1968 Dodge Charger Project - Looking for Opinions

kliv555

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So I had a chance at an un restored gen 2 charger this fall, so I jumped on it. The car had sat in farmer’s barn for the past 20 years, where it was then purchased by a man who knew the retired farmer and who had intentions of restoring the car. He put it for sale after having it for a couple years and realizing he was never going to get to it.

It is a 383, 727 car but the farmer who owned it put his own 4 speed in it so it is currently a 4 speed. It’s pretty much a complete car with a rougher body. The frame rails from what I can tell are good, I have even been scraping off every inch of them with a wire brush to make sure there are no “surprises” before I get too deep into everything else. From what I can tell, the two rear quarters around the tires, front driver fender, and rear valances need to be replaced, as well as the typical charger area behind the rear window. The corner of the trunk floor where the gas tank comes through has rust in a 8x8 section, which I am hoping I can just patch and not have to replace the floor. The interior floor seems like it might be okay but I need to sand down all the surface rust before deciding on that. The car came with a disassembled 383 which would need to be bored as cylinder walls all scratched, but I plan to just put in a 440 in it.

Anyways, I am looking for some opinions on where you guys would start with this project. I would prefer not to go full out rotisserie on this car but would still like to do a good job with it. I have read Project Charger which gave some good direction. I have worked on a few older mopar cars but it has always been minor fixes or just get an old/seized car to running state, never any body work. However, I will be practicing welds and cuts on some of the old cars we have laying around the farm before I attempt any quarter panels on the charger. Currently I am just wire brushing and sanding anywhere I see rust on the frame, as well as scraping off the old undercoating.

I appreciate any input, and can add more photos if requested to do so.

Thank you.

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Gus chiggins

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I'm a bit of a wack job. I would have to take it apart, and go through it. It's an OCD thing.
 

4speed68rt

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Clean it up and see what you have. Make it how you like it for a driver and enjoy it. 440 4 speed is always fun.
 

cardogscott

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I would focus on getting it running and driving with as many of the parts you have on hand. Looks like a pretty clean survivor. Put some miles on it and get a feel for the theme you want to go with.
 

haywire 440

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Great color combo!

Don’t discount the 383 for the basics of a fun motor. The 383 in my first automatic ‘68 Roadrunner was a screaming bat outta hell in stock form. I foolishly put a high lift cam in it and lost the low end torque but gained on highway speed. The 373 rearend gear was perfect for that stock 383. But of course you have the added benefits of a 4-speed so “Rev Away”;)
 

dana44

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Pull the glass, sand blast, cut and weld. Your on the right track doing it yourself, I see horror stories of these cars going to body shops for 10 years and never getting done.
 

59pwrwgn

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Looks to be a clean car. Even the drivers fender. Ripping down a car is a lot of work/hours/patience. Makes it easier to tackle rust and paint, but you are without a car due that time. Other get them running/driving and fix areas as they drive it.
 

70 sublime

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Do not tear the whole car apart into a million pieces
Do one area at a time
Your car will still look like a car and that will help you to keep moving forward with the project
Keep an eye out for a running mopar with a big block in it that you can pick up just for the engine to get your car moving under its own power
Looks like your bottom of the car is in good shape so call that a win
Make your floor patches and call it good
Sounds like you are young so this will not be your only car in your life
Build it and have fun then move on to another one and use what you learned with this one
What ever you do do not sell this one till you have the next one in your hands :)
Good luck
 

Ghostrider 67

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I'm just the opposite; Tear it down to the bare shell. Identify every nut and bolt and catalog them carefully while also taking photos of everything before and during teardown and keep on a thumb drive for later. Scrape and freshen up the rails and underbody, seal with epoxy. Do the bodywork on the quarters etc. THEN, rehab every piece as it goes back together. Once you have everything cleaned up/repaired/replaced, tear it apart again and do paint. Then put her back together. enjoy. For me the fun is the fabrication and clean up. The customization. For you it may be something else.
Decide now whether you want to spend a year or two or more on this or whether you want to drive it and wrench on it at the same time. A lot has to do with money and work space, tools and equipment, skills and lack of skills.
 

Davefinan

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Sounds to me like you have a pretty good start on it already….some good advice/ ideas on here though.
 

68BabyBlue

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I think the previous posts are both right. It depends on your personal preference. My current GTX is a nut and bolt example. Two brothers who owned the car previously spent years putting the car back together, and created a work of art. They labeled and saved every part they replaced. However, the car was driven only 1000 miles during 28 years of ownership. They were craftsmen who got more satisfaction out of the creation than driving the finished product.

