With a resounding bellow, the Oly Express startles the French racing faithful at Le Mans. The hulking 1972 Dodge Charger dwarfs the alien-shaped Mirages and Porsches parked nearby and if the muscle car’s shape doesn’t completely cast a shadow over the pint-sized sports cars, the idling Chrysler 426 Wedge drowns out their small-bore buzz just the same. The year is 1976 and NASCAR has come to Le Mans.
Just a few days before the United States’ bicentennial, a pair of hulking American coupes came to conquer the world’s biggest endurance race. Both would return to France many years later, but on 4/26, it’s only fitting to talk about the 426-powered Mopar at Le Mans. The Oly Express’ racing tales in ’76 may have been short-lived, but the French remembered the car fondly when Christophe Schwartz returned with the Olympia Beer-sponsored ’72 Charger, a bit changed, 30 years later.