Former Dirt Track Racer: 1969 Dodge Charger

We’ve recently seen a few former dirt track race cars appearing at Barn Finds, but few have been based on a car as desirable as this 1969 Dodge Charger. It seems to be a pretty solid beast, and its healthy V8 adds to its appeal. It has generated plenty of interest, which is unsurprising considering how popular this segment of the classic scene has become. The Charger is listed here on eBay in Scottsville, Kentucky. The bidding has raced to $7,099 but remains short of the reserve.

Certain events can become indelibly etched into our memories, and for me, attending my first dirt track meeting at the age of four was one. I was hooked the moment I stood on the spectator banking, with my parents having to virtually drag me away when the racing ended. I knew it was something I had to try, and I was one of the fortunate individuals who managed to live their dream. That’s why I look at classics like this Charger and find myself drawn almost irresistibly to them. This car’s history is unknown, but the bumps and bruises indicate its driver wasn’t afraid to mix it with the opposition. It would need work to present in a pristine state, but that often isn’t the objective with cars of this type. The dings and dents are an integral part of its character, and I won’t be surprised if the successful bidder treads the preservation path. However, returning it to its former glory would not be difficult or expensive if they could trace its racing history. Rust is not a significant issue, and even the heavy corrosion in the floor pans might respond to treatment without needing replacement.

Although dirt tracks don’t offer the grip found on a traditional racing surface, competitors find there is no substitute for cubic inches and power. This Charger delivers, with the engine bay housing a 440ci V8 that inhales deeply through a Dual-Quad setup on a tunnel ram intake. Spent gases exit via a set of headers, and while it is unclear what the power output would be, a figure in the region of 400hp would be unsurprising. Those ponies feed to a Ford 9″ rear end via an A-727 three-speed TorqueFlite transmission, meaning the Charger would get up and move when the driver floored the gas. Considering the wheelwork required in this form of motorsport, the builder’s decision to include power steering would be welcome by the new owner. The seller indicates the 440 runs and that it feels strong. The transmission shifts as it should, and although they currently run it off an external fuel source, they include a fuel cell in the deal. However, they suggest cleaning or replacing the fuel lines to ensure the carburetors don’t ingest any rubbish.

The inside of any vehicle of this type will be sparse and purposeful, with no upholstery beyond some padding on the driver’s seat. There is no carpet, radio, or other luxuries. Much of the available space is occupied by a sturdy rollcage, which could prove the most significant hurdle for a new owner considering returning this Charger to racing duties. It is unclear whether the cage complies with existing regulations and what may be required to ensure it does. It is worth investigating because historic categories allow older vehicles to compete largely untouched if they feature a modern race seat and harness. If that is all that proves necessary, returning this classic to a compliant state could cost less than $1,000.

In years past, old dirt track racers would end their day on the scrap heap. Owners would remove any salvageable parts to use on their next project, with the rest discarded as unnecessary clutter. However, some enthusiasts recognize preservation as important, as these classics provide a window into a less complicated motorsport era. That may explain why this Charger has attracted thirty bids, and with time remaining on the auction, there is scope for that figure to rise. Are you tempted to join the bidding war?

Comments

  1. angliagt angliagt

    What? – No flag on the roof?

    Like 3
    • Davey Boy

      Did you not take a good look? Of course there’s a flag on the roof.

      Like 6
      • angliagt angliagt

        I didn’t go to the eBay listing before.Thanks – now
        I can’t unsee it.

        Like 4
  2. Cooter Cooter

    This just brought a lump to my throat. I grew up about 20 miles from here and probably saw this car run on The Barren County Speedway dirt track back in the mid seventies. Dad took us here every weekend and the grandstands were always packed on Saturday nights. I can still smell the aroma of popcorn & racing fuel! This is a true piece of history from a small town in rural Kentucky. I hope the new owner can appreciate what this car has survived and take good care of it’s future, preserved or restored.

    Like 17
    • Melton Mooney

      I guess ‘survived’ is a relative term.
      I get the sentimental component, but if this baby still had an original VIN tag that started with XX, I don’t think I’d be in at $7800.

      Like 2
      • Mark

        Anything original to that car is long gone

        Like 0
  3. Dave

    Reminds me of Dave Frieburgers’ General Mayhem

    Like 7
  4. Robt

    Let’s go racing. I love the idea of this car finding it’s way back on to a race track. Dirt track, road race, whatever.

    Like 5
  5. Barstow

    A bit of Americana, fast disappearing. ..

    Like 9
  6. Melton Mooney

    The door gaps are drawn on with a Sharpie. No thanks.

    Like 0
    • Erik Morris

      It’s a racer, not a grocery getter. Yes thanks.

      Like 5
  7. Rallye Member

    It comes with a clean title!

    Like 3
  8. Dan Baker

    What memories! I grew up watching a brother-in-law race old “stock cars” on a 3/8 mile dirt track near my home in Northwest Ohio. These cars were old Ford’s, Plymouths, some were driven to the track. I started in my Senior year of high school in 1965. I built up a ’57 Chevy with a 301, 3 speed (raced in 2nd gear) with a 4.11 rear end, welded the spiders. More like a demo derby sometimes. Totally destroyed the Chevy. They were a dime a dozen then. Sold the engine to buy engagement rings for my now wife, then joined the Army in 1966. Still remember the thrill of racing on dirt!! That track is still there, now features winged Sprints.

    Like 5
  9. David

    Correct me if I’m wrong but isn’t it really odd to have dual four barrels and a tunnel ram on a dirt track car!?!?

    Like 0
    • Robt

      A similar thought rambled through my mind.

      Like 0
    • Mark

      Yeah I raced dirt track for years in the late 80’s and 90’s and there is no way you would have passed tech inspection with that set up

      Like 0
    • Mike

      My thoughts exactly! First thing I noticed!!

      Like 0
  10. Robert Levins

    Leave it the way it is. Race it. Keep it in good shape but don’t restore it. This car will be a lot of fun and you won’t regret not spending a fortune. This car would be a lot of fun out on the Salt Flats, and see how fast you can drive it! Lots of room to really open her up! Yeah, if I bought every car that I liked here on Barn Finds, I would need the salt flats just to store them! Anyway, have fun with it – new owner – try not to loose your wallet though. Good luck and great article too!

    Like 3
  11. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    SOLD for $10,500.

    Like 1
  12. bone

    I never understood guy building short track cars, and running the little front bumpers that Mustangs, Camaros and Chargers had. Racing is a contact sport, especially on sort tracks and lower tier divisions . Years ago my buddy built a 68 Coronet to race at our local short track- the stock bumper didnt last more than a couple of weeks, so we put one of those 5mph bumpers off a 73 Dart – got through the whole season with that. Did the same with a 70 Nova a few years later with a 73 Nova front bumper. It made a big difference !

    Like 1
    • Mark

      The dirt track rules state it must be a factory bumper. It doesn’t say original to what the car was built with

      Like 0

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