Pink Power

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Born out of an ordering mistake, only Ma Mopar could have ever created a car as in-your-face as this 1970 Charger.

By Bill Woods Photos by TheBruntBros


One of two pink Six-Pack Chargers produced. This Charger originally was ordered with every option checked off. It’s an unusual 4-color car—pink, white, black (wing and hood callout) and gray (interior). It is numbers-matching and came with all the paperwork.

Things were pretty wild at Highland Park back in 1970. Hemis and Six-Packs were music to the ears, and Chrysler also cooked up a feast for the eyes with the most in-your-face hues ever to grace factory sheetmetal.  Outrageous colors under the heading of High Impact Paint (HIP) flowed on Plymouths and Dodges with attention-getting names such as Lemon Twist, Curious Yellow, Vitamin C, Sublime, GreenGo, TorRed , and Plum Crazy (Statutory Grape, however, didn’t make the cut). Dodge and Plymouth offered the same colors, but under different names.

One of the wildest of these hues was paint code FM3, aka Panther Pink in Dodge speak  or Moulin Rouge for Plymouth.  Now, we could see a bright pink car say on an A-body Swinger being driven around town by a female high school student or young secretary. But on a man’s car—a Six-Pack Charger? 

SE option gave you a nice charcoal gray interior. Rallye dash came standard on the R/T.

So it’s not surprising that Dodge cranked out only two of these FM3 Six-Pack Charger R/Ts —one  4-speed and one automatic. And, truth be told, there should have only been one made (more on that later). There were no Hemi ’70 Chargers sprayed in pink. In fact only two pink Hemi cars of any make/model are known to exist, and they are both ‘Cudas. FM3 itself had the shortest run of any HIP—introduced in mid ’70 and not carried over to the ’71s.

When Wade Ogle started collecting top-tier Mopars in 2004 he set his sights high. One of every HIP in a 4-speed Hemi. After snagging an InViolet-on-white ’71 Hemicuda 4-speed, his first Hemi car, he set his sights on the holy grail of HIP colors–Pink. He remembered reading about the one-of-one 1970 Moulin Rouge 4-speed Hemicuda Survivor in Mopar Action, and knowing the only other pink Hemi car was the automatic-equipped Hemicuda from the Otis Chandler collection, this 4-speed FM3 Hemicuda car had to be bought. As our 1999 article had predicted, this unrestored gem was the first Mopar to cross the half-million dollar mark, and Wade calls the ‘Cuda an “everything” car—numbers matching 4-speed survivor, loaded (at the time the most heavily-optioned ‘Cuda known to exist), white leather with Gran Coupe overhead console, every piece of paperwork, one of only two pink  Hemicars—you get the idea. ‘Course Wade’s purchase was big news in the Mopar hobby.


The Charger wears nearly all of its original sheetmetal. There’s just small patch panel in one quarter and about half of the other quarter has been replaced. Pink repaint was sprayed with the factory enamel. 

Wade was attending the 2005 Mopars at the Strip when a guy walks up to him. “I want to introduce myself. I’m Peter Swainson, and I heard you’re the one who bought the pink Hemicuda.  Well, I have a pink Charger R/T from Canada that’s also like yours—4-speed, white top, SE, bumble bee stripe, wing…”

 It’s no secret that hi-roller collectors have all kinds of people coming out of the woodwork at shows and talking about their crazy cars. So Wade’s initial reaction was “yeah, right.” Then Peter mentioned that his Charger had been featured in a Mopar magazine a few years earlier. That got Wade’s attention. He went home, leafed through his stack of old mags and there it was—a 1970 Six-Pack 4-speed Charger R/T SE in glorious Panther Pink. Wade had been more interested in E-bodies at the time so he had overlooked that article.

Turns out Peter, an astute Mopar collector in his own right, owned Southside Dodge-Chrysler-Jeep in Red Deer, Alberta, Canada.  He had been trying to buy the Charger for years, and once he finally landed it he had his dealership and assistant Kori Alexander restore the car in 2000 using tons of NOS parts and even going so far as to repaint it with the factory enamel. 


Black wing does look kinda weird on a pink and white car. You’d figure a body-color or white wing would have been the way to go.

