Out on the road course, Martin Sokulski made the big B-Body move like a more svelte E-Body
Whether you’d like to chalk it up to popularity, parts availability, or perhaps some permutation of the two it’s an annoying truth of the hobby that some cars are just easier to build for the type of all-around performance standards that Pro Touring cars strive to achieve. But that always leaves the burning question: What if your loyalty lies with an underserved member of the community? You get creative and look for ways to pioneer.
We’ve noticed for quite some time that at any given event—be it autocross, track, or open road—you can usually count the Mopars in attendance on one finger or less. Oh sure, good-looking and high-horsepower cars turn out for car shows and drag races, but for some reason when it comes to actually pitching the Pentastars in more than one direction, the participation drops off precipitously. Is it that parts just aren’t there, or are the parts not there because the customers aren’t there?
Either way, when we do spot Mopar A-, B-, C-, or E-Bodies walking the walk, we take note. And not to play favorites, but the big B-Body cars particularly catch our eye. Maybe because it’s easy to picture the smaller ’Cudas and Challengers carving cones, but oh so much more interesting when a Charger has the courage. That’s why we couldn’t take our eyes off of Martin Sokulski’s beautiful blue B at this year’s Optima Ultimate Street Car Invitational.
The instrumentation is a mix of original and restored stock parts with Auto Meter UltraLit
While Chargers don’t seem to be at the top of the list for those seeking to pursue handling, it was the obvious choice for Martin. His dad originally bought a ’68 Charger that was his pride and joy, but he had to part with it to buy the family’s first house. Martin always felt like he should bring one back to the Sokulski clan. As for the handling angle, up until a few years ago, Martin was heavy into Stock racing, driving Limited Stock circle track and NASCAR late-model for almost 15 years. He did fairly well, and even had his own team for a while. Around that time, Martin figured it was a good time to finally get a Charger. A ’68, of course.
Looking for a way to bring a bit of that Stock Car corner capability into his Charger, Martin was one of the early guys to jump into the Pro Touring revolution, focusing his attention and budget as much on handling as horsepower. The options were even thinner back then, so much of the work was custom, but simple. Needless to say, he still raised a few hackles at the notoriously conservative Mopar events he attended with it. Unfortunately, history repeated itself and Martin had to part with that Charger due to family responsibilities. It was the right thing to do, but he always regretted having to say goodbye.
On the bright side, that Charger went to another great Mopar-loving home with Mike Musto—yup, the same guy who owns the ’69 Daytona clone seen in our OUSCI coverage. The Pro Touring Mopar community really is a small world. Also bitten by the Pro Touring bug, Musto had been looking for a B-Body to play with. Not too long after acquiring it, Musto drove the Charger on the Bull Run cross-country rally. Needless to say, Martin wished he was the guy behind the wheel, and missing out on an adventure like that (in the car he built!) stuck with him.
With that unpleasant taste in his mouth, it wasn’t long before Martin found himself searching ads for another ’68 Charger. Surprisingly, a nicely painted and solid-bodied roller showed up in Alaska, of all places. Ironically, when Martin contacted the owner about it, he learned the Charger was actually a California car that was bought right around the time he sold his first Charger. Actually, the owner had called Martin about his car, but had been beaten to the punch by Musto, which was why he’d bought this Charger. Man, the Mopar world really is small.