In 1968, the NASCAR inspired Charger R/T failed to beat the Ford cars (the Ford Torino Talladega and the Mercury Cyclone Spoiler II) on the high-banks oval-tracks. Wind tunnel tests showed the tunneled rear window caused lift and the gaping mouth induced drag. As a result, Dodge made the rear window flush with the rest of the roof and put a 1968 Coronet grille in the front.
The original Charger 500 prototype was a 1968 Charger R/T with a 426 Hemi and automatic transmission. The prototype was painted in B5 Blue with a white stripe, as well as a white interior. The Charger 500 was one of three models introduced in September 1968. Standard engine was the 440 Magnum, but factory literature claims the 426 Hemi was standard. The Charger 500 had the Torqueflite standard and the same equipment standard as the R/T.
A total of 500 Charger 500s were made, of which only 67 had the 426 Hemi engine; 27 with a 4-speed and 40 with an automatic transmission.