Without a doubt, the breakout car for 1968 was the Dodge Charger. Sure, the Mako Shark-inspired Corvette was a slick looking sports car, and the new mid-size GM coupes had a shorter wheelbase with fastback styling, but the Charger; well, that car was in a league of its own.
As an enthusiast, it was easy to fall head over heels in love with the Charger. It was an instant hit, with its Coke bottle styling coupled with a wedge shape and tunnel back rear window that was a dramatic departure from the boxy ’67. Not only did the new Charger have the looks, but it also had the power, up to an available 426 Hemi. If a 425 horsepower dual quad Hemi was a little more performance than what you were looking for, a 440, 383 or even a 318 were also available. But regardless of the engine you chose, the Charger had the look that people lusted for. The ordinary person on the street might not know if it was an R/T or a base model, but they knew that it was a Charger.
Above left: Contrasting 50th Anniversary GSS graphics amplify the classic body lines on the new Charger. Even the door scoops are reminiscent of those on the 1970 Charger. Unlike the production version, all of the graphics were custom painted on this Charger, making it a truly unique Mr. Norm’s 50th Anniversary GSS. Above right: 50th Anniversary GSS Charger looks long, low and sleek from any angle.
And for a Dodge dealer, the Charger was dream come true. Here was a car that nearly sold itself. Imagine people of all ages, from all walks of life walking through your doors asking about a new Charger like the one they saw in the unforgettable chase scene with Steve McQueen’s Mustang in the movie Bullitt. Featured on the cover of every automotive magazine, the Charger was a real dream machine, and an affordable one at that.
For years, Mopar enthusiasts have lobbied Chrysler for the return of a Charger that echoed the shape and theme of the much loved vehicle. In response to those requests, in 2011 the new Charger incorporated many of the lines that made the original so popular, carefully integrating them into a thoroughly modern automobile. Looking at the Charger, it’s easy to see that the design includes several of the popular styling cues that defined the 1968 – 1970 models. They include the simulated door and hood scoops and the “wall to wall” tail lights from the ’70. Even the rear window is slightly recessed as a tribute to the tunnel backlight on the second gen Charger.
History has a way of repeating itself, and much like it was in 1971, today’s Charger is once again the big brother to the Challenger. And like their B-Body and E-Body predecessors, these vehicles share their much of their understructure and many of the chassis components, with the major difference being a shorter wheelbase, sheet metal and interior trim on the Challenger. Sometimes, the more things change, the more they are the same.
Above left: Rear spoiler provides a hooded effect over the 1970 Charger style wall to wall tail lights. Above right: Like the original, the Mr. Norm’s 50th Anniversary GSS Charger has a formidable appearance that’s intimidating at rest or at speed.
With the advent of the new Charger came numerous requests from enthusiasts for a Mr. Norm’s special edition similar to those already available for the Challenger. In response to the requests, Mr. Norm authorized the creation of a 50th Anniversary GSS Charger as a companion to the 50th Anniversary GSS Challenger. Working with Bosak Motors in Merrillville, Indiana, a Mr. Norm’s dealer, Serial Number 1 of the 50th Anniversary GSS Chargers, was brought to life. It is a very special version of this limited edition series, and is the feature vehicle in this story.
Like the Mr. Norm’s 50th Anniversary GSS Challenger, the 50th Anniversary GSS Charger is loaded with a wide range of features. First, in celebration of Mr. Norm’s 50th Anniversary, the vehicles are offered in both black and white, accented with contrasting gold graphics. And for those who would like something different, all of the factory colors are also available for the 50th Anniversary GSS Charger with corresponding colors for the graphics.
The Mr. Norm’s 50th Anniversary Charger is one thoroughly modern muscle car, and it all starts with the race inspired GSS Aero Body Package. The aggressively styled ground effects dramatically enhances the appearance of the Charger with its wind cheating front air dam, rear lower fascia cladding with a Viper GTS/R style air diffuser, and matching side skirts.
Above left: Door scoops echo the appearance of the scoops on the 1970 Charger R/T. Above right: The Katzkin custom leather interior provides the perfect complement to the exterior. It looks great, and the glove soft leather provides comfortable, supportive seating for high speed driving maneuvers.
In addition, the GSS Charger is also enhanced with the Mr. Norm’s Speedway Rear Spoiler and Door Ducts. And consistent with its no-nonsense personality, the graphics on the GSS Charger are bold, with dramatic accents on both the body sides and hood. Needless to say, much like the original, this is one thoroughly modern muscle car that you can spot a block away. Like the Challenger, GSS 50th Anniversary emblems are located on the front fenders, and a Mr. Norm’s windshield banner lets everyone know that you’ve got the real thing.
The Charger features Mr. Norm’s Hotchkis Performance suspension upgrades that includes lowering springs and beefier sway bars. The springs lower the Charger 1.5” front and rear. Hotchkis utilizes hollow bars front and rear for maximum performance. The front bar is 110% stiffer than stock, while the rear bar is 35% stiffer. Working in concert with the enhanced suspension is rolling stock that consists of Hurst Dazzler custom wheels and BF Goodrich g-Force Comp II tires.
A staggered fitment further amplifies the handling prowess and footprint of the Challenger and Charger. At the front, 245/45ZR20 tires are mated to 9-inch wide wheels, while at the rear, 275/40ZR20 tire are fitted with 10-inch wide wheels. The results are nothing short of impressive, thanks to enhanced track width, wider tires and a suspension that’s ready for drag racing, road racing or cruise night.
Above center: GSS hood graphics add definition to the 1968 style hood recesses. Above right: The Mr. Norm’s signature dash plaque authenticates this 50th Anniversary GSS Charger as a serial numbered collectible muscle car. Note that this is Serial Number 001.
Inside, the Charger features custom leather by Katzkin with the Mr. Norm’s 50th Anniversary logo embroidered in contrasting gold stitching in the front and rear seat backs and carpet mats. The 50th Anniversary GSS Charger that is the subject of this story features Dark Graphite leather that matches with the interior. White Pearl leather is also available, and regardless of color, the seat inserts are perforated for comfort.
A Mr. Norm’s Pistol Grip Shifter with carbon fiber grips is standard equipment and complements the factory trim. The finishing touch to the interior is the Mr. Norm’s signature serial number dash plaque that’s located on the right side of the dash.
For those of us who want a muscle car, but need a vehicle with four doors, there’s nothing on the road today like the Mr. Norm’s 50th Anniversary GSS Charger. It mirrors the performance of its cousin, the 50th Anniversary GSS Challenger, coupled with serious visual presence unlike any other vehicle on the road today. If a modern muscle car is on your shopping list, but a coupe doesn’t meet your needs, the Mr. Norm’s 50th Anniversary GSS Charger may be just what you’re looking for.
“Mr. Norm’s 50th Anniversary GSS Charger: Maxed Out Charger For Show And Go” was written by Marv Herbert with photos by Larry Weiner, and was first published in Pentastar Power in November 2014, and can be read in its entirety HERE.