Baby Blue, my previous GTX, was driven by every one of her owners on a regular basis, and never disassembled. Mechanical work was performed as needed, multiple paint jobs, minor body work, interior freshened one piece at a time. I drove the car most weekends during 16 years of ownership, current owner is doing the same. He's replacing the 35 year old paint, nothing more.
 
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Runcharger

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Depends if you like working on them or driving them I guess. You haven't done one before so I think what you're thinking is right on. The underneath looks pretty good to me so I would keep scraping underneath and make sure of what you have. Then I would get it driving then work on fixing the rust issues one at a time (starting on the simplest one first to gain knowledge and judgement) and keep it driveable.
Being that guy that gives up on a blown apart project after 15 years has no appeal to me whatsoever. When you look at the rusty project taking up space in the garage after 10 years and you haven't even driven it yet and you don't know where all the parts are just seems about as much fun as poking your eye out with a stick.
I have personally done quite a few ground ups but I am well experienced and set a deadline of getting it done in a year or don't bother starting on it.
 

chargervert

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I have a 70 Charger R/T V code 440 Sixpack car,and rather than do a full blown restoration on it,the car is a fairly solid California car, I decided to go through it mechanically and do the interior and drive it. The project is in the works and I hope to fire it up and drive it next year. If we make them all to pretty to drive they will just sit in the garage instead of tearing up the streets!

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Bandolero

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So I had a chance at an un restored gen 2 charger this fall, so I jumped on it. The car had sat in farmer’s barn for the past 20 years, where it was then purchased by a man who knew the retired farmer and who had intentions of restoring the car. He put it for sale after having it for a couple years and realizing he was never going to get to it.

It is a 383, 727 car but the farmer who owned it put his own 4 speed in it so it is currently a 4 speed. It’s pretty much a complete car with a rougher body. The frame rails from what I can tell are good, I have even been scraping off every inch of them with a wire brush to make sure there are no “surprises” before I get too deep into everything else. From what I can tell, the two rear quarters around the tires, front driver fender, and rear valances need to be replaced, as well as the typical charger area behind the rear window. The corner of the trunk floor where the gas tank comes through has rust in a 8x8 section, which I am hoping I can just patch and not have to replace the floor. The interior floor seems like it might be okay but I need to sand down all the surface rust before deciding on that. The car came with a disassembled 383 which would need to be bored as cylinder walls all scratched, but I plan to just put in a 440 in it.

Anyways, I am looking for some opinions on where you guys would start with this project. I would prefer not to go full out rotisserie on this car but would still like to do a good job with it. I have read Project Charger which gave some good direction. I have worked on a few older mopar cars but it has always been minor fixes or just get an old/seized car to running state, never any body work. However, I will be practicing welds and cuts on some of the old cars we have laying around the farm before I attempt any quarter panels on the charger. Currently I am just wire brushing and sanding anywhere I see rust on the frame, as well as scraping off the old undercoating.

I appreciate any input, and can add more photos if requested to do so.

Thank you.

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I would strongly advise against a complete tear down unless you plan on spending more than it would cost you to buy a restored car. My car looked decently solid when I purchased it and then when I started tearing it down it made no sense to skip any details. When I did my 69 Charger I tore it down completely and with a generous car budget it took me almost 7 years to get the car back together and I only consider it a driver. I wasn’t looking for a concours restore I wanted solid metal and bullet proof wiring. That expanded into disc brakes and upgraded torsion bars…. Then I wanted to mate and 18 spline 4 speed behind my stroker when originally I was going to stick with the 3 on the tree and 318 car….I have three other classic mopars that only got the necessary repairs to be road worthy and they all still run today and I have not fallen through the floor while driving or been stranded. Good brakes, tires and drivetrain go a long way. My Charger gets plenty of compliments and runs great but there were several times over the 7 year restore that I lost interest and considered selling it. My brother owned a paint and body shop and even with me being family, I spent several thousand on body panels, floor pans, noise deadening material, headliner bows….. every time you turn around some 50 year old part you removed needs to be replaced and some are in short supply. Paint and body these days will cost you thousands and take twice as long as they quote you. The rear deck lid behind the back window looks relatively solid which is a good sign. I would focus on what absolutely needs to be replaced to be able to drive the car for a bit and enjoy the car while working on it. It’s a lot less painful to order a $1000 part if you can take the car out for a fun Friday night. You will also learn a lot about things you like and dislike about the car by driving it. I spent a fortune reupholstering my original seats and I hate them. Since I didn’t do a concours restoration I would have preferred aftermarket seats like I have in my power wagon. I am on my third set of wheels….. Second 440 Source stroker build….. It’s easy to get carried away and spend $50k or more on a restore when your not planning it. I actually just found my side marker lights some 13 years later. In the second picture I still hadn’t found them lol. They are on the car now. Congratulations on the car bud. They are a labor of love. Most importantly do what makes you happy.

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