My '69 Charger R/T Story

1 Wild R/T

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Yup, back in the 70's & 80's Chargers, Roadrunners, GTX's, Cuda's, Challengers, Super Bee's... They were in junkyards everywhere... I got out of the Military in late 81, jobs were hard to find, amongst other crappy jobs I worked in a wrecking yard that had mostly Mopars, we had probably 300 1963-1972 vintage Mopars & probably 75 were performance models... They were just cars...
 

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These cars have zero side impact protection, nobody wore seatbelts back then either. They were lucky no one was killed! It is amazing that the door looks completely untouched! When my moms Charger was hit it was a glancing blow,not a direct side T bone type hit or it would have been totaled too. See the picture on page two of this thread.
 
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chargervert

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Yup, back in the 70's & 80's Chargers, Roadrunners, GTX's, Cuda's, Challengers, Super Bee's... They were in junkyards everywhere... I got out of the Military in late 81, jobs were hard to find, amongst other crappy jobs I worked in a wrecking yard that had mostly Mopars, we had probably 300 1963-1972 vintage Mopars & probably 75 were performance models... They were just cars...
I used to buy running driving second generation Chargers for $50 to $500 and drive them until I found a better one then part out the one I was previously driving. I probably parted out 150 of them and owned another 50 on top of that that are still around. I used to buy them out of people's yards and buy whole cars out of junkyards and strip them down to the rusty New England carcuses! There was no replacement sheet metal for them back then AMD was two decades away from making replacement body parts for them. The only way to fix body rust and accident damage is like what happened to this 69 Charger R/T in this thread,cut the good prices off one to fix another.
 

Nxcoupe

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I used to buy running driving second generation Chargers for $50 to $500 and drive them until I found a better one then part out the one I was previously driving. I probably parted out 150 of them and owned another 50 on top of that that are still around. I used to buy them out of people's yards and buy whole cars out of junkyards and strip them down to the rusty New England carcuses! There was no replacement sheet metal for them back then AMD was two decades away from making replacement body parts for them.
Same here. I've owned and parted over 150 to 200 Mopars. I saved every one if them that I could. As you said, mine were rusty Ohio cars. They were so cheap for so long. I was a fool for not keeping a bunch if them.
 

1 Wild R/T

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Same here. I've owned and parted over 150 to 200 Mopars. I saved every one if them that I could. As you said, mine were rusty Ohio cars. They were so cheap for so long. I was a fool for not keeping a bunch if them.
If you have space out of sight from neighbors yup... If I tried keeping all the cars I parted out when I was younger where I live I'd either be living on the street or in jail... Every guy I knew with large collections of parts cars back in the day even if they had 15+ acres wound up getting hassled & fined so much they finally let go of their cars... One guy in particular built an eight foot tall fence around five acres of cars & assorted junk, this was surrounded by further acreage he owned so in order the see in you had to be above the property.. There was an overpass about a half mile away... His junk wasn't hurting anybody... But he had a busy body neighbor who was on the county board or supervisors... People suck..
 

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Having a place to store them was always a problem, plus they needed to be kept where they wouldn't get worse which is always a problem in the rustbelt states. A friend I know from California had about 100 super solid California cars on his property out there and thought he was doing the right thing trying to save them all,and a recent wild fire took most of them. So even if you have a place in a nice dry climate to store them,they still aren't safe. I have 24 of them right now. I just bought and installed 4 storage lifts in an attempt to get them inside and out of the weather!
 

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Having a place to store them was always a problem, plus they needed to be kept where they wouldn't get worse which is always a problem in the rustbelt states. A friend I know from California had about 100 super solid California cars on his property out there and thought he was doing the right thing trying to save them all,and a recent wild fire took most of them. So even if you have a place in a nice dry climate to store them,they still aren't safe. I have 24 of them right now. I just bought and installed 4 storage lifts in an attempt to get them inside and out of the weather!
So you know Terry?
 

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Yes,he's a great guy. I just saw him at Carlisle. He was working for Stephen's Performance. I know he retired a couple years ago from his job, We bought some really nice rust free pieces from him over the years. It is a real shame what happened to his cars. He showed me the pictures. It was bizarre how one car is burnt to a crisp and the one next to it survived untouched! The fire did take most of the rare and valuable ones though!
 

