Home » Meet The Owner Of ‘The Midnight Wolf’ Dodge Challenger That The Internet Is Obsessed With

Meet The Owner Of ‘The Midnight Wolf’ Dodge Challenger That The Internet Is Obsessed With

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The Weird Car Internet  is a fickle place prone to being easily distracted by French cars and lifted Miatas, so it’s of significant note when all of the WCI gets excited about one particular person or car. Last week it was “The Midnight Wolf” that captured our collective attention, specifically with an image of a framed tale of a Challenger SRT8 whose “first Alpha didn’t appreciate” and that had to be rescued from “fading away.” It now proudly instructs onlookers to “Always Drive Faster Than The Devil Can Run.” We talked to the car’s “new Alpha” and the story–and paint job–is even better than you’d imagine.

Here’s the original tweet from our friend Syd:

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

If you need to see what it says a little clearer:

Mw Letter

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The original post has over 2,300 likes, 196 replies, and 186,000 views on Twitter/X. The responses are about what you’d expect, with people assuming the car owner is a boomer, and stating that it is “the most mopar thing i’ve read in my life.” Someone on Reddit said “this makes me want to cry and not in a good way.”

Internally, our initial reaction was mixed. On the one hand, it can read as a little cringe, especially the bit about foreign cars. On the other hand, this is a car enthusiast who rescued a car they loved, takes care of it, and displays it for others. We’re pro-car here, so rather than jump on the bandwagon we decided to reach out to the owner and find out the true story behind “The Midnight Wolf” and, friends, it does not disappoint.

Midnight Wolf Hood

Yes, some of the expectations about the owner are in fact correct. Charles, the new Alpha, lives in Washington State and works as a trainer and mechanic in the aviation industry. We didn’t specifically ask Charles his age, but it’s safe to assume he’s somewhere along the Gen X/Boomer divide. He does, in fact, own a Hawaiian shirt with pictures of a Dodge Challenger proudly nestled amid the palm trees.

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He also bought the car and modified it specifically to take to car shows and raise money for his community.

“I always wanted an SRT8 and after a chain reaction of fortunate instances I managed to get one,” Charles told The Autopian. “I wanted something I could build back to help serve others and do a little good in the world. When I first pulled the damaged car in the driveway my wife said it sounded like it was growling, hence the name Midnight Wolf. Funny thing is I didn’t know the paint was called Midnight Black Pearl. “

Midnight Wolf Flag

That makes perfect sense to us and, of course, mad respect for buying something that needed a little care. Of course, as a technician trained to work on jet engines, a Challenger SRT8 is probably not that much of a challenge.

“During Covid, the Wolf never missed out on cruises for birthdays, graduations, retirements, and yes, sadly, even funerals. I change the graphics every year to keep it fresh for the next set of shows and even road trip it to Tucson for a couple shows once a year.”

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The Wolf is a daily driver with about 112,000 miles on the clock, so before a show Charles spends about six hours detailing her (it is a her) and attending to the paint, which… I’m going to let Charles explain the paint.

“My present graphics are of the Wolf escaping the chains of hell and the search for some kind of redemption, the rear windshield reflects the Wolf walking the thin line between heaven and hell,” Charles explained. “A funny note, the ones who appreciate her most are children and little old women, I don’t know why but they always seem to have the most interest in her.”

So, what are the mods mentioned in the car’s story?

The custom exhaust spoken of includes a mid-muffler delete, three-inch pipes, and Borla mufflers with the stock tips attached so “she doesn’t sound like every other Challenger with [a] modified exhaust.” Finally she has “custom lighting in the headlights, fog lights, grill, engine bay and active hood scoops.”

Challenger Lights

When we inquired about the signs we found out that there are not one, but two different signs that run at shows.

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“The first reads ‘Daily Driver Warning Health Hazard… Climbing on or touching this vehicle can cause fat lips, severe nose bleeds or fractured limbs,’ but I always let the kids in to take pictures and blast the Wolf horn that imitates a wolf howl,” said Charles, adding a delightful detail to the story. “The second one is from the Midnight Wolf’s perspective…”

Midnight Wolf Night

I’m glad we reached out to Charles because it’s always nice to get some context for what, at first, seems like an Internet joke. If I’m being entirely honest, this car isn’t exactly how I’d modify a car, but my idea for the ideal modified car is a C4 Corvette painted like a Japanese Highway Patrol car with all the words written in Italian in a sort William Gibson/Miyazaki tribute and I can barely explain that idea to myself, let alone other people.

When we say we’re “pro-car” here, what we mean is that we want to embrace a sort of automotive pluralism that highlights not what you drive but why you drive. Car culture isn’t as fragile or fleeting as many have suggested, but it’s true that there’s a real threat to it. By bashing other people for liking something different, or shearing ourselves off into smaller and smaller groups, we’re not advancing car culture. We’re diminishing it.

And, to the credit of the Weird Car Internet , some of the people who found it were able to appreciate the car un-ironically. Because when you talk to Charles you realize that the what may be a little extra, but the why is pretty much on point:

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My story isn’t special, but I will say this, The Midnight Wolf is purpose built for serving my community, veterans, first responders, and children in need of help and we will roll to any show we can for that purpose.

