Shin­ing Ar­mour

Australian Muscle Car - - Limited Run Muscle -

In July 1976 Chrysler deal­er­ships through­out Aus­tralia re­ceived a copy of Bulletin No.93, sent from head of­fice at Ton­s­ley Park in Ade­laide. This out­lined the in­tro­duc­tion of “a new and ex­cit­ing limited edi­tion Charger Mar­ket­ing spe­cial” to be known as the ‘White Knight Spe­cials’. Th­ese would be iden­ti­fi­able by the code num­ber A50.

Not that any­one needed to check the ID plate. The White Knight Spe­cials came in a choice of two colours, Arc­tic White and Amarante Red, with con­trast­ing side pan­els bear­ing the word Charger in big, bold, block let­ters plus the White Knight logo. It’s hard to think of another Aus­tralian mus­cle car that was so bla­tantly iden­ti­fied.

Another clue was on the inside. The seats were white with a red stripe and red pip­ing.

Th­ese cars would be hard to miss, and as the deal­ers soon re­alised, hard to shift at a time when sales of Charg­ers in any for­mat were slug­gish. Not ev­ery­one wanted one with white seats. Based on the XL level Charg­ers, the White Knights were a typ­i­cal mar­ket­ing ex­er­cise de­signed to clear sur­plus stocks at the end of a model’s shelf life. In this case the VK, which was launched in Oc­to­ber 1975 (tak­ing over from the VJ) and re­placed in Oc­to­ber 1976 by the CL range. Both the VJ and CL model Charg­ers had their own spe­cials, the Sports­man limited edi­tion (a run of 399) and the Drifter Pack op­tion (73 sold) re­spec­tively.

With the CL model, sport­ing its sub­stan­tially re­worked front body­work, just around the cor­ner, Ton­s­ley Park would have raced to get the White Knights out to deal­ers in mid 1976.

What was un­der­neath the dra­matic styling was the ba­sic Charger XL with a 4.3-litre (265ci) en­gine and choice of D20 four-speed man­ual or C16 au­to­matic. The changes were pre­dom­i­nantly cos­metic. Another de­sign fea­ture was the front grille (ex­cept for the mesh panel), front turn bezels and front and rear bumpers painted in match­ing body colour, with spe­cial non-re­flec­tive paint on the bumpers. A pro­nounced front air dam was fit­ted, also painted in match­ing body colour.

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