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I've known Terry at least thirty years, sold him a T/A back in the late 80's.. He's always been collecting cars & parts, had/has them stashed all over, he's got land in the country, houses in town, somehow he's been able to hold onto cars in a city that generally doesn't like car collections... Damn shame about the fires... Fires are like Honey Badgers, Fires don't care..
 

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No doubt he had some great stuff, I couldn't believe it when he told me about the fires!
 

Scottie

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Great story ,Mine is a very similar story,I bought my 68 Coronet RT convertible from my father law in 1984 he bought it new from Lawson Oats in Vancouver in 1968.B bodies are the best.
 

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Parts have been trickling in this week so I was prepping them as they arrived. My wife had the week off so I didn't do too terribly much until today.

I hooked my engine hoist to the rear end assembly and moved it to the back of the car. Was able to get it about 1/3 of the way under the car, then I sat it on some cardboard and inched it into position solo (I mean I do it all solo but this was a chore). Once I got it lined up pretty much where it'd go I stuck a floor jack under each side and raised it. The 3rd member wants to rotate the whole thing so I stopped that by alternating 2 different sized buckets. Once I got it up high enough I stuck a couple jack stands under it and grabbed my new leaf springs. It was a little sketchy but hey I got away with it.

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I put new Hotchkis shackles on them and dropped the rear into place and bolted it all up with the new hardware from ESPO.

Cliff had installed traction bars on it back in the day and that meant he had pulled the original shock mounts but he actually still had them so I put those back in place. By the time I stuck the KYB's on it I was whooped for the day. Bad back doesn't like heavy stuff but I can take a couple more days off now.

Next up will be the fuel system. Last Monday I spent all day saving the gas tank. Cliff had replaced that already and it was pretty good but had some old gas goop in it and a little rust. I was able to clean the goop out with some wash thinner and a long 3/8" extension with a red scotch brite zip tied to the end for scrubbing lol. Then eliminated the surface rust with vinegar and lightly sprayed some WD40 after I flushed it the final time and had let it dry. I stripped it down and painted it. I also bought a new sending unit and after receiving 2 wrong ones from Summit they finally got me the one I need with a return line. So I should have everything I need to knock out the fuel system.

Brakes are close but I'm going to do new wheel cylinders and a brake job as well as detailing out the parking brake system.

I've also got all the paint for the dash and will start wiring the car once I paint that.

Still have plenty to keep me busy while I wait on the machine shop to do their thing with the engine but I'm about ready for it. Going to prep and epoxy prime that when it gets back and shoot it with some single stage Hemi orange.

Just another step for a stepper. May not be perfect but it's the best I can do or should I say best I can afford to do? :D
 

1 Wild R/T

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Couple things, you probably already know but just in case...

First the new fuel level sending units are notoriously inaccurate... If the old sender is an OE part & not in terrible shape at the very least hang on to it.. You might want it later...

Second KYBs were standard equipment on buckboards and the ride quality hasn't improved since 1873... If you can find room in the budget Bilstiens are great, if money is tight after a few weeks driving a buckboard basic Monroes are a huge improvement over the KYB's..

I know I'm starting to sound like Debbie Downer & thats not my intent... But like many here I've BTDT & have the empty wallet to show for my efforts... If you'd like to learn the less costly way ask questions before spending money...
 

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Couple things, you probably already know but just in case...

First the new fuel level sending units are notoriously inaccurate... If the old sender is an OE part & not in terrible shape at the very least hang on to it.. You might want it later...

Second KYBs were standard equipment on buckboards and the ride quality hasn't improved since 1873... If you can find room in the budget Bilstiens are great, if money is tight after a few weeks driving a buckboard basic Monroes are a huge improvement over the KYB's..

I know I'm starting to sound like Debbie Downer & thats not my intent... But like many here I've BTDT & have the empty wallet to show for my efforts... If you'd like to learn the less costly way ask questions before spending money...
It’s not your fault you’re sounding like a Debbie Downer, it’s the unfortunate truth no one wants to talk about with these cars.

Sadly we’re plagued with trash for parts, even the use to be quality companies are going down hill.
 

