Hellcat Swap? 1969 Dodge Charger Project

Dodge’s new Charger got a cool reception in its first two years, 1966-67. As a fastback with lots of glass, it looked like the Rambler Marlin which was out at the same time. When all of Chrysler’s intermediates were redesigned for 1968, sales skyrocketed to more than 92,000 units and stayed in that territory the following year. The seller’s Charger is a project that’s missing its drivetrain and suspension, but the seller has invested in a small fortune to replace the latter which awaits the buyer to install. This Charger currently calls Hesperia, California home and is available here on eBay for $36,000, though interesting parties are welcome to submit offers.

The revamped Dodge Charger did well in 1969, coming off the prior year just 8% lower at 85,680 cars. Based on the VIN of the seller’s auto, it left the factory with a 383 cubic inch V8, but since it’s long gone we don’t know whether it had 2 or 4-barrel carburetion. It is an ordinary Charger, not an R.T or 500, and certainly not a Daytona (you know, the one with the wing). This car’s roots go back to California, and it was in dry storage since the early 1990s. The original color is said to be brown, but that’s hard to tell now given the fading and surface rust that is present.

We’re told the Charger is largely rust-free, and the floors, doors, roof, fenders, and what we can see underneath seem to be okay. But there is a touch of cancer in the lower quarter panels that will need help as does the trunk floor. The seller is providing both patches and a new trunk pan for the seller to further this aspect of the project. Fortunately, this car escaped being cast in an episode of The Dukes of Hazzard.

The photos are likely taken at different times as the car looks like a roller in some photos and up on jacks in another. Besides sourcing a new drivetrain, replacing the suspension will be perhaps the biggest challenge. But the seller comes to the rescue there, too, with a cadre of suspension components that are said to have set him back $9,000. This machine may have been headed to a Hellcat conversion given that the tubular K member already has Hellcat motor mounts ready to go. The car also comes with a 9-inch Ford differential.

Admittedly this Charger comes with a lot of stuff to help finish a restoration, but I can already hear some of our Barn Finds readers balking at the asking price of $36,000 for a rusty project. Maybe I’m missing something, but is this car worth the asking price given its condition plus the parts cadre that will follow it to a new home?


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  1. Ralph

    Oh hell yes! The guy spends 9K on a suspension set up, and then wants 36K to buy his dinosaur? Such a deal.
    We bid tree-fiddy for this fine example of a classic. After that we will bid on the Brooklyn bridge.

    Like 5
    • Gnrdude

      I agree for 36K$ You could get a Running Complete Car maybe not in A#1 Condition But a Modest survivor that has all it’s parts. This a Might bit weathered But it has potential BUT Not for 36K$

      Like 9
  2. Gary

    Slant six swap, but to add to the sense of awe from car show attendees, make it a 2BBL! Seriously, I am so over high horse power, lets all glide back to Earth and make a safe landing.

    Like 7
    • Steve R

      Sense of awe? More like sense of yawn.

      Steve R

      Like 6
  3. Dave

    G code in the VIN is a 270 horse 2 barrel 383.

    Like 5
  4. Randy

    Is there a contradiction here? From the eBay listing:

    “About this vehicle
    This 1969 Dodge Charger is an original. The owner has had it for 1 year. The vehicle is drivable and is not regularly driven.”

    “Vehicle Details

    No drivetrain or original suspension. Car is on caster wheels to be able to move around and get transported.”

    Like 2
  5. Andy Ray

    Actually the Rambler Marlin came out in ’65. It was AHEAD of the Dodge. Also, take a look at the ’67 Rebel. It might look familiar. ;)

    Like 1
  6. Bill McCoskey

    Another vehicle owner that does not understand the concept of what a car is worth as it is; needing lots of work but with the parts, versus what it’s worth repaired.

    If you buy $9000 in new parts, never install them, and the car [with the parts in the trunk] is stolen before you can install the parts, the insurance company will NOT under any circumstances pay you for the parts. One of the reasons is because the value of the parts INSTALLED on the car will typically increase the value by not more than one third of the parts cost.

    And the #1 reason is you can’t prove to the insurance company’s satisfaction, the parts really were in the trunk.

    I mention this as an example of why an uncompleted restoration of a vehicle is never worth the value of the vehicle once those parts are installed, not even close.

    There are several reasons for this:
    1. The buyer isn’t interested in repairing or restoring the vehicle to what the seller envisions, and may not even want to use the parts.
    2. If the buyer wants to return the parts, it’s highly unlikely the original parts sellers will take the parts back & refund the money to the new owner.
    3. If the buyer tries to sell the parts instead, the chances of getting a quick sale to a new buyer is not very likely, and if the individual parts DO sell using ebay auctions, the parts will probably sell for not more than 50% of the original retail value. First because there is no longer a warranty, and second, because It’s unlikely the original purchasor will have included all the original sales receipts, and those are ALWAYS required for any returns or warranty claims.

    Everyone knows in math, 2 plus 2 equals 4. Except when calculating repair and restoration costs on vehicles, where 2 plus 2 often equals 3, for a final value.

    But there are rare cases involving very rare and sought-after vehicles, where 2 plus 2 equals 5, or even 6, but that’s not the case here.

    When I owned my restoration shop, I told customers that the industry was based on “Fuzzy Math” and the final equation would not be determined until the vehicle was finished.

    My shop was for 15 years located in a wealthy county in Maryland, which has always had a very restrictive attitude when it comes to automobile repairs. All licensed automobile repair shops in the county [there is no license for restoration shops] were required to provide a written estimate for all repairs above $100, and the final bill was not allowed to be above 110% of the original estimate. There was a clause that allowed estimate increases, but only for “unexpected or hidden” additional work, that had to be listed in detail.

    So because of the Fuzzy Math situation, to abide by the county edicts, FOR MAJOR WORK OR RESTORATIONS, where an accurate estimate simply wasn’t possible, I had a pre-printed estimate that stated the costs were estimated between $100.00 and $1,000,000.00, plus the allowed 10% allowed by law. Not a single customer balked at signing the estimate, they knew it was to keep the county happy.

    Like 4
  7. George Mattar

    Seller has Barrett Jackson syndrome. $36,000 buys a super clean 2018 to 2019 Challenger RT with a 5.7 Hemi. My wife and I just returned from a 640 mile round trip in our 2021 black RT. 22 mpg with Sirrus. I totally love 69 Chargers but this is ridiculous.

    Like 4
  8. JB

    RUSS DIXON, if you think this is a “rusty project” as you state, I would say to look at the pictures closer! Especially that very clean interior floor! Im not saying tge car is worth anywhere NEAR $36,000, but it is pretty darn clean.

    Like 2
  9. Tom

    Just spend $15k more, buy a nice used Hellcat and get it over with. Or wait until the next guy pours an additional $100k into building this car and buy it done for $50-$60k. Stop the insanity…

  10. John Boehler

    The body looks like it is in very good shape. with some exceptions. It appears to have rust forming below the backlight, which is common to this rear deck extension (to backlight) design.
    The trunk floor damage was probably caused by water leakage through the “C” pillar moldings, which closed off the vinyl roof. The vinyl roof has been removed.
    On the subject of the new front suspension, installing the suspension will require patching into the rails and modifying the side shields for the new shock towers.
    New instructions for adjusting the suspension geometry will also be required.

  11. Dean Jarvis

    I have a 440 six pack ready to build for a Mopar 36 k is too much for a project car.

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