The Thrilling Saga of a 1972 Dodge Charger – A 30-Year Rest Brimming with Potential, Awaits its 426 Hemi Revival


The Dodge Charger, which debuted in 1966 as a fairly opulent fastback intended to compete with the Rambler Marlin, swiftly evolved into one of America’s hottest muscle cars. The moniker persisted until 1978, giving rise to hot iterations like the R/T and the Daytona built for NASCAR.

1972 Dodge Charger Parked for 30 Years Desperately Needs a 426 HEMI - autoevolution

However, due to early 1970s emission and fuel economy laws, the Charger was toned down, much like all performance cars of the time. By 1972, the Charger was devoid of the powerful 426-cubic-inch (7.0-liter) HEMI V8, in addition to its Hi-Impact colors and R/T package. Because of this, Chargers produced after the 1971 model year aren’t as sought-after as their forerunners.

Not surprisingly, many of these Mopars built from 1972 to 1978 have ended up in junkyards over the years. And as long as there are plenty of first- and second-gen Chargers to save, third-generation examples won’t get much attention unless they have “R/T” badges on their front fenders. Because they’re quite rare.

Specifically, only 3,118 units were produced in 1971, the R/T’s final year on the market. About 2,500 of them were fitted with the four-barrel 440-cubic-inch (7.2-liter) V8 and only 178 had the Six Pack version of the same engine. The HEMI is arguably the rarest, with only 63 cars sold.

The 1972 Charger you see here is not one of those cars. Because, as I said, Dodge eliminated both the R/T package and the HEMI for 1972. But that doesn’t mean it’s not worth saving. Yes, it may be a plain-jane car that requires a lot of work, but it’s a solid example that has a surprisingly low amount of rust.

That’s something you don’t see on 1970s muscle cars that have been sitting for a long time. And this Mopar hasn’t touched a strip of asphalt since 1995, which means it’s been out of order for almost 30 years as of 2023.

Granted, it doesn’t make much financial sense to restore and flip it. Such a process would require a five-figure investment that likely exceeds the car’s value in Concours-ready condition. According to Hagerty, a 1972 Charger in tip-top shape is worth a little more than $27,000. But this doesn’t necessarily mean bad news.

Since no one wants these cars beyond their potential for spare parts, 1972 Chargers in poor condition are quite cheap. And this leaves room to invest in a cool restomod or a full-blown sleeper. And yes, I am thinking about a completely stock, plain-jane exterior and a 426 HEMI under the hood.

It doesn’t even have to be an all-original second-generation HEMI from the golden era. These engines are also rare and quite expensive. There are plenty of aftermarket options out there. All it needs is to look like a 426 mill and deliver enough oomph to turn the Charger into an unassuming beast with tire-shredding potential.

Just look at that sad hood and tell me it doesn’t deserve a shaker!

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