Built in only 50 units to celebrate the Cincinnati Bengals’ first year in the American Football League, the 1968 Dodge Bengal Charger is one of the rarest iterations of the iconic muscle car. But did you know Tom Kneer Dodge offered a similar special-edition Charger in 1972?
Don’t worry if you didn’t, the 1972 Bengal Charger is somewhat of a mystery. While the 1968 run is fully documented as being designed by Tom Kneer Dodge in Cincinnati, the 1972 series didn’t get as much attention.
Actually, there’s little to no info about it out there, but this Charger in Michigan may be proof that the Cincinnati-based dealership created a similar run in 1972.
Documented by YouTube’s “Auto Archaeology,” this Charger spent quite a few years in a garage and looks like a barn-found survivor. But even though it shows quite a few rust spots, it appears to be in solid condition, only a bit of work away from becoming a road-worthy classic.
So how do we know this is a genuine Bengali charger? Hints of its special edition status is the “Bengali Charger” badge on the front fenders. The hood sports a black stripe and Bengal Charger decal.
The car is indeed finished in the Bengal-specific orange color, but what you’re looking at is not the original spray. And I know this because I found a post about this car on the Dodge Charger forums. The story is from 2006 when the current owner got the car and documents a repaint, which might have covered the twin black stripes.
The owner also claims that his Charger is one of only two known to exist, but doesn’t provide additional info. Unfortunately, there’s no info as to how many were made in 1972 either.
The original Bengal Charger run from 1968 included just 50 cars and most of them have disappeared since then. As of 2022, only three are known to exist and at least one is in pristine condition. This car was auctioned off for $80,000 in 2020, despite an initial estimate of more than $280,000.
Whether this 1972 Charger is a Bengal or not remains a mystery, so if you have any info on this run, be sure to get in touch in the comments section below.