1966 Dodge Charger in Stunning Black-on-Black, Impressive Without a HEMI

In 1966, the Dodge Charger burst onto the scene as more than just another muscle car. With its fastback rear end and luxurious features based on the Coronet, it was more akin to a personal luxury car than a conventional muscle car.

Rather than competing with the iconic Ford Thunderbird, which had been around for over a decade, Dodge set its sights on the Rambler Marlin by American Motors Corporation, launched in 1965. Born from the 1964 Rambler Tarpon concept and the Rambler Classic, the Marlin debuted as a two-door pillarless hardtop with a fastback rear end, similar to the 1966 Charger.

However, the Charger had several alluring extras that set it apart. Boasting a longer wheelbase and a full-width front grille with hidden headlamps, it was undeniably more captivating. But the true standout feature was the range of powerful V8 engines Dodge equipped the Charger with.

While the Marlin maxed out at 270 horsepower, the Charger offered three engines that exceeded that figure. The 383-cubic-inch (6.3-liter) engine produced 325 horsepower, and the massive 440-cubic-inch (7.2-liter) V8 generated 375 horses. In 1966, Dodge introduced the formidable 426-cubic-inch (7.0-liter) HEMI to the lineup.

This brand-new street-spec HEMI V8 boasted 425 horsepower, transforming the Charger into the fastest and most potent fastback on the road. Fast forward to 2023, and HEMI-equipped 1966 Chargers have become exceedingly rare and sought-after collectibles. Only 468 of the 37,344 Chargers produced that model year featured the 426 HEMI.

The legendary second-generation HEMI V8 isn't a requirement for a 1966 Charger to make a statement, and this black-on-black beauty is a prime example.

What sets it apart? It's the striking color combination. Although not as vibrant as other shades available at the time, the black-over-black scheme gives the Charger a fierce, menacing aura. It's a rare combination that's not often seen today.

But there's more. This Charger also boasts a four-speed manual transmission, which can typically boost the value of any 1966 model by at least 15%, as well as factory air conditioning. Although not a big deal today, air conditioning was far from standard or widespread in the 1960s.

So, how rare is this captivating survivor? While detailed production information from Dodge is lacking, Hagerty's expert on 1960s classics believes it's scarce enough to warrant a value increase of over 50% above average, depending on its condition.

In fact, while 1966 Chargers in Good condition are typically valued around $25,000, this example is estimated to be worth between $35,000 and $40,000. That's quite remarkable for a modified classic Charger featuring a 383-cubic-inch V8.

Being a rust-free specimen certainly adds to its appeal. For comparison, HEMI models can fetch six-figure sums, with some surpassing $200,000 at auction.

Although not as costly, this black-on-black 1966 Charger is undeniably one of the coolest fastbacks around. Take a closer look at it in the video below.

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