Second generation Dodge Charger is known for being the perfect car for the bad guys. Every time you ride this vehicle, you can easily be judged as a bad guy who’s going to mess up with the law. With its bulging quarter panels, buttressed C-pillars, artfully scalloped sheet metal and integrated lip spoiler out, this car is made for being the muscle car that’s going to initiate a hostile take over.
Truth hurts. First generation Dodge Charger wasn’t that popular even in its glory days. But for a guy named Ryan Korek who had a ruthless desire to transform a first generation Charger into a mean machine, he envisions this car being able to tear the roads along with the new wave of Pro Touring Machines. Thus, his shop was a perfect place for those who need custom paintjobs or bodyworks. He builds that reputation for almost over 30 years, and he also accepts labor for a Pro Touring Build.
Ryan found a 1966 Charger on eBay for $14,000. The car he bought has no rust, and its 383 big block and 727 was still in pretty good condition. Rather than restoring it, Ryan saw a bigger picture of this car in its stock form but with the handling, comfort and reliability of a new car.
Setting up the Charger
Korek Designs crew starts with clearing out the surface rust and smoothing the firewall and inner fenders. Their original plan was to keep the original sheet metal as much as possible. They also re-chromed all of the original trim pieces. The only modifications done on the sheet metal are the smoothed-out firewall and custom inner fenders.
Ryan knows that reinforcing the car’s posture was crucial, so he decided to replace the original front suspension with Reilly Motorsports setup while the rear stock leaf springs was replaced with an RMS four-link Street Lynx suspension system. He chose Schott Octane for the wheels wrapped in Nitto rubber that looked like old-school mags. 12 inch Wilwood disc with four-piston calipers in front and rear are the chosen components for the brakes.
Minimal efforts ends up with great outcome
The efforts of the overhauled chassis resulted to an improved handling, braking and ride quality dynamics. The augmented posture and rolling stock gives the ’66 Charger a much better appearance development. A lot of people were asking what modifications are done to this car and they can’t believe that it was all stock. Ryan believes that the 1966 Chargers are beautiful cars and the only problem was the wrong stance. Therefore, changing the wheels and fixing the stance are enough to show the real beauty of these cars.
A muscle car is incomplete without its mean powers. Its original engine was altered with Gen III 6.1L Hemi from Bouchillon Performance. After the replacement, Ryan built a custom exhaust using a set of Mopar Performance long-tube headers and dual MagnaFlow mufflers. The new engine produced 475 HP and 495 lb-ft of torque. Ryan said that the car was built like a cruiser, but the handling and brakes are awesome and the 6.1L Hemi runs like a scared ape.
1966 Charger’s interior was one of the finest among other muscle cars. Many people are thinking that the four monster gauges are already customized but actually it was all original. It includes a 150-mph speedometer and 6,000-rpm tachometer. An alternator, fuel level, coolant temperature and oil pressure gauges are also included.
Only the ’66 model has the full-length center console that runs from front to back which accents the four individual bucket seats. Premium factory door panels, courtesy lights and trim pieces are also incorporated exclusively on Charger.
It all changed when they released the 1968 Charger because they had to trim it down to a more economic aesthetics so they can sell it for a cheaper price.
A potential big-time comeback?
With the elevated price to pay for the restoration and modification of second generation Chargers, will the underrated first generation Charger be the most practical option? It’s not an impossible scenario if there are more people like Ryan who’s looking on the other side of the picture. But there are still lot of potential to look on if you focused deeper on this overlooked and underappreciated Mopars.
To wrap it up, here’s the specification of 1966 Dodge Charger built by Ryan Korek New Berlin, PA:
Type: Chrysler 6.1L Gen III Hemi
Block: factory 4.060-inch bore iron
Oiling: stock pump and pan
Rotating assembly: Chrysler 3.580-inch forged steel crank, powered metal rods and factory aluminum castings
Camshaft: stock hydraulic roller
Induction: stock Gen III Hemi
Engine management: Mopar performance ECU and wiring harness
Ignition: factory Gen III Hemo coil packs, spark plugs and wires
Exhaust: Mopar Performance 1.75 inch long tube headers; dual 2.5- MagnaFlow mufflers
Cooling: stock water pump, griffin radiator, dual electric fans
Output: 475HP and 495 lb-ft
Supplied by: Bouchillion Performance
Transmission: Chrysler 545RFE five-speed automatic
Rear axle: Chrysler 8.75-inch rearend with 3.91:1 gears and Auburn limited-slip differential
Front Suspension: RMS AlterKtion tubular K-member, control arms, sway bar and coil overs
Rear suspension: RMS Street-Lynx four-link and coilovers
Brakes: Wilwood 12-inch discs with four-piston calipers, front and rear
Wheels and Tires
Wheels: Schott Octane 18×7, front; 19×9, rear
Tires: Nitto 255/45ZR18, front; 275/35ZR19, rear