Original 440: 1969 Dodge Charger R/T

Today, you can walk into any number of new car dealerships and drive away in models that offer both better performance than this 1969 Dodge Charger R/T, along with greater levels of refinement. The question is, would you? I mean, this Charger is now 51-years-old, and it remains every bit as desirable today as it did when it was new. When the car that you drive off the showroom floor today reaches that age, will it be considered to be as iconic as this one? You would need a crystal ball to be able to answer that question, but the reality is that no vehicles evoke the sort of reaction that you get from a classic American muscle car. This particular Charger is located in Hialeah, Florida, and has been listed for sale here on eBay. Bidding has reached $32,700, and the reserve has not been met.

The current owner is the 4th that the car has had since new, and judging by the text in the listing, he really does love his Charger. This is one of the few times that I have seen an owner admits that his car has its flaws, but in his eyes, it is also perfect. The Charger has received a repaint in its original Y2 Yellow at some point in the past, but as you can see, it really needs someone to give it a cosmetic refresh. The vinyl top is original, but as the owner freely admits, it does need replacing because it is now looking quite tired. All of the sheet-metal is as it rolled out of the factory, with the Dodge never having received any rust or accident repairs. That is not to say that it is entirely rust-free. There is rust appearing in the trunk pan, and while it could potentially be patched, I wouldn’t be surprised if the next owner chose to replace the pan entirely. When I look at exactly how this rust appears to have developed, I tend to believe that it has originated from within the trunk, and not from underneath the vehicle. My own suspicion is that moisture has become trapped under the trunk mat, and that’s been the catalyst. As far as the underside of the Charger is concerned, what we get to see looks really solid, while the same would appear to be true of all of the lower body extremities. Of course, the R/T features hideaway headlamps, and the owner says that these work exactly as they should. The trim and chrome that is present looks to be in good condition, although the rear bumper is missing. The Charger also features tinted glass, and this appears to be free of significant flaws.

The muscle car was defined simply by what buyers found under the hood. As I mentioned at the outset, there are plenty of production cars today that offer higher power outputs than you get with this Charger, but it was the sheer brutality of the power delivery and acceleration that has managed to win the hearts and minds of enthusiasts. In this case, what the next owner will be getting is a numbers-matching car with a 440ci Magnum V8 under the hood. This produces 375hp, which finds its way to the rear wheels via a heavy-duty 3-speed TorqueFlite transmission. The original owner also chose to tick the boxes on the order sheet beside the options of power steering and power brakes. The end result of all of this box-ticking is a car that should be capable of demolishing the ¼ mile in 14.3 seconds and then winding its way to a top speed of 132mph. Interestingly, the owner makes no reference to exactly how well the Charger runs or drives, but the clean state of everything in the engine bay does give us cause to be quietly optimistic. This is helped no end by the fact that the owner does welcome personal inspections by any serious potential buyers. Also included with the Dodge is the original Window Sticker, along with the Build Sheet. Even the Warranty Card is included. This was completed by the original owner but was never sent off to Dodge.

The originality of the R/T continues when you open the doors and take a look around inside the vehicle. The interior is trimmed in Black and features bucket seats, a console, and Rallye gauges. What this car does feature is an interior that remains original and unmodified. If I am going to pick any obvious faults, I will have to go with the fact that the carpet has started to fade. Still, the carpet is one of the most “abused” pieces of interior trim, and the fact that it has remained free of significant wear and staining for five decades is pretty reasonable. The next owner could choose to replace the carpet set, and this isn’t an expensive process. However, if they wish to retain complete originality, then they could either choose to leave it untouched, or they could treat it to a dye job to revive it. Beyond that, the seats appear to be free of rips or significant wear, while the dash and remaining interior trim are close to perfect.

There are people who simply don’t “get” the attraction of muscle cars, and to a certain extent, I do understand this. By and large, these could be broadly described as uncouth vehicles that are all about brute strength, attitude, and straight-line performance. For those particular individuals, it is this lack of refinement that they find to be unattractive. For those individuals who have a passion for American muscle cars, it is these exact same characteristics that make the cars so desirable. Whether the current generation of high-performance offerings will become as iconic as this Charger R/T is something that only time will tell. In the meantime, “making do” with a classic like this one sounds like a pretty good option.


