Vinyl Roofs Are Bad! 1969 Dodge Charger 383

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The seller tells us that this barn find 1969 Dodge Charger has been stored for over 20 years. It’s located in Twin Falls, Idaho and can be found at auction here on eBay. Bidding is still under $4,400 as I write but the reserve has not yet been met. But evil has been at work — I think it’s a prime example of the evil vinyl top empire taking its toll on an unsuspecting classic car!

While the seller tells us the car has “normal rust” that needs to be cut out and replaced, I’m struck yet again by the damage a vinyl top can do to a car if left to its own devices! Sure, the quarter panels are rusted completely away, and there’s enough damage to the hood and front fenders that I would be looking for replacement panels, but look at what the remnants of the vinyl top have done to the C-pillar!

Okay, so close examination tells me I might be wrong — perhaps this is a previous splice to put in a quarter panel repair. Maybe, just maybe, the evil vinyl top wasn’t the culprit this time. Then again, the other side looks similar, so I think I’m on the right track. Regardless of the cause, there’s a lot of rust here in what I would consider a pretty critical spot, and since it extends into the glass channels it might be tricky to repair.

This picture is actually somewhat encouraging because I’m not seeing through to the shop floor. However, the picture quality is such that I can’t tell if I’m seeing carpet or metal. Questions to ask — unless you are merely looking for a set of fender tags, in which case you don’t care. This car was and still is a factory 383 V-8 car with an automatic and features front disc brakes.

Here is that big block, which we are told is not seized but it doesn’t look like any effort was made to get it started. So what do you readers think: is this a set of fender tags looking for a car, or do you think this existing shell should be restored?

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  1. slickb

    I hate saying this about cars but this one needs to be duke boys jumped into a ravine and left so it wont hurt anyone again :)

    Like 22
  2. ChebbyMember

    Seems like spray-on truck bedliner would make an ideal replacement for a vinyl top. Is it possible to make it in a gloss finish?

    Like 5
    • TomMember

      I spray Rhino Liner Tuff Grip and yes, it is a high gloss finish. If exposed to the sun regularly it will lose its gloss however there is a product to counter that called Rhino Shine which is essentially a urethane dye to make it gloss black again.

      I come from the school of “Do it right or don’t do it” so put a vinyl top back on it or do the body work correctly and paint it. Rhino Liner is amazing for a truck bed but not, in my opinion, as an “optional” vinyl top.

      We have another saying….”Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should!”

      Like 4
      • dweezilaz

        Earl Scheib used to offer a textured paint that would mimic a vinyl top for car owners wanting to “Paint New Not Buy New”.

        IIRC in the 70s it was offered at $29.99 or something like that.

        Such a value. The look of vinyl without the rust or hassle. New seat covers, textured top and paint and one could brougham it up for less than $100 70s zloties !!!

        Like 2
    • Jamie Palmer Jamie PalmerAuthor

      The US arm of Standard-Triumph actually did that in 1967 to move some slow-selling Triumph 2000 sedans. They got them back from the distribution network, added some accessories and a spray on vinyl roof and created the 2000 SEm (Special Equipment model) and then re-distributed them!

      Like 1
  3. Keith

    Uhmmmmmmm reserve not met? Soooooo tell me what kind of reserve does this guy want? ….Oops my bad, it’s a clapped out rusty Mopar so once again you Mopar freaks get your wallets out and fork over the big $$$! …..Why? Because it’s a Mopar!

    Like 10
    • brianashe

      A large part of it is simply supply & demand.
      1969 Mustang: about 300,000.
      1969 Camaro: about 240,000.
      1969 Charger: about 90,000.

      Like 7
      • Brad

        I will take the Mustang.

        Like 0
    • moosie Craig M Bryda

      you’re a pisser, a boring one but still a pisser. Please dont take this the wrong way, I look forward to your anti-MOPAR rants. Peace,,,out.

      Like 4
  4. 8banger Dave MikaMember

    Yep, the mass of crud on the air cleaner and that delicious hole in the L inner fender/battery area…yum!

