Steve Magnante explains why sales of the Dodge Charger Fastback dropped so dramatically

When it comes to junkyard crawling and looking through rare beasts, no one really does it better than Steve Magnante. Magnante is a brilliant automotive journalist and YouTuber who does a lot of car wrecking and explores all kinds of cars, from rare Japanese classics to luxurious American classics. While we hate to see some very rare cars rotting and collecting dust, we love to hear the stories Magnante has to tell about all of these cars and what makes them so rare.

Magnante has done many car wrecking crawls at Bernardston Auto Wrecking in Bernardston Massachusetts, home to many wrecked cars for sale if anyone wants a restoration project. This time Magnante is with one Cleverness Charger, but not your more familiar “Dukes of Hazard” style charger. This is a Fastback Charger, made for just two years in 1966 and 1967, and this particular one is from that second year of Fastback production. But as Magnante tells us, this Fastback saw a massive drop in sales of more than 50% in that second year, something Magnante is diving into.

RELATED: Here’s How the 1965 Ford Fastback Mustang Compares to Its Rivals

Not the best year for the Charger Fastback

The figures on the drop in sales are quite staggering. Sales fell by about 58% in 1967 and only 15,788 units were sold. Sales exploded in 1968 with the arrival of the Coke Bottle Charger R/T. However, this charger, according to Magnante, is much more of a car than the model that followed it. We see the V8 badge on the side of the Fastback, Chargers of this era only have V8s. We can also tell this is a 1967 model thanks to the leaf-like fender extensions that run across the top of the Charger’s hood.

This particular car also has the retractable headlight grille, which folds away to reveal a grille without headlights. Under the hood of this particular Charger is a base 318 ci V8 engine. Magnante explains that something important happened in 1967. The engine called the 318 big block was then replaced by this engine, but the difference was that this engine had different wedge-shaped cylinder heads. It still produced 230 horsepower, the same horsepower as the previous engine, but this was the new base engine for 1967. Magnante points out the optional auxiliary power steering, but this particular Fastback also has manual drum brakes.

An interesting example of the Charger Fastback

via Steve Magnante’s YouTube channel

Magnante says it’s unusual to see a power-steering Fastback without power brakes, but that’s exactly what we’ve got here. Magnante tells how the 1968 Charger was a more popular car, but lacked the features of the Fastback. They had vacuum cleaner headlight covers made of plastic, but the 1966 and ’67 Chargers were much more like cars, as Magnante says. We then enter the Charger Fastback and see a solid interior despite the car’s condition.

As Magnante says, most of these came with a full-length center console and floor-mounted shifter. However, this charger has a column-mounted torque-flite shifter and no console. You actually paid more for the console, and Magnante emphasizes this in a classic Charger brochure that lists the center console as an option, among several other options, including the center cushion. We see that center armrest in this particular Charger, even though the main driver’s seat is missing. The back shows split bucket seats that also have a center armrest, as well as some relics from the past, like an old Sunkist can and a glass Coke bottle.

A sad reality that Fastback sales were so bad

Steve Magnante Dodge Charger Fastback Rear View
via Steve Magnante’s YouTube channel

Magnate shows us the full-width taillight with Charger on the rear, another party piece of the car and the stunning Fastback shape that makes this car look so good. And of course it was incredibly rare, with so few examples, and it’s sad that sales of this Charger type were so poor. Magnante shows us some of his model cars, a replica of the Dodge “tickle me pink” Charger and the AMC Marlin. Both cars have been extensively modified as Magnante says, but it shows the platform of the two cars.

RELATED: Here’s What Gearheads Forgot About the Dodge Charger Shelby

Did the Marlin contribute to the drop in sales?

Steve Magnante Dodge Charger Fastback interior
via Steve Magnante’s YouTube channel

Magnante points out that the Marlin was released in 1965, 1966 and 1967, just before the Fastback. It was a smaller platform than the Charger’s, but since it came out earlier, it may have contributed to the poor sales of Dodge’s own Fastback machine. The Charger Fastback is, of course, a fascinating vehicle, as Magnante showed us, and the Charger has been passed down through generations, who are sadly on their way to the ICE world. This is another epic tale from Magnante exploring a fascinating piece of American muscle car history.

Source: Steve Magnante YouTube channel

Leave a Comment