The appeal of American muscle cars transcends American borders, intriguing an international audience that appreciates the rich history, big horsepower and exceedingly good looks of these timeless rides. One such admirer is Johan Eriksson, more popularly known as “Volvo Johan,” “Viper Johan” or “Charger Johan,” who hails from Sweden. Ever since he could remember, he’s been fascinated by everything with an engine and began his customizing career at an early age. Growing up in the country in Värmland, Sweden, Johan took an interest in American muscle car culture, primarily Mopar with their big engines and heavy attribute compressors and headers and knew his real work was building his own version of these muscle cars that fueled his passion for the automotive world.

Over the years, he’s worked on numerous builds (including a black 1968 Charger R/T and 1996 Dodge Viper GTS), but it’s his most recent 1968 Dodge Charger RT/R restomod that he’s most proud of. “The car was first built and was then re-built first in my mind for more than 10 years before any real modification were done to the Charger,” he details. The mission of his classic RT/R was to mix the original Mopar spirit with a bit of a “Hot Wheels” appearance, while keeping the soul of what the “American muscle icon 1968 Dodge Charger” stands for. All the while transforming it to become a modern sports car with extreme performance, stance and styling. So, although at first glance it looks like a standard 1968 Charger, it’s bigger and bolder in every possible way!

In 2007, Johan bought the Charger from a friend that specialized in selling American classics, knowing that it would one day transform into his dream RT/R build. “It was more of a rolling chassis and body than anything since both the engine and transmission were missing and the body had bits of rust. But there were grand changes in the horizon for it!” he exclaims. Together with his friends Jörgen and Otto (which make up the fellowship Powered By Johan) and collaboration with Turtle Wax Sweden, the team was assembled and the project was underway.

But all great things aren’t done overnight, with the build taking almost five years and 15,000 hours to complete. Johan was the mastermind behind the overall design and construction of the build, but his friends and team donated countless time and effort to bring his vision to life. “For a build like the RT/R to happen it involves so much people to make it a reality. From sponsors, subcontractors of parts not possible to solve in-house, to friends who dealt with anything from transporting a piece from A to B in the middle of the night in order to get the car ready.”

Unlike in the States where you may have one shop do it all, there was no one professional shop involved in this build except for the when the interior stitching, custom wheels and some engine tuning they needed help with. “Instead, we trailered the car back and forth and transported different parts between us depending on what stage in the process the project was at the time,” he explains. “To give you an idea of the transport time we have spent on this, the fellowship members all live about 93 miles between each other surrounded with deep forests. The project would have not been possible had it not been for the group of friends working on their spare time.”

With an intricate list of modifications for the pro-tourer, Johan finds it hard to chose his favorites, explaining how such a task would be impossible. For him and his fellowship, it was never about taking any customization shortcuts. “For us, it’s just the mix of the big things like the bodywork, engine, milling details and the like to even the smallest, almost invisible changes and details, that all factor in together to create what we set out to achieve.”

After winning Sweden’s best custom car with their black 1968 Charger, they were invited to present their build at the SEMA Show that year and able to experience the SEMA excitement, which he felt again when the Charger was shown at the 2017 SEMA Show thanks to the help of CTEK Battery Chargers. From there, it’s been a whirlwind of a ride, touring across America to show off his creation. And the buzz was so big that it caught the attention of avid car enthusiast Jay Leno, who featured Johan on his YouTube channel “Jay Leno’s Garage.”

“The Jay Leno experience was mind blowing and almost a surreal adventure for all of us in the fellowship,” he details. “To sit in the passenger seat of our RT/R that really hadn’t been test driven yet while Jay Leno gives throttle and smiles on L.A. streets was nothing less than mind blowing. It didn’t get less overwhelming that suddenly a chain of black cars stopped at the filming site and former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden stepped out to check out the RT/R! That episode is one of the most clicked YouTube videos of 2017!”

As they currently tour the states, Johan’s fellowship is basking in all the excitement the Charger is generating before they go back home and come up with their next huge build. And even though they’ve got plenty of offers from potential buys, he’s not sure if it’ll ever be sold. “We’ve put too much work into the Charger to let it go…but the future will tell, I guess.”

TECH SPECS : 1968 Dodge Charger RT/R

Engine

  • V10 Dodge Viper engine
  • Callies connecting rods
  • JE pistons
  • LSM camshaft
  • Manley valve springs
  • T&D roller rockers
  • MaxxECU engine steering
  • Twin Borg Warner ESR turbos

Transmission

  • Strength Viper clutch
  • Custom cardan shaft
  • 6-speed manual Tremec gearbox
  • Custom Shortened drive axles

Chassis and Suspension

  • Modified chassis w/ custom sub frames
  • AirRex air ride system

Exterior

  • Bespoke-designed exterior produced w/ aluminum details that were milled from more than 6,500-pounds of raw material
  • Custom Viking Red Blood Debeer paint w/ a combination of red, black silver and gold mixed in

Interior

  • One-off roll cage upholstered in leather
  • Custom dashboard and gages
  • Bespoke Elmo leather 2+2 bucket seats
  • Aluminum console

Audio

  • Pioneer DEX-P99RS head unit
  • (2) 5.25” Pioneer TS-C132PRS component speakers in dashboard
  • (2) 6.5” Pioneer TS-C272PRS speakers in doors
  • (2) Pioneer TS-SW2502S4 speakers in kick panels
  • (2) 5.25”Pioneer TS-C232PRS speakers behind back seats
  • (3) Pioneer TS-SW2502S4 subs behind back seats
  • (2) 5.25” Pioneer TS-C232PRS kit in trunk
  • (9) Pioneer PRS-D800 amps in trunk
  • (1) Pioneer SPC5010 capacitor
  • Stinger cables
  • (4) AGM batteries
  • (4) CTEK MXS 25EC chargers/maintainers
  • Sound by LarsK Design
SOURCES
Powered by Johan PosweredByJohan.com | IG @poweredbyjohan