Auction Pick of the Week: 1966 Dodge Charger


With the muscle car wars already in full swing, Dodge jumped into the fray in 1966 with an upsized—and upmarket—two-door fastback that it called the Charger. Meant to take on AMC’s Rambler Marlin, which rolled out one year earlier, the Charger was built on Chrysler’s B-body platform, following in the footsteps of its Coronet sibling. The Charger shared some of the Coronet’s features, but it wasn’t about to share the spotlight.

First-year Chargers sport fluted sides and a distinctive grille that resembles an electric shaver. They also have concealed headlights, full-width taillights (emblazoned with block letters that spell out “Charger”), and a 117-inch wheelbase. The car’s length, and its 75.3-inch width, provide plenty of room for four bucket seats, which are divided by a front-to-back center console with courtesy lights and an illuminated compartment. The rear seats fold down to create a large storage area.

1966 Dodge Charger 383 interior rear cargo
1966 Dodge Charger 383 interior dash gauges

Along with one of the coolest dashes ever created—featuring four round instrument pods that look incredible when lit up at night—new buyers could choose from a list of options that included air conditioning, AM/FM radio, cruise control, power steering, power door locks, tinted glass, two-tone paint, tachometer, power bucket seats, and 21 paint colors.

The Charger’s base engine was a 230-horsepower, 318-cubic-inch V-8, but three upgrades were also available: a 265-hp, 361 V-8; a 325-hp, 383 V-8; and a 425-hp, 426 Street Hemi—the rarest of all, with only 468 ordered. Chargers could be had with either a three-speed automatic or a three- or four-speed manual gearbox.

1966 Dodge Charger 383 engine bay

Only 37,344 first-year models were produced, with even fewer in 1967. The redesign that followed—the Coke-bottle-shaped 1968–70 Charger—is the model that turned the model into an icon, but it all began with the ’66.

Which brings us to this gorgeous, Silver-Metallic-over-red-vinyl Charger that is up for auction on Hagerty Marketplace. Purchased by its current owner in 1981, the well-kept, first-year Charger (VIN XP29G61248312) is powered by a 383 V-8 that was rebuilt in 2004 by Pierce Service Company Garage and Machine Shop in Punta Gorda, Florida, where it received hardened valve seats to run on unleaded fuel, an Edelbrock Performer 600 cfm carburetor, a 2.5-inch exhaust system with Flowmaster mufflers, and a Pertronix “points-less” distributor cap.

The Charger has an automatic transmission, rides on its original steel wheels with original hubcaps (mounted with 205/75/R14 Redline radial tires), and wears a reproduction dealer-installed rear spoiler.

Among the car’s features are dual exhaust, self-adjusting brakes, three-spoke steering wheel, cigarette lighter, lockable glove compartment, and rear pillar lights. The five-digit odometer shows 49,500 miles—believed to be 149,500 actual miles—with 10,000 miles since the engine rebuild.

Among this Charger’s known imperfections: The headlights and dash lights flicker on/off, the A/C needs to be recharged, and the power steering is operational but has a leak.

1966 Dodge Charger 383 front

Included in the sale are the original Carter carburetor (removed), comprehensive documentation (including the original shipping form as well as the signed, handwritten bill of sale from the original owner), and receipts for the engine build/machine work, bodywork, and paint.

Overshadowed by their restyled successors, first-gen Chargers offer an uncommon alternative to the other muscle cars of the ’60s. And with less than a week until the auction closes on Wednesday, March 13 at 3:10 p.m. EDT, bidding for this one has reached $10,000—and we don’t expect it to stay there.


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    These auctions are fun to watch sometimes. There are a lot of smart, patient bidders poking at it, but my guess is this thing is going to launch to the moon

    I should probably stop watching these… I already have too many

    She’s certainly a beauty! The first were the best, IMO.
    A friend found the fold-down rear seats useful in sneaking buddies into the drive-in.

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