in 1976 when the dealership had a thorough going over before getting sold.,32703.100.html

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