High-Gloss Patina: 1974 Dodge Charger SE

Have you ever seen insects from the Cretaceous era, preserved in amber as if time just stopped? This ’74 Dodge Charger, which has been treated to a time-stopping (not really) layer of clear coat, is like one of those prehistoric bugs, but instead of being frozen in like-new condition, it’s been captured in the state of a car that, as the seller proudly notes, has “been sitting outside for the last 31 years.” You can find it here on eBay in Vienna, Virginia, with the reserve not met, no bids, and a starting bid of $2,500.

The “wet look” highlights a body that has clearly seen a lot of life over the years. In addition to the myriad dents and obvious surface rust, there’s a bullet hole in the driver’s rear quarter panel, a missing louvered rear quarter window, and the trunk is screwed shut—I wonder what (presumably disgusting) treasures lurk within! The seller describes this as a “Rat Rod themed vehicle,” although it seems more original than your typical rat rod, if no less weathered.

Things inside are much the same as outside. A set of clear plastic covers for the front and rear bench seats would mirror the effect of the clear coat on the exterior, don’t you think? Accommodations for six and a column-shifted automatic show how far the Charger had drifted from its roots; the SE model was by far the most popular Charger in 1974, the final year of its third generation, as the 1973 gas crisis and rising insurance rates led to a shift from muscle to luxury. The following year, the Charger would become a more formal clone of the Chrysler Cordoba.

The base 318 V8 lives under this B-body’s hood, and we’re told it’s been treated to a new battery, cleaning the plugs, and a fresh tank of gas, and will start with starter fluid in the carburetor, but will need a tune up to be able to stay running. After sitting for 31 years, I suspect it will need more than that! The seller hasn’t tried to drive the car, so the condition of the brakes and other components are likely unknown.

What’s your take on this indisputably crusty Charger? Was this the right moment to stop time in its tracks, or should it have been taken back in time before it fossilized any further?


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  1. Tony S

    Worst charger ever.

    • RS

      No, not at all… I had a 73 and it was a very nice car. Well made and reliable. I would dearly love to buy it back for the $650 I sold it for in 1979. Many times when I was inside a gas station paying for my gas (pre ‘pay at the pump’ days) I was asked ‘is that your Charger outside?’ Got a lot of compliments.

  2. Jim B

    ¡Ay carumba!

  3. J Paul Member

    “Hey Jimbo, what should we do with that old Charger around back? The one that’s rusty, dented, torn, barely running and shot up?”

    “Slap some clear coat on it and call it a rat rod. Some idiot will pay good money for it!”

  4. Donnie

    That thing is killer. I would drive that in a heartbeat!

  5. Leon

    Only thing worth having is the license plate to hang in garage

  6. JCW Jr.

    Pull any good parts and send to the crusher

  7. Dan


  8. BiggYinn

    So apart from a frontal labotomy the seller wants how much? Turn burgelar’s car

  9. GP Member

    Hey man, If we wouldn’t have spent all that money on them rattle cans of clear, we could get a couple cases of beer and some camel straits.

  10. ROTAG999

    Ugly car whipped by the Ugly Stick

    • Big Mike

      More like beat with a UGLY TREE

  11. paul

    car crusher may not take this one!

  12. David S Betz

    An easy 7 for a marketing idea…

  13. Rustytech Member

    Where do these people come from? Take a rusty, beat up, $100 car, add $50’s worth of rattle can clear coat, then ask $2500. The scary part is, someone with about the same # of brain cells will pay it!

  14. Ken Carney

    My BIL had one of these in the late ’80’s
    or early ’90’s. And every so often,he laments about having to get rid of his
    Charger after the engine blew. I think if
    I showed him this wreck of a Charger, he’d turn it down too. Yuck!

    • King Al

      Had a 74 like this new used. Put 180K miles on it. Nice car, but 318 was gutless.

      • RS

        My ’73 (the green one in the photo in my other post) had a 400 2bbl. My brother, who sold me the car, said he got the speedo up over 120. I know one thing, it would tear up the tires very well.

        One day I was pulling up at a mechanic shop where a friend worked. He had just tuned up a big Ford wagon with a 429 in it. (I think). He said ‘This wagon will blow the f—-ing DOORS off your Charger.’ I raced him. He lost. :)

        As for the Charger in this ad, total POS.

  15. Rusty Patina

    Rat Rod Tribute.

  16. Dan

    I can’t believe we would spend more than one second contemplating this piece of crap. Call the scrapper now!!!!

  17. erikj

    I love old school mopars and want to save all of them, but this one bugs me since the seller is trying to make a buck from a rattle can clear coat and try to call it a rat rod or something. Wrong idea. May this charger RIP please.