 And what a car it was. It was loaded to the gills, all numbers matching, original sheetmetal and all the paperwork. Additionally, the fact that this FM3 Charger R/T SE 4-speed also has a white vinyl top and leather interior made it darn near an exact counterpart, or sister if you will, to Wade’s 4-speed FM3 Hemicuda. Wade had found a second “everything” car.

‘Course Wade went nuts over the car and had to have it. Trouble was, it wasn’t for sale. Wade kept in touch with Peter over the next five years. “Not for sale.”  Then, in 2010, Peter called Wade. He wanted some advice. After the 2008 economic disaster, times were tough, and a group of “brokers” up in Canada had offered to buy his Charger. And Peter was considering it. But should he sell to them? The brokers were involved publicly in some legal issues and he wasn’t sure they were the right home.

                “Peter, why do you want to sell the Charger?”

                “To buy a Hemi B-body.”

                “Why sell it to them, why don’t you sell it to me?”

Wade turned Peter on to a couple of Hemi Bs and waited patiently by the phone.  Several weeks went by, but Peter eventually scored a car to his liking and called Wade.  No negotiations took place, Peter named his price and Wade said “Yes,” almost exactly the way the pink Hemicuda deal went down 5 years earlier. The way Wade sees it these two cars were destined to be together (course, other people may see it differently).


There were no pink Hemi Chargers so the Six-Pack was the top power option in this color. Engine compartment is nicely restored.

Wade turned Peter on to a couple of Hemi Bs and waited patiently by the phone.  Several weeks went by, but Peter eventually scored a car to his liking and called Wade.  No negotiations took place, Peter named his price and Wade said “Yes,” almost exactly the way the pink Hemicuda deal went down 5 years earlier. The way Wade sees it these two cars were destined to be together (course, other people may see it differently).

 “People don’t believe that a car like this could come from the factory. They think it’s a custom job. It’s pretty cool being a 4-color car—pink, white roof and stripe, black wing and hood and charcoal gray interior. How many 4-color cars are out there? So what if it’s not a Hemi, it’s a perfect match for my ‘Cuda, and I wouldn’t trade for any other Charger on the planet,” says Wade.

Wade rarely drives his expensive Charger, though he did once drive his daughter to first grade in the Charger. It was one of these deals where you pull up to the curb and a teacher opens the door to let the kid out. The Charger immediately attracted a crowd, but the best was when one female teacher walked over and asked “Mr. Ogle, can I… pet your car?”

Another time Wade took the Dodge to a local car show in his hometown of Napa, CA. Big mistake. It attracted little kids like flies. When he got the car home the upper part of the car looked fine, but below the beltline the Charger was covered with scores of 4” round handprints.

We mentioned earlier, that this Charger almost never came to be. That story is pretty cool in itself. The original buyer was one Gerry Ward in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. Gerry wanted a new ’70 Dodge Charger R/T, and he wanted every option in the book (musta cashed in his Bar Mitzvah bonds or something). So he goes over to Western Dodge of Moose Jaw and gathers his thoughts. He knows he wants a Six-Pack and a 4-speed backed by the Super Track Pak Dana 4.10. And he knows he wants air conditioning, and throw in a power sunroof while you’re at it. And its gotta be comfy, so it needs to have the SE package.  Wing? Check.  8-Track? Check. Bumblebee stripe and hood callout?  Check and check. Oh, and don’t forget it gets cold up here, so it needs the defogger and block heater.  Let’s see, is there anything we haven’t checked yet?  Oh, yes, six-way seat, console, tinted glass, racing mirrors, hood pins, locking gas cap, power windows, 15” rallyes, undercoating, and tach.  Is that everything? “Yes sir, every single box has been checked.”  Visions of a big commission are dancing in the salesman’s head. “OK sir, but what color do you want?” Color? Gerry hadn’t thought about that. “Whaddya  got?”

The salesman broke out a book of color chips. “What about this one?” he asked, pointing to a new midyear chip they just got in labeled “Moulin Rouge.” Now here’s where it gets interesting (or confusing). Maybe the lighting in the salesman’s office wasn’t up to par. Maybe there was electromagnetic interference from sunspot activity. Maybe there was a slight shift in the gravitational field continuum (see Einstein’s theory on that). May it was all—or none—of the above. The bottom line was that Gerry—and the salesman—both thought the new color was some sort of high impact Red, to complement the standard-cost FE5 Rallye Red.  After all, doesn’t “Rouge” mean “Red” in some foreign tongue? Great, let’s go with this new HIP Red!