Magnes

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Couple things, you probably already know but just in case...

First the new fuel level sending units are notoriously inaccurate... If the old sender is an OE part & not in terrible shape at the very least hang on to it.. You might want it later...

Second KYBs were standard equipment on buckboards and the ride quality hasn't improved since 1873... If you can find room in the budget Bilstiens are great, if money is tight after a few weeks driving a buckboard basic Monroes are a huge improvement over the KYB's..

I know I'm starting to sound like Debbie Downer & thats not my intent... But like many here I've BTDT & have the empty wallet to show for my efforts... If you'd like to learn the less costly way ask questions before spending money...

I didn't go in thinking they were the best. I know there are a lot of ways I could spend more money and get better. I've run softer and even stiffer shocks on the 72 and these will be fine. I'm just trying to get it back on 4.

I'm basically going to be sitting on torn vinyl, seat foam, and springs for a year, so I know it won't be the Ritz.

It's not the original tank and not the original sender. Apparently, both were roached long ago, and Cliff replaced them maybe 10 years ago.
 

1 Wild R/T

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FWIW You clearly have done your homework & have a plan.... I should probably sit back & let you build it to your plan....
But I'm not that smart... Maybe at some point you'll make use of my input....
 

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I didn't go in thinking they were the best. I know there are a lot of ways I could spend more money and get better. I've run softer and even stiffer shocks on the 72 and these will be fine. I'm just trying to get it back on 4.

I'm basically going to be sitting on torn vinyl, seat foam, and springs for a year, so I know it won't be the Ritz.

It's not the original tank and not the original sender. Apparently, both were roached long ago, and Cliff replaced them maybe 10 years ago.
I’ve been there, still there with my 68 GTX. my seats were roached, like no vinyl or foam on the driver seat. Tried buying some foam from a craft store to pack it under a seat cover, did almost nothing. After a year some cordoba seats came up cheap. I know it’s not what came factory, but it’s better then nothing.

But I’m still running without carpet, headliner, ac, heat, I don’t even have a horn button! And I’m running the non hp 440 too! But I don’t let it stop me from enjoying the car. Don’t let money detour you, these cars can be fun no matter your budget.
 

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FWIW You clearly have done your homework & have a plan.... I should probably sit back & let you build it to your plan....
But I'm not that smart... Maybe at some point you'll make use of my input....

I do appreciate others input and experience. I comb these forums constantly for answers. I have to balance that with my reality though. Shocks are easier to swap than wheels and if I wasted $120 instead of spending $600 and my car gets together faster with the only drawback being the car rides rougher, I'm ok with it.

What I am not trying to scrimp on is the tough stuff. The major stuff. I didn't buy a $200 rebuilt steering box or the cheapest metal and I didn't spray bomb the whole thing and reuse old springs or raggedy wiring. It's just shocks.
 

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I do appreciate others input and experience. I comb these forums constantly for answers. I have to balance that with my reality though. Shocks are easier to swap than wheels and if I wasted $120 instead of spending $600 and my car gets together faster with the only drawback being the car rides rougher, I'm ok with it.

What I am not trying to scrimp on is the tough stuff. The major stuff. I didn't buy a $200 rebuilt steering box or the cheapest metal and I didn't spray bomb the whole thing and reuse old springs or raggedy wiring. It's just shocks.
We get it, and I noticed that you were spending on the things that you really only want to do once. I really like how you did the underneath as well.
I think you and I may look at restoring a car in a similar way. I look at it as taking it in sections while leaving it together and drivable. I see restos on here that the car is ripped down to sticks of metal and 8, 9, 10 years later, it's either finally done or for sale. I say enjoy it as you work on it, like you will be when the engine comes back.
 

Magnes

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We get it, and I noticed that you were spending on the things that you really only want to do once. I really like how you did the underneath as well.
I think you and I may look at restoring a car in a similar way. I look at it as taking it in sections while leaving it together and drivable. I see restos on here that the car is ripped down to sticks of metal and 8, 9, 10 years later, it's either finally done or for sale. I say enjoy it as you work on it, like you will be when the engine comes back.

That's it, yes.

Just like there's a few things I skipped but I can easily come back to and do on any given Sunday morning and be done by that evening.
 

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