Not all heroes wear capes, some wear Hawaiian shirts with pictures of their car on it.

All photos courtesy of Charles. David Tracy and Peter Vieira contributed to this story.

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Guilherme Atencio
Guilherme Atencio
10 months ago

C4 Corvette painted like a Japanese Highway Patrol car with all the words written in Italian in a sort William Gibson/Miyazaki tribute and I can barely explain that idea to myself, let alone other people.

I really need to see this.

TheWombatQueen
TheWombatQueen
10 months ago

Wow. A lot of people in the comments seem REALLY bitter

Freelivin2713
Freelivin2713
10 months ago

This is awesome no matter what anyone says

Vetatur Fumare
Vetatur Fumare
10 months ago

If anyone needs me, I am going to be in the corner marked “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”.

Cyko9
Cyko9
10 months ago

Occasionally I’ll see a car on the road that is just not my thing. But I can tell it means a lot to the owner. Even if it’s been obnoxiously modded, I see they’re chasing a dream. I usually grin, think about how awful it looks but how happy it must make the owner. It’s not a terrible thing to disagree.

Scott
Scott
10 months ago
Reply to  Cyko9

So right! Enthusiasm/passion is appealing, even if what’s being enthused about isn’t your cup of tea. Kudos to Charles! 🙂

Theotherotter
Theotherotter
10 months ago

This is definitely the Three Wolf Moon of cars.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
10 months ago

“By bashing other people for liking something different, or shearing ourselves off into smaller and smaller groups, we’re not advancing car culture. We’re diminishing it.”

So blowing coal and blasting ears is OK in your book? How about the Carolina squat? Smog deletes? Dangerously extreme camber? Sideshows?

Theotherotter
Theotherotter
10 months ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard

I think that rolling coal and sideshows in particular highlight the distinction between liking something and doing something. I don’t like this car, but who cares? A cada uno tiene su gusto. People who roll coal are assholes and they like being assholes; and I’d be happy if everyone taking part in a sideshow got arrested and had their cars impounded.

Last edited 10 months ago by Theotherotter
Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
10 months ago
Reply to  Theotherotter

“The custom exhaust spoken of includes a mid-muffler delete, three-inch pipes, and Borla mufflers with the stock tips attached so “she doesn’t sound like every other Challenger with [a] modified exhaust.” ”

This is the part that I find concerning. Just how loud and dirty is this “daily driver”?

Fredzy
Fredzy
10 months ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard

It wouldn’t be any dirtier than stock. Depends on what mufflers are used but it’s probably loud and good sounding.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
10 months ago
Reply to  Fredzy

Depends if he left the cats in place and whether he modified the tune but left those parts unsaid for legal reasons.

Theotherotter
Theotherotter
10 months ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard

LX/LY/LC cars are quite popular with the younger set where I live, where they like to accelerate two blocks down city streets up to about 15 over with big throttle openings for moar ‘BRAAAAAPP’ – they’re bad enough stock, so I can’t see a car like this being meaningfully worse.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
10 months ago
Reply to  Theotherotter
Fredzy
Fredzy
10 months ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard

There’s nothing going on with this car that causes or can cause any actual harm to others. Everything else you mention there does. Camber is debatable, but generally agree that going out on public road with a car set up like that is unsafe.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
10 months ago
Reply to  Fredzy

Loud exhausts DO cause harm even as “disturbing the peace”. Loud exhausts on a show or track only car is one thing, on a DD its another, especially if he’s driving around annoying folks who would rather have peace and quiet.

The question is: how loud is this one and how much peace does it disturb?

Pappa P
Pappa P
10 months ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard

Calm down Karen, we’re just trying to have fun with our cars.
Put away the decibel meter!

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
9 months ago
Reply to  Pappa P

Your fun ends where my peace begins.

Black Peter
Black Peter
10 months ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard

I’ll go further and go ahead and say I don’t like this guy’s politics. He’s 100% a nationalist and likely racist. I’ve spent enough time on this rock to know this kind of ideology especially attached to an American car (never mind the “foreign cars not worth the gas” line) and it never disappoints.

Last edited 10 months ago by Black Peter
Wrigley953
Wrigley953
10 months ago
Reply to  Black Peter

Safe bet though I tend to wait for proof before saying something

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
10 months ago
Reply to  Wrigley953

“Safe bet though I tend to wait for proof before saying something”

This isn’t enough?

“The first reads ‘Daily Driver Warning Health Hazard… Climbing on or touching this vehicle can cause fat lips, severe nose bleeds or fractured limbs,’”

Flying the flag on the car is a clear sign he’s a nationalist. That crack about foreign cars not being worth the gas sure looks like an indication of racism to my eyes.

Last edited 10 months ago by Cheap Bastard
Black Peter
Black Peter
10 months ago
Reply to  Wrigley953

I’ve reached that “I don’t give a #$%” point in my life.

Captain Muppet
Captain Muppet
10 months ago

I’m in the UK. All American cars are “foreign cars”.

