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1968 Dodge Charger RTR

A history/background on your interest in cars/customizing cars? 

Johan has since childhood been fascinated by everything with an engine and began customize both bikes, mopeds and later cars at an early age. Johan won, among others Elmia Styling Price already back in 1994 with a, for that time heavily modified Mercedes 300 coupe -88, and in the early millennium he was also breaking new ground by slamming a brand new Volvo XC70 gen 2 to the ground when it just had left the fabrication floor.

While growing up in the country side in county Värmland, Sweden with it´s deep forests, the burning desire for the American muscle car culture, primarily Mopar with their big engines and heavy attribute compressors and headers was born inside him.

Through the years, Johan has built several priced builds in different categories, but it is the heavy customized and tuned Dodges he has built over the last 10 years he is most recognized of.

Johan is a visionary who is constantly looking for new challenges and continuing thinking about new projects that sometimes is realized and sometimes stops at the thought.

How did this particular build come about? Are you only interested in classics or do you also customize newer rides?
This car has bin built and rebuilt in Johans and the fellowships heads for over 10 years before the first actual cut was made in the body.

The idea of the RTR was to mix the original Mopar spirit with a bit of “Hot Wheels appearance” but still keep the soul of what the American muscle ikon Dodge Charger -68 stands for, but transform it to a super modern sports car with extreme performance.

What went into customizing it?
 Johan with friends also has another highlighted build on their bucket list. A black Dodge Charger -68 also customized and tuned but in a more ruff mode wit supercharger, big hi fi system and a aggressive look mixed with innovative details and design features. To take the same car and year model as both his customized the -68 Chargers is and don’t slip into recreate the same thing over again demands a solid vision and be able to see the big picture. If the black Charger was a big project, the following RTR was enormous. Again Johan reminds himself that to build the RTR after his mind has bin a dream since he was a kid and held a small Hot Wheel car in his hand on his boy room.

What was the condition of the Charger when you first got it? What as your vision for it?
Back in 2007, Johan bought a ’68 Mopar from his good friend who specializes in selling old-school American classics and muscle cars as a platform for the future and his dream of the RTR build. At this time he was also in full swing of building his black Charger and fine tuning the last pieces of his price winning Dodge Viper GTS -96. The project car he now bought was more a rolling chassi and body since both engine and transmission was missing and the body had its bit of rust on it´s places. But there was changes in the horizont to that!

Did you create a plan or did you just work on different parts as they came up?
This question is answered in the upper parts already.

Who helped you work on the Charger?

– This is not a one man show!

In order to get Johan´s ideas to reality takes both skills, time, blood sweat and tears from all involved. Johan is the master mind behind the design and construction of all his builds, and is also most involved in every part of manufacturing during all the process and has the last call in everything. But without a team around him, it would be impossible to create what they do. And here is where the strength of a true camaraderie comes in. For A build like the RTR involves so much people to make it a reality. All from sponsors, sub-contractors of parts not possible to solve in house, to friends who marshal with anything from transporting a piece from A to B in the middle of the night in order to get the car ready. But there is a core that has more hours in the garage then in their home the last years that needs to get full credit as well in order to make the RTR project to what it is. All of this has been done mostly with great help of his two best friends mr Jörgen and mr Otto as a core team, and they all goes under the name “the fellowship”. But ofcource there is also a great bunch of more friends (and their wifes) to let them free on weekends and nights to help us out.

The RTR wouldn´t exist without the support of Turtle Wax Sweden!
For a group of friends working on this level of project on their spare time it would nit bin possible to take the RTR to what it is now without great long term support. And that we have got by Turtle Wax Sweden. They have helped us out in different ways to give the project air under the wings and to that they have our deepest thanks.

What are your top mods and why?
to rank a specific part or detail on the RTR to stand out is for us impossible. The whole idea of the RTR was to never take a short cut in customization and that is what we are most proud of that we have done. For us it´s just the mix with the big insertions as bodywork, engine, milled details and hi fi installation to the small, almost invisible changes and details we have done the key factor.

Did you face any challenges during the build? How did you overcome them?
Does Dolly Parton sleep on her back? Yes, of course we have had our great share of set backs.
But to us it has bin the red line from vision to what we wanted the RTR to stand for that has kept us on track. A build that last in operative status for almost 5 years and over 15 000 hours of work meets it´s dips and bumps. But the fact that we have built this car in our heads on detail level for so long time before we actually started truly helped us to see the light in the tunnel.

How long did it take to finish?

Answered already above

Did you build it here in the States or back home?
The whole build was taken place back in Sweden in Johan and his friends different garages. That is one thing that strikes other pro builders we met on our U.S tour here that there is no professional shop involved beside the interior stitching, milling of the one off rims and some engine tuning that we needed help with. Instead we have trailered the car back and forth and transported different parts between us depending on what stage in the process the project was at the time. To give you an idea of the transport time we have spent on this the fellowship members all live about 150 kilometers between each other surrounded with deep forests.

Why did you bring it to the States if was built back in Sweden?
Back in 2011 we won Sweden´s best custom car with our black Charger -68 and won the possibility to show it on SEMA show in Las Vegas in Car Crazy´s booth representing Sweden at the Meguiar´s Challenge. The response of the build was extreme and it got chosen to be “The car of the show” and stood at the outside podium alone on the Friday of SEMA 2011.

If the crowd and organization at SEMA enjoyed the black Charger build, this RTR is in a totally other level of craftsmanship and extent, far more advanced and extreme in every inch and detail, both inside and outside. So of course both we and our partner Turtle Wax Sweden wanted to show our work for the audience in U.S where the American muscle cars once came from. With great help of the swedish company CTEK battery Chargers we got the possibility to show the car at SEMA Show 2017. And from that everything just snowballed for us with appereances at Jay Leno´s Garage, shootings for magazines, Youtubers, TV shows and a few car shows as Cars for charity in Kansas, Garnd national roadster show in Pomona L.A, Alberquekre New Mexico as a feutare car and Darryl Starbird car show in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  we can not see this in other way ten a success and that they liked what we have done on our Turtle Wax Dodge Charger RTR.

Where has it been while on tour here? Biggest highlight from the tour?
Answered above

How did you end up meeting Jay Leno? What was that like?
The Jay Leno experience was a mind blowing and almost surreal adventure it self for all of us in the fellowship. We got invited to his show at SEMA Show and with great help of CTEK we managed to solve all practical things around that. To sit in the passenger seat of our own RTR that almost has not bin test driven yet while Jay Leno gives throttle and smiles on L.A streets was nothing less than mind blowing. It didn´t get less overwhelming that suddenly a chain of black cars stops at the  shooting site and U.S ex vice president Joe Biden steps out and heads directly for the RTR. And to experience all the regulations around a production like jay Leno´s Garage and what comes with officials like Joe Biden was also a experience for life. The episode is sent and online it is one of the most clicked episodes of 2017 with several hundred thousand views.

What’s next in terms of your next customization?
For the sake of my family and mine and the rest of fellowships health we will enjoy this for a while at first. We have got a few requests of building cars to others but still nothing is decided. But that would of course be a natural and cool step to take for all of us.

What will you do with the Charger?
Nothing is decided yet. First of all we are going to display it along with our partner Turtle Wax under 2018. We have got several offers from buyers but also in tat parts nothing is decided. Since I have all my other cars still, there is not sure that with all work we have put in to the RTR we are able to let it go. The future will tell I guess.