SEPTEMBER 2023: A 1968 DODGE CHARGER IS A DREAM COME TRUE FOR THIS MOPAR GUY

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Clarence Oosterlee is a dyed-in-the-wool fan of late 1960s and early 1970s Chrysler products, including the 1968 Dodge Charger, arguably one of the finest cars ever produced by Mother Mopar.

Clarence’s roots with this era of Chrysler products run deep and include a memorable moment when a teenaged Clarence passed his driver’s license in a 1968 Dodge Charger

Jim Sutherland

Many car guys believe the famous ’68 Dodge Charger was the ultimate blend of style and performance, given its hideaway headlights, long C-pillar fastback design, and iconic taillight configuration. Some of these style cues were evident in 1969 and ’70 versions, but none matched the sheer coolness of a ’68 Charger.

The ’68 Charger was so cool that most of the car’s fans cheered for the bad guys in ‘Bullitt’ because the movie makers used a 1968 Dodge Charger in the famous high speed chase sequence with the Steve McQueen Mustang.

’68 Charger loyalists were also very unhappy when movie magic made the chase scenes closer than reality and eventually gifted the Mustang with better acceleration and handling in the movie. The Charger’s eventual crash and burn just added to the pain for the car’s legion of fans.

Clarence is well aware of the ‘Bullitt’ movie but his affection for the 1968 Dodge Charger never wavered over the passage of time, and he knew he would own one at some point in his life.

That day came about 10 years ago when Clarence became the owner of a 1968 Dodge Charger that wended its way from the United States to his home in western Canada. The car is an upscale version of the ’68 Charger and has a vinyl roof, power steering, extra signal light markers in the grille, along with the famous 383 cubic inch Mopar mill under its hood.

Another nice touch is the Charger’s stylish console that houses an automatic stick shift for drivers, including Clarence’s wife Dara, co-owner of the car who is not big on standard stick shift cars. In short, the car embodies elegance, style and performance in one cool package.

Clarence told MyStarCollectorCar the Charger has undergone two repaints, both in the factory paint scheme. The car’s initial repaint job occurred in 1992, while the second paint job was necessitated by an unfortunate  encounter with rocks during a road trip a few years ago.

Clarence was happy with the original repaint, but had no choice for another repaint, given the damage caused by the large rocks.

The most important part of the equation is Clarence loves to drive the ’68 Charger because it can handle long road trips with ease. He attributes the car’s reliability to its 2:72 highway gears, a ratio that is easier on the powertrain at higher speeds and delivers good gas mileage along the way.

The car’s efficiency may help Clarence achieve a bucket list goal to drive the Charger from his home in Western Canada to the famous ‘Chryslers at Carlisle’ event in Pennsylvania, a round distance of roughly 4600 miles (about 7400 kms).

We at MyStarCollectorCar believe Clarence and Dara will enjoy the trip of a lifetime when they undertake this road adventure in one of the coolest cars ever built in automotive history.            

Jim Sutherland

BY: Jim Sutherland

Jim Sutherland is a veteran automotive writer whose work has been published by many major print and online publications. The list includes Calgary Herald, The Truth About Cars, Red Deer Advocate, RPM Magazine, Edmonton Journal, Montreal Gazette, Windsor Star, Vancouver Province, and Post Media Wheels Section. 

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