By simply checking off boxes with a pen, they created one of only 250 Hemi 4 speed Chargers that would be built in the 1966 model year.
Aside from the plush and detailed interior that came standard on 1966 Chargers, this wolf in sheep’s clothing was light in the options department... a heater and AM radio covered them all.
Our unknown buyer went all out in the drivetrain / suspension department though. The Charger was optioned with the 426 Street Hemi, trak pak (18 spline Hemi 4- speed, 3.54:1 Dana 60), HD drum brakes, maximum cooling package, and the Hemi suspension package.
Fast forward to 2008, the Charger’s past is virtually unknown. It was apparent that the years of use had left the Charger with bumps, bruises, and battle scars, and in the mid 2000’s it was the victim of a poor quality restoration. The Charger was basically fixed up in the cheapest way possible and sold for a profit.
In the fall of 2010, the Charger’s luck had changed when Mopar collector Rich Warner found the car for sale. Recognizing a diamond in the rough, Rich decided to purchase it and add to his collection. Rich is a dedicated Mopar fan that has collected approximately 60 vehicles that range from a 1926 Dodge Brothers truck to a modern Dodge Viper and about everything in between.
After owning the Charger for a few weeks, Rich decided it was time to have the Hemi completely restored. He shipped it to After Hours Restorations near Detroit for a complete OE rotisserie restoration.
In November of 2010, Roman at After Hours Restorations began the process. The Charger was completely stripped down to a bare shell and sent out to be media blasted. Once the body returned, it was apparent that both quarter panels needed to be replaced.
This was a huge issue since 66-67 Charger quarter panels are not being reproduced. Embarking on an intense quest for anything good enough to be used, both quarter panels were finally procurred from two separate donor cars. The quarter dilemma did not end there. Since both replacement quarters were 44 years old, they too needed repair before they could be installed.
The front fenders where also replaced with a rust free pair. Both doors required lower patches and the center of the trunk pan was replaced. After the metal work was completed, the body was taken to the body shop for paint work.
While the paint department was doing its thing, it was time to concentrate on restoring all of the components of the Charger. Fortunately, and which doesn’t happen all that often, this was a no expense spared restoration. For those people who are familiar with first generation Chargers, they can relate to the amount of money it requires to properly restore this car.
Tackling the interior was one of the most difficult tasks of this restoration. First generation Chargers have one of the most beautiful interiors of all old mopars. This Charger is loaded with stainless steel trim and chrome throughout that required all to be professionally restored and plated.
The gauge cluster and the electro-luminescence lighting system were completely restored. This gauge cluster is absolutely stunning when viewed at night. All of the interior panels were professionally recovered and reassembled with new aluminum trim and restored chrome/stainless with Legendary materials. No details were left out resulting in a breathtaking interior.
The gauge cluster and the electro-luminescence lighting system were completely restored. This gauge cluster is absolutely stunning when viewed at night. All of the interior panels were professionally recovered and reassembled with new aluminum trim from Winslow Motorsports. And of course, Legendary seat covers were used to bring back the unique four bucket seat arraignment to its former glory. No details were left out resulting in a breathtaking interior.
The drivetrain was also completely rebuilt. The Hemi was bored .030 over and fitted with new Keith Black pistons. A stock Mopar Performance Street Hemi replacement cam was used as well. The carburetors were both restored to stock specs and sit on top of the correct dual quad intake manifold.
Stock exhaust manifolds were used with a stock Hemi exhaust system. Since this was an OE style restoration, the Charger was converted back to the factory direct drive starter system. This required specific parts like the flywheel, bell housing, throw out bearing, and starter to be located. (Many times we see cars converted to the later 10.5 clutch/bellhousing so the more reliable, interchangeable and plentiful gear reduction starter can be used.)
The original Dana 60 was completely torn down, stripped, cleaned, painted and reassembled. Special attention was given to details like phosphate coating the backing plates, and nickel plating the pinion yoke dust shield.
The Charger returned from the body shop finding all of its original counterparts restored and waiting assembly. At this point After Hours Restorations was under the Gun. The Charger was only a few short weeks away from making its debut at the Muscle Cars show in Beverly Hills, CA.
Several intense and long nights later, this pristine beauty was meticulously reassembled even better than the factory did it in the winter of 1965. The impending Hollwood show debut was not the only cause of stress at the shop… more importantly, the Charger had to be ready to impress Rich who had not seen his car since the day he dropped it off eleven months prior.
If done right, the reactions from the owners of restored cars always makes the long hours and hard work well worth the effort. You cannot put a value on the smile Rich had on his face when he first laid eyes on his beautifully restored Hemi Charger … After Hours does it right!