Flip-Top Fakeout: A Funky Charger Funny Car Model from the Past

In the last few months of contributing this column to MoparMax, I’ve delivered hands-on, tech heavy articles here involving dyno testing a 440-based Max Wedge mill and 520 cube Street Hemi to compare the impact of carburetor sizing and header efficiency. We’ve even installed a Sun retro line tachometer in a street driven altered wheelbase Match bash ’63 Dart to see how it works. This month, let’s trade steel for styrene, motor oil for model cement and explore a rare old MPC 1967 Hemi Charger model (MPC kit number 767-200) I found at a recent model car swap meet. It’s an odd one, and you’ll see why in a moment.

If you’re a model car builder, you’ll recognize the name MPC. It stands for Model Products Corporation, an outfit that was first located at 126 Groesbeck Highway in Mount Clemens, MI. MPC got started in 1963 when several key staffers at AMT (a leading plastic model kit maker at the time) broke away and decided to do things their way. By 1966 MPC had produced a string of popular best-selling kits including Carl Casper’s Phone Booth T and was awarded contracts to produce pre-assembled 1/25 scale plastic dealer promotional models of several Chrysler Corp. passenger cars. MPC was on a roll!

Also happening at the time was the birth of the funny car. We all know how they quickly evolved from altered wheelbase door slammers into fiberglass bodied flip-top funny cars in a few short years. For its part, MPC kept on top of the trend and is credited with some of the best flip-top funny car model kits of all time – especially after the funny car genre had stabilized in the late sixties.

So how do we explain something very strange that caught my eye about this ancient MPC 1967 Dodge Charger kit? Here’s the deal. When I first picked the box up for a pre-purchase look see, I noticed what appears to be a flip-top funny car version depicted as an illustration shown on the side panel of the box. As a model car collector and historian I am aware that MPC offered an excellent model kit of Rodger Lindamood’s ’66 Charger fastback-based Color Me Gone funny car. That kit was released in late 1967. As I examined the box, I wondered to myself if this particular kit contained the optional Color Me Gone funny car parts inside.

But I was confused by the box art. Having seen and handled an original MPC Color Me Gone fastback Charger kit, I know it’s a very accurate rendition of Lindamood’s actual car – right down to the correct tube frame chassis and center-seat driver position. Also, the otherwise stock Charger body has an altered wheelbase. Finally, the Color Me Gone kit came in its own box and could only be built as the drag car (thanks to the distorted body shell).

Getting back to the 1967 Charger kit in question here, as the pictures show, the box art and instruction sheet tell how the kit can be built one of four ways; as a Nascar Stocker, Drag, Custom or (showroom) Stock Car. Focusing on the Drag version, I opened the box and discovered something crazy. Follow along with the photos and captions to see for yourself.