383/4-Speed: 1966 Dodge Charger Barn Find

By 1966, the muscle car kick was under way and Dodge rolled out the Charger as a mid-year entry. Chrysler’s marketing gurus dubbed it the “leader of the Dodge rebellion,” so that set the bar pretty high. By-and-large, the car made a great first impression and would be a Dodge staple for years. This first year Charger looks to have been hit on both ends and is likely not a runner. According to the map, the car appears to be in Fargo, North Dakota and available here on craigslist for $5,999 or best offer.

The Charger was first a show automobile and then a concept car before going into production for 1966. The sporty Dodge has been around for years in a variety of configurations, including the current 4-door sedan. The first-generation Charger was only seen for two model years (1966-67), with a “fuselage” restyle for 1968. It shared its chassis and front-end sheet metal with Dodge’s mid-size Coronet. If the rear window treatment looks familiar, it’s because Rambler did something similar with its Marlin at about the same time. The Charger came with bucket seats in the back that folded down to increase trunk space. In its abbreviated first year, the Charger saw production of 37,344 units, 2,809 being a 383 V-8 with a 4-speed manual transmission, like the seller’s car. Thanks, Motor City, for the numbers!

This 1966 Dodge Charger is an XP29, which is nothing special because all Chargers were XP29’s. The seller says the car is a barn find, although we are provided with no photos of it in a barn. We’re guessing it was dragged out, hosed down, loaded up on a trailer, and that’s where it sits right now. The car is in far-from-perfect condition, having received a nice whack in the rear that bent the driver’s side fender and trunk. The front bumper is all bent up and part of the grill missing, although a lots of body parts can be found inside the Charger. There is substantial rust in the right rear quarter panel.

Besides it being a first-year model, one of the pluses here is the Charger’s drivetrain, a 383 cubic inch V-8 with a 4-barrel carburetor (likely) paired with a factory 4-speed manual. We’re not told if any of this is numbers matching or what the mileage is, but at a minimum the motor should be sending 325 hp to the rear wheels. It’s going to need a total restoration with a lot of sheet metal to sort out. We hope nothing important is bent under the crumpled parts. On the other hand, what we can see of the interior under all the stuff in there doesn’t look bad, although some putz cut up the door panels for aftermarket speakers that are now gone.

Since the car is already on a trailer, flat tires and all, the seller says he can deliver, although I’m guessing not to Florida unless he wants a dose of warmer weather. Hagerty proposes that a pristine ’66 Charger can be a $35,000 acquisition, so there could be room with the seller’s asking price to fund a restoration. Were the Dodge Boys right? Was the Charger the leader of the Dodge rebellion? Since it paved the way for cars like the Dodge Super Bee and Challenger and the Plymouth Road Runner, we’d have to agree.

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Comments

  1. Vince H

    It won’t end up being cheap.

    Like 2
  2. arkie Member

    Not only was the Charger a leader in the Dodge Rebellion, it’s fastback design was created in an effort to make it less effective to be drafted by other cars behind it while racing on the NASCAR tracks. What the fastback did, or didn’t do, was create a condition of very little downforce on the rear of the car. This condition led to the development and implementation of the first rear spoiler in organized stock car racing.

    Like 2
  3. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    Sad sad sad……..

  4. TCOPPS TCOPPS Member

    Pretty good deal if this indeed a manual! hard to tell by the pictures.

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