The old muscle cars of the 1960's were of an automotive era made famous by large motors cranking out understated power and body styles, and through their use in stock car racing which attracted a generation to purchase them from their local dealers. That unique era transcended time and lives on today through cars which have survived, whether they are in original condition or requiring restoration due to years of use as daily drivers or through street racing.
When the thought of buying an old dodge charger first came to me it was more of a dream than something to be taken seriously. That dream became a reality for me when a friend called up one day to say that he had found a 1969 dodge charger for sale, and that I had to at least take a look. When we went out to see the car I knew that with the low asking price of $5,500 the charger needed restoration. The car had rust in all the well known places, such as in all of the floors and trunk, rocker panels, rear wheel wells and quarter panels. My expectations regarding a charger restoration at that time were to buy a car that needed work, and to perform a restoration which brought the car back to a condition which is known as a 'driver's car'. This means not to overdo the restoration to the point of perfection, but to a point where the owner would be comfortable driving the car once in a while without worrying about minor wear and tear. Also, the restoration would require a car which was not an R/T, as those cars were rare given their limited production numbers. My idea was to undertake the restoration to the point where I was free to paint the car a colour of my choice, and make minor changes which would have no consequence on the resale value of the car.
To buy a dodge charger either in an original state, fully restored, or one that had an older restoration, was something which I had considered but went against. The main reason being the high upfront purchase cost. Dodge Chargers from '68 through '70 are rare and quite popular due to their appearances in pop culture movies and television. I wanted the car but did not want to commit the money all at once, and coupled with the fact that I did not want a restored car as I was concerned about overpaying for a poor restoration which would be hard to identify. It is very easy to restore areas of a car which are visible and to neglect those areas which are hidden. I wanted the restoration to be executed with my involvement and supervision. The idea of restoring the car with my mechanic friend was appealing as I envisioned a high degree of satisfaction once the car restoration was complete, along with the pride of understanding every nut and bolt that went back into the car.
My Charger took about 5 years to complete on a part time basis. Many changes were made to the car such as painting it a charcoal silver (from the original cream yellow), replacing the small 318 cubic inch motor to a large 440 cubic inch, and adding 18 inch chrome wheels which had a modern interpretation of the old torque thrust wheel of that time.