The Bloomington Ghost – A Low Mileage 1966 HEMI Charger
Some people don’t believe in ghosts, and others are out to prove they exist. But the Bloomington Ghost is not from the paranormal world, and now we know that this ghost exists and actually spent some time scaring people on the streets of Bloomington, IL, back in 1966 – with the roar of its 426 HEMI.
It was called the “Bloomington Ghost” because for many years it was rumored to exist, but nobody ever saw it. The original owner of this mauve 1966 HEMI Charger is Cora Case, and she grew up in a Mopar family so it was only fitting for her to buy a new Dodge Charger when they came out in 1966.
While working at the Courtesy Dodge dealership in Bloomington in 1965, Cora saw promotional literature about the 426 HEMI and she just had to have one. She felt that if the HEMI was good enough for her favorite racer, Richard Petty, then it was good enough for her.
She initially ordered a Charger in gold when she sat down with the salesman, who urged her to reconsider her decision on the HEMI. But she would have nothing to do with it and insisted on the 426.
After waiting for months while Dodge corresponded with her and the salesman about a delivery date, her patience grew thin and she asked the salesman to find her another HEMI Charger. A mauve Charger was found at a dealership about 70 miles away, and the trade was made. It wasn’t gold, but Cora loved it just the same.
1966 was the first year for the street HEMI, and Cora was one of 468 people who bought a Charger with a HEMI. The Charger was a big car, and the “elephant engine” looked great in the engine bay. Cora loved it, and she had no trouble using the go-stick on the floor to make that Charger fly.
After a few weeks of beating the pants off of anyone who would race her, Cora substituted the 426 HEMI badges with 383 badges in an attempt to rustle up some unsuspecting victims along the famed old Route 66. Stories of the lady in the mauve Charger were well known back then, and eventually the only people she could find to race were from out of town.
The Charger spent the first fall and winter in storage, and was only driven on fair days. Eventually, with just a bit over 6,000 miles on the odometer, Cora parked her Charger because she just didn’t have the time to drive it anymore. She was working a couple of different jobs and drove a Satellite and a work van, and with the Charger in storage she spent more and more time away from it.
In the late 1980’s, Cora decided to get her Charger out of storage and put it in another facility, but problems arose. She asked a friend of hers, Keith Arteman, to help her sort out the legal issues that she was going through with regards to the ownership of the car. She had known Keith for 20 years, and she felt he had the smarts and persistence to help resolve her issues. Her instincts were right, and she felt that the Charger was better off stored at Keith’s home instead of another facility since he had the space and dry storage capabilities that the car needed.
Unaware of the value that this rare car would generate, Cora asked Keith if he was interested in part ownership of the Charger in exchange for his assistance. Keith would take care of the Charger and maintain it, and they took it to shows to be admired by many.
Very few problems plagued this car after sitting for so long. They eventually had to drop the tank to clean it out and a new fuel pump was installed. The only flaw in this car was due to a tool being left on the air cleaner when the hood was being closed. A small indentation shows up on the hood of this otherwise flawless Charger, which is said to be the best preserved HEMI Charger in existence by several Mopar experts.
After many shows and just a couple thousand miles more on the odometer, the Charger is now up for sale as Cora feels that it’s time for a new owner. The price of this one-owner car is in the asking range of $250,000. With only 3 mauve 1966 HEMI Chargers known to exist, this ghost has made many appearances to the delight of Mopar fanatics everywhere.
It’s hard to believe that the pictures shown here are how the car sits today; they look like original pictures from when the Charger was purchased new back in 1966. Even the original radiator hoses and hose clamps are still there, and the original Blue Streak tires are still on the car. What an incredible car!