I’ll never understand people who really care about which nation that made a car (I mean, filter out supporting evil regimes by all means, but thankfully those change over time).

Maybe it’s because all our big car manufacturers are now owned by companies that are based in other countries. I guess it’s hard to feel a patriotic sense of British colonial pride while driving an Indian Jaguar. Not least because of what we did to India.

Anyway, Dodge is owned by Stellantis, which is Dutch.

Theotherotter
Theotherotter
10 months ago
Reply to  Captain Muppet

I see this as being an American thing in general – Americans as a culture are very big on “we’re #1” American-ness, lots and lots of flags, praising the military, etc.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
10 months ago
Reply to  Theotherotter

Pretty sure it’s “I”. There is no “we” in I.

Duke of Kent
Duke of Kent
10 months ago
Reply to  Captain Muppet

It’s a bit of an outdated notion these days — one that was relevant before my time. But there were several reasons why car buyers looked skeptically upon “foreign” vehicles.

Decades ago, American cars dominated American roadways, and as a result many local mechanics would only work on American cars — they just weren’t familiar enough with the non-American vehicles to acquire the tools and expertise required to do the work. And that become a self-fulfilling sort of thing. Difficulty getting a car serviced/repaired factors into the decision to buy it in the first place, and as non-American cars maintain a low market share, there’s less incentive for mechanics shops to take them on… perpetuating the cycle.

That gave non-American cars a reputation for unreliability. I don’t know if that’s accurate, but it was certainly the perception.

And, don’t ignore the emotional side of things. The US just got out of a war — a war that a large portion of the population personally participated in — and now cars made by “the enemy” are showing up in showrooms. I can understand someone in that situation being a bit hesitant to support a foreign entity with one of the largest purchases an individual can make.

Of course, a LOT has changed in the country and the world since then. Any car can be maintained pretty much anywhere. Many non-US brands exceed the “Big 3” in reliability scores. Former national enemies have been allies for many decades at this point.

Most significantly, we are in a global economy where nothing is done in a vacuum. Some “American” car companies are now headquartered overseas. Components for “American” cars are sourced from outside the country. “Foreign” cars are built in US factories.

But old habits die hard, and brand loyalty can be a powerful force — especially when someone makes it part of their personality.

Roofless
Roofless
10 months ago
Reply to  Duke of Kent

There was also a big aspect of “made in America, by American union workers” that was a thing back when the labor movement was meaningful.

The “only buy American” sentiment survived well past this, though:

> Most significantly, we are in a global economy where nothing is done in a vacuum. Some “American” car companies are now headquartered overseas. Components for “American” cars are sourced from outside the country. “Foreign” cars are built in US factories

These days if you want to buy a car made in America by American labor, you’re better off going for a Toyota Corolla or a BMW.

Zepharious
Zepharious
10 months ago
Reply to  Duke of Kent

I remember when I was a kid in the ’80s, at the local fair or 4th of July celebration they’d have a random Japanese car that they’d charge people to hit with a sledge hammer. It was a big hit with the shirtless drunk white guys with mullets.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
9 months ago
Reply to  Duke of Kent

“That gave non-American cars a reputation for unreliability. I don’t know if that’s accurate, but it was certainly the perception.”

Original British cars were not particularly reliable. See “Lucas”. Triumphs even had a hand engine crank as a backup till the mid-60’s. Retrofitted with modern electronic ignition modules, batteries, rectifier, gaskets, seals, filters, and clean/regrease the electrical connections British cars could be made very reliable. It doesn’t cost much nor is it particularly challenging to do and can still look bone stock. SU carburetors once dialed in are VERY reliable.

US sold British cars also had a reputation for being prone to overheating, supposedly because the cooling system was designed for the British climate but I think more likely was caused by deferred maintainence. Oil checks alone were at 300 mile intervals! Poor ignition timing, clogged radiators, fouled plugs, failing ignition coil, dirty points all not working together was enough.

IIRC post war Italian and I think Japanese cars had rust issues and could be fragile. German stuff was crazy over built, metric and required special tools (at least the ’71 220D I once tried to replace a head gasket on did).

Ranwhenparked
Ranwhenparked
10 months ago
Reply to  Captain Muppet

Stellantis is complicated, incorporated in the Netherlands, domiciled in the UK for tax purposes, primary listing in New York, and operational headquarters in Michigan, France, and Italy. WTF knows what they really are.

But, the Dodge Challenger itself is completely and unequivocally Canadian. We at least know that for sure.

Thomas Metcalf
Thomas Metcalf
10 months ago
Reply to  Captain Muppet

I have now lived in Canada (moved from US) for over half my life. I love to annoy my Canadian wife by insisting that she is ‘foreign’ and we live in a ‘foreign country’. So to extend my logic. You are foreigner in a foreign land that sometimes gets Fords which are ‘domestic’.

M0L0TOV
M0L0TOV
10 months ago
Reply to  Captain Muppet

So would Ford be considered foreign? I mean, they were pretty popular in the UK and quite a few models were made there.

Mitch
Mitch
10 months ago

I love cars like this. It’s like the American version of an Itasha car. I’d never do this to my own car of course, but I dig it

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