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  1. Howard A Member

    In hope yous alls don’t get tired of my “stories”, BUT,,,,I had a yellow & black vinyl top ’69 ( or ’70) Charger, only a 383 and 4 speed. Had LOTS of steam. On power shifts ( foot to the floor, pump the clutch, and yank the shifter, can’t remember, I think it had a pistol grip, man those cars were tough) it had a habit of blowing the mufflers off. It was not long after HS, maybe ’74,’75. I bought it from a friend who needed the money, Cost? $500 bucks!

    Like 25
    • flmikey

      If it had a pistol grip, it was a ’70…that was a bargain, even in ’74 or ’75…betcha you wish you had it now, huh?

      Like 6
      • Howard A Member

        Yeah, that one and a couple others. You know, you think CHARGER,,,whoo-wee, must be fancy,( thinking in todays terms) but in reality, it was not much more than a basic RoadRunner at the time. Most, like mine, were basic, no PS, or PB, cheap, and tinny, which is why they went so well.

        Like 10
    • Bill Member

      I never get tired of your stories. Here’s mine. Friend of my Dads showed up at our house to show off his new 1969 ( I think) Charger. 440 R/T. As I was admiring it he tossed me the keys and said take it for a spin, Hank. I got in and drove off finally realizing he had thought I was my big brother who was 18 at the time. I was not quite 16 and just had a learners permit. Fortunately I didn’t crash it. Much faster than our families 6 cylinder Rambler Ambassador, as I recall.

      Like 12
    • Boatman Member

      I’ll never get tired, Howard!

      Like 10
    • Johnny

      Great story Howard. In 74 I was gonna buy a 68 Charger. I had just went to work at this place and their was a dark green -black vinliny top.Automatic with a 318. They sold it before payday. The only thing I never cared aboput was the big ugly gas lid and its location. If I ever got one. I would definitely change it to under the rear and have the liscense plate cover it. I think Chrysler Div should have gave the guy a chewin out for that.

  2. bobhess bobhess Member

    Nice car. The two tone yellow paint is interesting…

    Like 12
    • angliagt angliagt Member

      Looks like the rare “three tone yelloe” to me.
      Each panel on the rhs is a different shade.

      Like 13
  3. kevin

    Nice car however if it was never in an accident then why is the front and back a different color? Who ever attempts to buy this better check it thouroughly.

    Like 7
  4. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    Nice car I’ll say but. It has the rare am/fm while most got the am/8 track as the optional radio. Just not buying the paint as original – some areas like under the hood look questionable as well as those quarters. Born with drive train is big in any makes world.

    Like 4
  5. Dave

    Nice car, needs finished, would love to take a few laps around Darlington with it.

    Like 1
  6. easymoey

    Way too much for way too little!! I’ll bet a dime to a dollar that the winning bidder never pays for it!!

    Like 2
  7. George Mattar

    Who painted the car? Helen Keller. Way too much money.

    Like 12
    • Howard A Member

      HA! Poor Helen, the butt of all vision jokes. You know, with this patina fad, she’d probably make a fortune painting cars. It would have to look better than the rust.

      Like 3
  8. SteVen

    Makes me think of the yellow ’69 Charger from the movie “Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry” starring the late Peter Fonda. Sadly that car had a tragic meeting with a train at the end of the movie.

    Like 2
    • don

      I thought the car was a weird lime green ? Then again, its been 30+ years since I saw that movie…

      • SteVen

        The color was called Citron Yella on Dodges and Curious Yellow on Plymouths. It was one of Chrysler’s High Impact colors of the era, though it was not available for ’69 on the Charger or any car; it was a 1971 model year color.

        Like 1
      • SteVen

        Not sure if this will post, but here is a link to a pic of a ’71 Charger in that color: http://dealeraccelerate-all.s3.amazonaws.com/streetside/images/1/5/6/9/6/15696/401813_img_1254.jpg
        Or just do a search for “Citron Yella Charger” and you’ll see pics of ’71s in that hue.

        Like 1
  9. rod

    Why a plymouth emblem on the wheel center???

    • RNR

      Actually, I once sat in a brand new Duster on the showroom floor, and on one door sill there was a Duster emblem, and the other a Demon emblem. Both Dodges and Plymouths went down the same line…

      Like 3
      • CCFisher

        It got worse – in the late ’70s, I remember seeing a Chrysler Newport with one Newport taillight and one Dodge St. Regis taillight, a Plymouth TC3 with one TC3 taillight and one Dodge 024 taillight, and a Dodge 024 with a TC3 front fascia, all at the same dealer on the same day.

