Have You Seen One? 1978 Dodge Charger Midnight

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Sporting an unusual fiberglass rear roof cap, this 1978 Dodge Charger Midnight SE was an attempt to further differentiate the regular Charger from its upscale competition. According to the seller there were only 2,300 Midnight Chargers made. This one is currently residing in Portage, Wisconsin and is up for sale here on eBay, where bidding hasn’t passed $1,100 as I write.

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Here’s that unusual vinyl-covered fiberglass top. You can see how it makes the window appear to be recessed. I’m amazed at the condition of this one, because even if the 73,000 miles is accurate, that’s a lot of time for vinyl to shrink and appear weathered. This really looks nice. I would call the opera window treatment “distinctive,” as my mom told me not to call anyone’s baby ugly, and this has obviously been someone’s baby!

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These Chargers also had a unique grille treatment that some compare to the Magnum grille. I find it a LOT more attractive than the standard Charger grille. It’s really clean considering the excesses of the 1970’s and some of the Ford and GM models it was competing with. Interestingly, there’s no mention of the Midnight Edition in the normal 1977 Charger brochure; perhaps it was a mid-year special edition?

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This one sure looks great on the inside, with no cracks in the dash that I can see and seats that look pretty good. I can’t tell whether the piping is worn or just shiny on the edge of the driver’s seat visible here. The red/burgundy inside is a nice contrast with the white exterior.

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I’m honestly not sure which V8 this is; according to the brochure it could be a 318, 360 or 400. Do any readers know? A lot of work has been done on the car, including a valve job and a new cam and lifters. The seller calls it show ready, although the air conditioning needs charging, of course. I’m not sure I’d agree on the show-ready statement, but it is pretty nice. Would you like this car, or a comparable Thunderbird, Monte Carlo, Cutlass or Cougar?

 

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Comments

  1. KO

    I’m digging the red interior, but with the name Charger Midnight and low production numbers, how did they not paint every car black?

  2. Mike H. Mike H.

    It’s cool, even though it looks just like a Cordoba in profile. The state of preservation is interesting, and were it not a malaise-era Chrysler product I’d almost have to have it.

    It’s too nice to swap out a modern Chrysler-anything motor. Even with that turd of a 4.7L V-8 this thing would become a hoot to drive in a straight line (or going sideways Hoonigan style!).

  3. Gnrdude

    Wow, it’s Got to be All Original, Even though it Looks like A Cordoba I’d still want it.

  4. Mike

    I have seen one of these that was also painted white, it belonged to a customer of Dad’s shop, it had be wrecked and we (I was still working with him then) repaired it.
    This is a nice looking car. But Wife already said no!!!

  5. DREW V.

    “1977 Playboy Playmate of the Year” Patti McGuire Connors (Married to tennis star Jimmie Connors) was awarded one of these by Playboy Magazine as a gift for being selected as “Playmate of the Year”…

    “I’m honestly not sure which V8 this is; according to the brochure it could be a 318, 360 or 400.”
    Since you can see the plug wires coming from the back of the motor, that rules out this car from having the 400, so it’s either the 318 or 360 cu-in motor…

    • Rick

      This car with the burgundy seats has the 318ci engine. I own Patti’s McGuire’s car which is a 360ci.

      Like 1
  6. Telly

    The engine is either the 318 or the 360, as the 400 was a big-block, and the distributor would be on the front~left. My guess is the 360.

  7. grant

    Wonder what the roof looks like under the fiberglass cap?

    Like 1
  8. Thomas K

    I had one of these. Yellow with a Yellow interior. I pulled the car out a a field for $75 in 1997 or so. The car itself was badly rusted and the interior had been open to elements for years. I needed the rear end for my 1976 Charger and since I liked the grill so much I swapped that on too. The 1976 Charger was a 400ci HiPo car — ‘P’ code I believe. <- Only one of those I've ever seen. I sort of wish I still had that one.

  9. pat k

    ah the chrysler cordoba cousin with the corinthian leather as Ricardo used to say.

  10. Charles

    If that top is made the same as the Cordoba it is not sealed to the metal roof. The Cordoba has the fiberglass shell riveted through the sheet metal and allows water to flow in the top underneath the shell and drain out of the bottom. The roof is painted with the glass sealed in, but no trim. I have reworked a couple of them, and found no rust at all underneath. Of course this was in Georgia, where rust is not a significant problem.

    What I want to know is what is that bar that crosses the opera windows on the quarter panels ? That’s a weird looking styling cue.

    I owned a 77 Charger that was solid black with T-tops. It came with a 400 Lean Burn computer equipped engine. The computer never worked correctly. The mechanic we used did not know how to fix it. They set the distributor by ear, and it was so far advanced that it melted three pistons ruining the engine.

    We had a 66 New Yorker with the first year 440 engine with 375 HP. The NY still ran, but had 290K miles on it and was worn out. I had that engine rebuilt, mildly modified, and dropped it into the Charger. It was upgraded to a Chrysler electronic ignition and a 780 Holley carb. We had a custom made dual exhaust made for the car. Needless to say it was a screamer. It would turn consistent mid to low 12’s in the quarter mile with a 3:23 gear and street tires. The car would cruise all day at highway speeds with no issues. It even made a good tow vehicle for a boat and a 24 foot Airstream travel trailer. All around, that Charger was a decent car! I wish now that I had kept it.

    • Keith

      Hi Charles,
      I also had a 66 New Yorker (4 door hardtop) with that 440. Hell of a good car!

  11. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    Love the grill, reminds me of the Cord 810.

  12. james burton

    this car doesn’t have the junk leanburn sys. which is a good sign, no big box on side of aircleaner that says lean burn. i converted alot of those sys. and the owners couldn’t believe how much better the car responded to that junk being unhoked. and would be easyer on gas. a 31.8 eng. 2 bar. carb. car bottom of the line in per.a very cheap car to start with to see if this opt. would catch on and be ordered .

  13. Tirefriar

    All that heavy lifting in terms of mechanical repairs, and the A/C still needs a charge?! I call BS on that one

  14. Mel Mravik

    This car is a 1977. It has a 360 2Bob the roof is not the same as the Cordoba. I am the owner and it is still for sale. I did not feel the need to charge the a.c. on a car I seldom drive. Reply if you want more info.

    • James Tork

      What are you asking

      • Mel mravik

        6000.00

  15. Doug Sawyer

    not a 400 cid —is an “a” engine

    • Mel mravik

      It is a 360 engine any other questions please feel free to call me at 608 617 7173 thanks Mel.

  16. Otis

    Had a 1975 Charger SE way back in the 70’s. It was silver with a red interior and white half landau. I had it repainted in red later on because the silver paint wouldn’t stay on it. What a land yacht it was!

  17. Dave C

    Here’s mine, ’77, 400ci, 65k miles, unrestored, all original…in central WI

    Like 1
  18. Micah

    First off this is a 1977 Charger. Secondly there is NO SUCH thing as a “Midnight Charger”!!!! This bugs me sooooo much. These are an LE (Limited Edition) with 2800 made in three different colors (silver, white and cream). They had some post assembly line modifications like the roof cap, grill and a few other things. The “Midnight Charger” thing came from a ad campaign that simply said ‘…the night belongs to Charger…’ and suddenly these were called Midnights even though these LEs were NOT in the ads.

    Don’t get me wrong this is a very nice car and I wish I had the extra cash to bring it home to hang out with the other 16 B-bodies (some ridiculously rare) I have here.

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