Describing why you like the styling of a certain car can be like explaining what chocolate tastes like. It’s especially not easy figuring why we like a less-popular car, but sometimes we know what sparked the outcast attraction. It might be your older brother had one, or someone down the street who roared past your house each day. Maybe your dad bought one new or you used to spy it in your high school parking lot, and something about it sang to you.
For me, the original 1966 Dodge Charger is one of those cars. As a child, my father took me to the Pan Pacific auditorium in Los Angeles for the yearly new-car show, and in 1965, my eyes fell on what I thought was the most beautiful car ever: the Charger II show car. Resplendent in silver with its flat, wide fastback, full-width taillight, and sculptured sides, it was too much of a dream to imagine it would be produced. In fact, the show car came after Charger development had begun, so the question of if it might get produced had already been made.
Then just a few months later, it debuted as a 1966 model based on the Dodge Coronet. It looked exactly like its muse to my young eyes. Though it sold marginally well in its two years of production with just over 50,000 finding buyers, most Chargers that followed—and most Mustangs, Camaros, Barracudas, and so forth—have always overshadowed the first Charger to enthusiasts.
Today the going price is way below that of its contemporaries, bearing out its continued lack of appreciative followers, which is a good thing if, like me, you love less-popular cars. The more blind sheep-like enthusiasts are, the cheaper they are for those of us who think they’re underpriced, underappreciated, and overlooked. That translates into a cheaper, unique, and more unusual project you won’t likely see duplicates of at the next Power Tour.