A 1968 Charger that checks all the boxes
He spotted the classic Mopar along his delivery route — and the rest is history.
Troy Bolton, a UPS driver for over 30 years now, spotted this very original ’68 Charger in the driveway of a customer on his route. Upon delivering the package, the customer asked Bolton if he wanted to buy his car. Bolton was well aware of the Charger, the current owner having driven the car every day in his northern California neighborhood. It took only a short time to make the sale.
“I had designs on putting some big tires under the car and modifying the suspension to make it handle better than stock,” said Bolton. “Even though the car was matching numbers from the engine to the rear end, it did not have the original fender trim tag that states the car’s true history. For that reason, I planned to paint it red, slam it to the ground, and build a crazy engine.”
Things were to change quite quickly when after three months of driving the car, the engine began to lose oil pressure at idle — a sure sign that the engine was on its last revolutions. With a tired engine, Bolton parked the car in his garage … for 17 years. In the meantime, he raised kids, bought two houses, and put the Mopar up for sale several times. It was while a future owner was making payments that he found a missing link in the car’s history.
That missing fender trim tag showed up quite unannounced one day when he got a letter from a recently retired member of the military whose mother had died. In her things, he found the Charger’s fender tag and tracked Bolton down through the DMV. The two met in San Francisco, the midpoint between them, and made the hand off.
“That was quite a surprise for me,” proclaimed Bolton. “It was a missing piece of the puzzle that led to my researching
the Charger’s true lineage. It turns out that it is only 1 of 259 383-cid Magnumequipped four-speed manual transmission ’68 Chargers. From that point on, it was clear that I was destined to return the car to its original condition.”
Mopar trim tags denote the original equipment added to the vehicle at the time of the build. These tags were simply screwed to the driver-side fenderwell with a pair of pan head screws. With the exception of taking liberties with the exterior color (the car was originally Turbine Bronze Metallic), Bolton’s Charger sports all of the original content.
The Charger’s restoration was actually well underway when Bolton received the trim tag, so he decided to stay the course with the R-4 Red exterior and changed from the original black to the current Pearl White interior upholstery. Mike Estournes of Lakeville Auto Body in Petaluma, California, is responsible for the paint taking seven months to perfect the body and apply the paint. The assembly of the car took another two years to complete with
Bolton and his wife, Rebecca, taking their time to get things just right. Bolton’s Charger is a striking example of one of the most recognized shapes in muscle car history.
“I spent a huge amount of time researching and then tracking down the right parts to return this car to ‘better than original’ condition,” Bolton said. “Every panel has been massaged to fit, the only non-original body panel being the front driver-side fender, which took some time to get it perfect.”
The 383-cid Magnum engine was built by John Spease, from Engine Dynamics. He did all of the machine work and assembly. The 383-cid Magnum engine uses the cylinder heads from the larger displacement 440-cid engine (featuring 0.14-inch larger diameter exhaust valves
and custom bowl work) used to increase airflow into the combustion chambers, the 440-cid engine camshaft (0.525-inch lift) and an all-new Carter AVS 4-BBL carburetor. The result is a step up from the original factory power output of 335 hp and 425 lb-ft of torque.
Clearly Bolton’s desire to make this car perfect has been achieved. Awards from its first outing at the Southern California-based 2018 Spring Fling are just the beginning of the accolades headed his way. Certainly few would’ve figured that the Charger he spotted along his route and then stored for 17 years in his garage would ever achieve this result. It just goes to show you, Bolton can deliver — in many ways — with the help of a few good friends and family.
The 383-cid Magnum engine with four-speed manual transmission in this ’68 Charger was an extremely rare combination; only 259 Chargers were equipped in this manner.
If the phrase, “This car is so clean you could eat off it” were ever appropriate, it applies to this Charger. Note the final detail work performed on the front suspension.
The Hurst shifter and vacuum gauge mounted near the stock shifter have been reworked to delivered original style performance. Factory mounted vacuum gauges were very popular during this era as a way to determine optimum engine efficiency.
The ’68 rear taillights were a one-yearonly style with the two round lights and backup lights tucked into the area above the lights. Many Mopar fans believe this to be the cleanest of all Charger offerings.
This elusive Trim Data Plate was to drastically alter the direction Bolton would take with the Charger’s final form. A Good Samaritan tracked him down and returned the plate to Bolton – an amazing stroke of luck.
The vacuum-operated hidden headlight covers are one of the features that made the ’68 Charger so popular.
Two very rare options found on this Charger are front and rear electric hood and trunk latch release systems.
The reworked but perfectly restored to original configuration 383-cid Magnum engine features 440-cid engine cylinder heads and a high-lift camshaft. The turquoise blue engine paint is factory correct for this engine.
The attention to detail underhood is amazing, right down to the color-coding on the carburetor return spring. Along with the efforts to bring the parts up to original style, note that all of the date codes are correct for this vintage of Chrysler including the stamping on the alternator bracket that signifies it was constructed in 1967 for this late 1967 build date.
Troy Bolton, and his wife, Rebecca, are extremely proud of their efforts to bring the Charger up to show winning stature.
The license plate proclaims to all the rare nature of this Charger, a four-speed ’68!
As has been well documented by now, Bolton spent a huge amount of time detailing out the Charger. The grille is especially noteworthy — each segment of the grille was first taped off to leave the outside Argent Silver untouched before all of Satin Black areas were hand-painted by Kolor Korrect.
The reproduction Redline tires are slightly oversized but work perfectly with these restored Magnum 500 wheels.
The trunk hasn’t been omitted from this restoration effort; everything is just as it was back in 1968, including the redline spare and jack.