Project Fail: 1969 Dodge Charger RT

Sometimes a father-son project goes awry, and the result can be an opportunity for the classic car buyer. That’s exactly why this 1969 Dodge Charger RT is listed for sale here on eBay. The car is being auctioned without a reserve and 31 bids have already driven the price to over $15,000. The winner will be transporting the car from Galion, Ohio.

While few 1969 Chargers were dogs in a straight line, a little check of the serial number of this particular 1969 shows the fifth digit is “L”. That means the car was originally equipped with the high-performance version of the huge 440 V-8 with a four-barrel carburetor. Unfortunately, the body shell has gone through a substantial lightening process since then in the form of conversion to iron oxide. The seller states that the worst part of the car is the trunk pan and that the car will also need a replacement hood and trunk lid. They will include brand new half quarter panels and trunk extensions in the auction if you want them (why wouldn’t you).

Removal of the front bumper and grille is about as far as this project got; they are included in the auction as well.

The seller hasn’t done the research to find out what the codes on the fender tag mean. I’m not going to tell you I interpreted every one of these correctly, but it did give me a chance to use my favorite online decoder, this one from Here’s what I came up with (your interpretation of rusty metal codes may vary):

Dodge Charger Special, R/T 2 Door Sports Hardtop

L98: 440 375HP 1-4BBL 8 CYL
1969 Export

212336: Sequence number

E86: 440 cid 4 barrel V8 (High Performance) 375hp
D32: Heavy Duty Automatic Transmission
T5: Copper Metallic Exterior Color
C6X: Trim – Charger, Vinyl Bucket Seats, Black
X9: Black Int. Door Frames
C13: Build Date: December 13
101836: Order number

A01: Unknown Top Color
A32: Super Performance Axle Package w/4.10 Ratio
B41: Front Disc Brakes w/Standard 10in RR Drum
B51: Power Brakes
C55: Bucket Seats
G15: Tinted Windshield

G33: LH Remote Racing Mirror
L31: Hood/Fender Mounted Turn Signals
H21: Unknown
N31: Optional Engine Compression Ratio
R13: Deluxe AM Radio (5 1/2 Watts)

V88: Tranverse Stripes, Deleted
26: 26in Radiator
END: End of Sales Codes

If I got some of the above right, this was a spectacularly optioned car.

The interior in its current state is, quite frankly, a mess. It’s hard to tell if any of it is salvageable or not. I guess that’s up to a prospective buyer to decide.

If this picture of a correct stock 1969 Charger 440 V-8 is correct, then there are some issues here. The intake manifold certainly looks different and I’m pretty sure the valve covers are aftermarket ones. It would enhance the value of the car for this to be the original engine even if it’s been modified, and I hope the seller is willing to check the details to see. Here’s hoping someone quickly removes the plumbers’ tape as well. Do you have any desire to finish this Charger? And I have a challenge for you: Post any pictures you have of “day of trailering home” projects that you kept and still have instead of selling!

Have something similar for sale? List it here on Barn Finds!

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  1. Rex Kahrs Member

    Here’s my ’63 Riv, last March.

    • jamie Jamie Palmer Staff

      Thanks, Rex — is it on the road now? Just curious — I have way too many OFF the road at the moment to be poking fingers!

      • Rex Kahrs Member

        Oh yes, Jamie, on the road, running great. As expected with a 57-year-old car, there are tweaks here and there, but overall it cruises the freeway like it’s 1963, and that’s a good thing!

      • jamie Jamie Palmer Staff


  2. Dusty Rider

    I don’t see power brakes on this car.

  3. Casey j wiseman

    A01 is a code for light group

  4. Retired Stig

    That was one beautiful car when new! Auto ‘box on the column? Strange given all the other options, maybe there was just no more blood to be squeezed out of that stone. But what a mess now! The front end appears to be held together with construction strapping. This is one of those cars that will need every last nut and bolt replaced or refurbished, just to make it safe to drive. It appears to have been stripped of numerous parts which were replaced with whatever junk was lying around as well.

  5. Troy s

    Engines been played with, and then choked with the trinket sized air cleaner,….by the way what is the optional compression ratio ? Weren’t these all 10 to 1 or was it 10 1/2…

    • Steve R

      There is significantly less dust in the air cleaner than the rest of the engine. It looks to have been a fairly recent addition and can be change out with a new 14” assembly for roughly $25.

      There are bigger fish to fry. I’d worry be more about the obvious hack work previously performed.

      Steve R

    • Troy s

      Didn’t read the sellers ad earlier, seems the original 440 has long vanished, seller was told the car has a 426 wedge in it, although they’re not 100 percent sure of this. Hot motor for sure but there’s no point in even bringing up the original 440. There’s no telling what this Charger has been through.

  6. Weasel

    I’d love to post pictures of my “trailer queens” Jamie, but I’M NOT A MEMBER. I’m just a lowly, multiple add pop up reading, peasant. Thanks for reminding Me of my place in society.

    I’m kidding you know.

    • FordGuy1972

      It’s really too bad us poor folk can’t post any images. Having that option would make some of the reader comments a lot more interesting. I’d love to see some Barnfinder’s rides and projects.

    • jamie Jamie Palmer Staff

      Understood :-) Remember, servers and bandwidth cost money…

  7. Gaspumpchas

    Again, no pics of the underbelly, View of the trunk floor would be nice if he took the junk out. Pics of the underneath would have been easy with it up on the trailer, look at his ebay name,another flipper, up to 15 large. Looker over good. Wiped it down enough to be palatable. Good luck to the new owner.

  8. Jon B

    Yep, the intake appears to be a Torker. Notice the carb appears to be at an angle.
    If it had power brakes it doesn’t any more.
    And the radiator appears to be aftermarket or from another vehicle. Notice the strapping holding it in place and no shroud.
    And what is the gauge under the dash on the right side?
    This has the full gauge package.
    Sad state of affairs here.

  9. David kirschnick Member

    Love to post a pic … how ??

  10. Maverick

    Pieced together.

  11. Gsuffa Gsuffa Member

    Air filters are restrictive, so get the smallest one that will fit.

  12. Del

    Going on to the 701 st rotted out Charger for sale here at silly prices.

    And thats just this year

  13. Jim

    I’m the fine owner of this Jewel now. It was delivered last night. I haven’t done anything other than pull the numbers off the block 2205697 413/426 wedge guessing 64. The intake is a holley Street dominator. Not just the truck and quarters will need to be replaced

    • jamie jamie Staff

      Jim, be sure and post some update pictures for us!


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