        Like 1
  10. Frogwarts Member

    Here’s my story.
    Just before getting out of the Navy in 1969 I bought a used ’68 Charger. Butternut yellow with black interior and black vinyl top. Unlike this one however, it only had the 318/auto snce it was going to be our family car as my wife was pregnant with our first…….Besides, I already had the baddest muscle car on the planet. A 1964 Dodge Max Wedge 426!!!

    The Charger is long gone. I got T-boned by a drunk driver in 1973. But, still have the wife and the Dodge.

    Like 8
  11. dave graham

    So how did the factory print the option code tab on the fender in reverse?

    • stanley kwiecinski

      T-boned drunks?

  12. RNR

    Adam, to your initial point, if in 1969 you told me some day my daily driver would be a Hemi powered Dodge with the battery in the trunk, I’d think you were crazy – that’s the basic description of the mid 60’s Dodge Super Stock package.

    But I drive my ’09 Challenger RT into Boston to work every day….

    Like 2
  13. Brad

    ok here is my story. Step dad sold his Bonneville and bought a 69 440 RT to tow his small trailer. He was a Paymaster check protector sales man. I went on a run with him to eastern Oregon. I remember him saying the trailer dude told him he was lucky the thing had a 4 speed as he would not need to put in a tranny cooler. I was about 12. When I turned 16, he had had enough of towing with that and bought a 76 F150. Guess who got the charger? 2 engine rebuilds and a few clutches later, I went into the Navy for 12 years. Put the charger into storage when I went in. I saw the car 4 or maybe 5 times in that 12 years. Got out and started the restore. Man my 16 year old self did some really shady repairs on the car. 5k in repairs and 8k in paint. Drove it for 5 or so years then baby came and Charger went. Loved that car. Stupid stories of 16-18 year me in that car…….

    Like 3
    • Dickie F.

      The stories are never stupid, they are simply about living…..
      I had owned 60 odd cars in my 60 odd years, there are about 1 million stories attached to that….

  14. Jim

    The old NADA used car guide says to add for 2-Tone Paint. That raises the bar

  15. Chris Londish Member

    The Coke bottle shape just cant beat it gives of an aura of sheer power no one but Chrysler could do it, phooey to the nostalgia remakes presence is every thing here

    Like 1
  16. Troy s

    It doesn’t really matter if you can walk in a dealer and drive out in something that’ll wipe out this classic R/T 440. This time machine will scare the average Honda Newbee to death if they drove it hard. Plus, it was up to the owner to extract more horsepower or swap gears…….and the fear factor becomes magnified. Yep,
    Just a bad old Charger, nice.

    Like 1
  17. CCFisher

    In reference to the author’s opening comments, I have a 1968 Mustang 302/4bbl convertible, and a 2011 Mustang GT. As much as it pains me to admit it, if I could only keep one, it would be the ’11. The ’68 is a wonderful car to cruise around in, to take to shows, and to attract attention wherever I go. However, the faster it goes, the more nervous it feels. If it could speak, it would say, “Ok, fast enough. Slow down. We aren’t going to make that turn!” When I push the ’11, it says, “Yeeeeaaah! Let’s go! GO! GO! GO! Woo-hooo!!!” It’s a very bad influence on me, and I’m ok with that!

    Like 2
    • Dickie F.

      I often wonder if cars like your 2011 are easier to drive fast, or the 1968 just requires more driving?
      That stems from my first car a Ford Anglia 1200cc, later Porsche Speedster or a string of VW GTis.
      All lots of fun, at various speeds.
      The current 70 Mach 1 has a sweet spot at 70mph and I enjoy that car.

      Like 2
  18. Moparman Member

    No mention of the missing rear bumper; right side of the grille is either warped or mis-aligned, the weird paint has already been mentioned; otherwise looks to have good potential. GLWTA! :-) .

  19. TimM

    It’s good to see one that runs and drives without the quarters falling off!! I think someone in the market would be better off buying one in this kind of shape over the rust buckets and hack jobs we’ve seen in the past!!!

    Like 1
  20. JoeNYWF64

    Is that air cleaner hi performance? I see no snorkles or openings at all, tho it is a tall one. I guess it gets air from the bottom side of the air cleaner, but isn’t that the hottest air available?

    • RNR

      That’s a high performance air cleaner – more air can pass through the perimeter opening between the cover and carb base plate than through one or two snorkels.

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