    Like 3
  5. brianashe

    Rusted, dented, ratty interior, column-shift automatic… but it’s a ’69 Charger, so I’m thinking $20-30k.

    Like 8
  6. 64 Bonneville

    Angled rust are on “C” pillar is factory. that is where the quarter panel is installed, however having been stored 20 years (in a dirty sewer, upside down) it is possible to be original sheet metal. Just a rough eyeball on it from the pictures, from having done bodywork for close to 60 years, you will need a roof, front clip, quarter panels, possibly a trunk floor, rockers, and door skins. Otherwise it is a doable restoration project if your wallet is close to a Bill Gates capacity ($54 Billion?). in the meantime, buy the fender tags and VIN and hope you don’t get caught swapping them, as it is a federal offense.

    Like 8
    • Poncho

      I think you may want to take a closer look at the firewall. That looks pretty rough too. I would say that is the final nail in the coffin for this car. Grab what parts and VIN you can and then send to the crusher.

      Like 1
  7. local_sheriff

    I’m actually shocked how bad a vehicle can deteroriate and still be sold as a CAR! Regardless of how much you’d want to own a Charger ,the kind of work you’d face with this example is way beyond the capabilities of the vast majority of car guys.I’m sure some of those TV show car wizards could fix it somehow but what kind of resources don’t they have?
    As it’s a Charger I’d hate to see it go to the crusher, but maybe this one just ought to.To heal it you’d need a BETTER donor car…why not just go restore the donor then…?
    As of now bidding is beyond 7K and reserve still not met. I’m glad it’s not me spading out the $ for this one to then justify the expense to wifey…

    Like 3
    • Brian Scott

      I have this vision of people drinking lots of cheap beer while watching Graveyard Carz. That’s why.

      Like 4
      • dweezilaz

        Laser like description, Brian

        Like 2
  8. Jim

    I think some people just sit staring at the screen and wait for a Charger to be posted so they can complain about how overpriced they are. It probably is an end result of their Chevelle getting stomped on by a Mopar at some point. Pretty much anything can be fixed- and if someone will pay that much- What would you do? Sell it for less than you can get for it? Isn’t this part of that “free market” concept ive heard about? I hope this thing gets bought and restored- especially if it would be one less 1st gen Camaro i have to look at during cruise night.

    Like 8
    • local_sheriff

      Jim – though being one of those Chevy guys I too would be happy if this Charger could return to the road.It’s one of the most, if not THE most iconic 60s cars .But I must admit I feel honestly sorry not only for the vehicle in such state, but also for the soul ending up with such a project.The price for the sole starting point would be only a fraction compared to what it’d cost in $ and hours to get in the right direction.

      I don’t think everyone understands how extensive AND accurate work is involved when a roof comes off a car, especially unibody. To preserve the structural strength it’s not enough just welding in new panels.Not only should the rusted parts be replaced, but it should become a safe vehicle for future decades.Maybe this could be turned into a custom Charger convertible, but it would still require extensive work well beyond the scope of most DIYers.

      At the same time there’s a VERY similar Charger featured directly below this one on Barnfinds, even a 440R/T.I’d believe this project Charger will end up costing MORE than the lofty BIN price for the R/T.Any wannabe Charger owner should consider the R/T way more,but instead people complain about it having the wrong … color!?

      I give up; how much do people really want a Charger…?

      Like 2
  9. llg114

    Nothing a quick detail couldn’t fix

    Like 2
  10. Woody

    Ok Keith, I would pass on this one! But yes im still a Mopar freak!Amen to the Rapid Transit System.

    Like 2
  11. Blake Young

    I had a prospective customer buy one of these is possibly worse shape for $10,000. I was shocked and dismayed at that point. That roof was better, but the entire floor was gone, no lower quarters, no glass. I was so glad I didn’t have to try to figure out that mess.

    Like 0
  12. skibum2

    I am so glad that I had the time of my life growing up when things like this would not even be considered.. good luck to whoever wants to spend countless hours repairing a rust bucket.. bought a ’56 AC Ace for $1500.00 and it wasn’t anything unusual.. have a ball as I will admire them from a distance anymore…

    Like 2

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