So the papers were signed and the salesman went out to celebrate with a martini or two.

A couple of months went by and no car. Gerry had ordered the Charger late in the 1970 model year and didn’t want his ’70 to arrive by the time the ‘71s were coming out, so he called the dealer. They in turn called the zone. Seems the company that Chrysler had contracted to install sunroofs was backed up big time.  OK, can the sunroof. And another thing, A/C isn’t available with the Six-Pack, the salesman had goofed. It was either drop down to the 440 Magnum or dump the A/C.  Fortunately, and perhaps partially due to living in the Great White North, he chooses performance over comfort, keeps the Six-Pack, and cans the A/C.

Three months after ordering the Charger it finally arrives. Gerry rushes down to the dealership. “Where’s the car?” The salesman points nervously in the direction of some new cars. “WHERE’S THE CAR?” the salesman again points. “Excuuuse me, but wasn’t I supposed to be getting a RED car? Drive a PINK car—ARE YOU NUTS? I don’t want it!” Neither did the dealership. After all, this was an expensive ($5021.95) piece of hardware to be saddled with and buyers wouldn’t exactly be breaking their doors down to own it.

Calling on all of their car-selling tricks short of tying Gerry to a chair and administering electric shocks, the dealers at Western Dodge finally convince Gerry to take the pink Charger. But something had to be done to add some macho to the equation. That was accomplished with a set of Cragars and fat rubber, and as handwritten on the Dealer Invoice, the dealership threw in a set traction bars to ease the pain. Whew, that was a close one.

After two years Gerry understandably had enough of driving a pink car and traded it in at a dealership in Regina, Canada. From there it went back to Moose Jaw and was picked up by a farmer and Mopar enthusiast. The Mopar faithful in Canada tended to follow their exotic Mopars very closely, and years of enthusiast’s pictures and observations of this bright Charger document it as having remained pink and unmolested throughout its entire life. By the early ‘90s word about this rare Charger filtered down into the collector circles and came to the attention of Peter, who eventually purchased the car from the farmer in 1999, and in turn sold it to Wade.

This Charger is a testament to Mopars at their musclecar zenith. Freewheeling, unfettered and flamboyant—right before the music stopped.

Sidebar

THE OTHER ONE

While only two pink 440-6 Chargers—both R/Ts– were built, they are a study in contrasts. Wade’s car is a completely loaded 4-speed. The other Charger owned by Pam Wellborn, wife of noted collector Tim “Mr. ’71 Hemi Charger” Wellborn, is a lightly-optioned automatic. Absent on this car are the hood pins, axle package, light package, basic group, sport hood, rear spoiler and pedal dress-up package to name a few). The rallye dash was part of the R/T deal, and power steering and brakes were a nod to sensible cruising. Wade lusted after his pink charger because it was such as great match to the pink Hemicuda he already owned. Tim bought the Charger for Pam because… well, here’s how it went down: Tim and Pam were walking around the Mopar Nats back in 2004, not showing anything or looking for anything, just having a good time. Pam’s internal radar honed in on a car on display about a half-mile away.

                “Wow, look at that car.”

                “Look at what car?” replied Tim. “There must be thousands around here.”

                “It’s the pink one over there.”

                “You mean the car waaay over there? Wait, I’ll call a cab.”

Admiring the pink Charger, Pam asked the owner if she could open the door and peek inside.

                “Sure,” the owner said.

As Pam reached for the door handle she froze and stared in disbelief. Her nail polish and the car color were a dead-nuts match, as if Pam’s hand went down the assembly line and into the paint booth with the Charger. Her pulse quickened.

                “Tim, I have to have this car.”

                “Why?”

                “BECAUSE IT MATCHES MY NAIL POLISH!”

                “Of course, dear. How foolish of me not to notice.”

Just for the record, Pam’s mail polish wasn’t “Panther Pink,” but “You’re A Piece of Work” by OPI. And Tim’s just hoping that Pam doesn’t change the color of her nail polish any time soon. That could start getting expensive.

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