  18. grant

    Couldn’t bother to get it running but he cleared it and made it look worse. Don’t spray clear over “patina” people. It looks like, ahem, excrement.


    HEY MARK where are you!

  20. Roger

    Put a set of rusty clear coated cragers on with some fat meats in the rear.

  21. Bruce Fischer

    REALLY restore it. It really looks bad this way!!!!Bruce.

  22. Chris Kennedy

    Patina is a word that is used way to much to justify junk. Hang it up and put the poor ole girl out of her misery!


    $2500 rat.

  24. Jay


  25. Doug Towsley

    Good donor for a Starsky & Hutch replica car (Call Huggy Bear!)
    but what the hell?? I am all for cleaning up a vehicle for sale and encourage it, show it in the best light possible. But this is just plain stupid. Turd Polishing. Shameful.
    That being said,, I would be tempted to take this to a really snobby car show, put someone I dislikes name on the entry along with their cell # and then sit back and watch the drama.

    • GP Member

      I think that was a Ford Torino.

      • CATHOUSE

        Correct, the car used on that show was a Torino of the 1974-76 body style.

  26. BronzeGiant

    What a piece of crap……

  27. John C Cargill

    I hate people who clearcoat “patina”.

  28. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    He took off the reserve and lowered the initial price.

    Gee, I wonder why?

  29. Mark R

    The 73/74 Charger’s are gaining in price…Pushing North of $30,000 for rallye models and some S.E models I have seen near $20,000 ..Great driving cars !!

    These drove and handled better than any GM/Ford of the era and even today they drive smooth,handle great and I know I own a 73 Charger Rallye 400 Magnum..Now a 451 c.i..540 hp 14-18 mpg average daily driver !

    I could see $2000 if it had no dents and the dash/door panels were in good shape…Dents are found on the roof too !

    Body seems solid,the rust is just the kind you want,not through just faded paint..And DENTS,,you dont want !!

    Being a Mopar Guy,but own then all,GM/Ford.Asian/German Imports….This is nothing more than $1000 car maybe $1500..

    He would have been better off,sanding the car,trying to take out the dents then primer the car..Then $2000 as that’s what they are..for non running somewhat straight 318 car..

    I wonder if its the regular 318 2bbl or the 318 High Performance 2bbl..Big difference,one has no power/performance other is decent for the year..

    I ran mid 15’s in the 1/4 with 2.76 rea axle ratio,not bad for a 318 with highway gears and 2.45 1st gear transmsission..Not like todays low axle ratio and 4.81 transmission 1st gear…..Had one in 1989 stock 1 owned 318hp 2bbl..felt quick’ish,not a 440 like my 68 Charger RT but I took it down to the track and quicker than my Dads 1987 Monte Carlo SS 305 h.o 4bbl !

  30. GOPAR

    “bullet hole in driver’s side quarter”. Looks like someone tried to put it out of its misery.

  31. Michael Shook

    First mistake, buying the clearcoat, second was not reading the can where it “clear”ly states to remove all signs of oil, grease, AND, rust! Whoever commented on the clear plastic seat covers above…kudos. What an exquisite finish for this “P mobile”. 😭

  32. Doug Towsley

    Bullet holes add character and cooling for summer rides in a true rat rod. I have some including Buckshot splatter on my 37 coupe and a couple bullet holes on the 39 Dodge. But this is just cheezy ghetto. Only way to make it cool is tell crazy stories about the “French connection and police chase” or,,, A trunk full of coke in a Miami slum,,, or Some sort of epic Detroit mob saga.

    But the clear coat and plastic seat covers??? Brings up all kinds of unpleasant imagery. A local weekly paper for Portland Hipsters has and advice column from “Soiled mattress down by the river” where people ask the soiled mattress relationship questions and it always takes a turn to the gross mental imagery… THIS car?? This car is the companion to the Soiled mattress down by the river. (Dont shine a Black light on those seats)… If curiosity gets the better of you,, maybe submit a question of your own tied to this car,, read more here:


    ” Arms and legs intertwine as you tumble on to my intricately soiled fabric. You brush aside the greasy Burger King wrappers and empty bottles of MD 20/20, and frantically tear at each other’s clothes. Then you make love with your lover. The scent of your love co-mingles with the odor of the hundreds that were here before you. Oh! Will a passerby ………………” If that gives you any idea. This car makes me think of that advice column. Enough said.

  33. Mark-A

    Personally if I was thinking about keeping the Patina look & was spraying anything to keep it from degrading I WOULD ONLY ever CONSIDER using a MATT Lacquer to seal it coz anything else just doesn’t look right!!

  34. RS

    My favorite version of this car would have been a ’71 SE with buckets, full power and a 440 – a real personal luxury car with balls.

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