My '69 Charger R/T Story

Magnes

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I had tried to re-use the old torsion bar seals but those things were pretty roached out and I couldn't leave it like that so I bought the $8 ones off Summit that has so-so reviews. They are tight as hell to get on but they are pretty decent. They snap into place nice once you're able to actually get them on the bar. I used 3 sockets 7/8"-1" and a bit of grease. I fumbled for a while but got them on. Used a couple picks to get them to snap onto the crossmember.

seals.jpg


Then I went ahead and installed the gas tank I had cleaned and repainted last week.

296277372_7730820113658041_5785248059593833568_n.jpg



297131058_7730819963658056_313597035733219946_n.jpg



Damn, what did I do today? That sure doesn't seem like much now that I look at it.

I got so hot I went inside and felt sick for a couple hours. Then I think to myself "I'll write some reviews for the parts I bought on Summit"... I did a few and then was like "Where the hell is my tail panel order?"... Cancelled again. Now you can't even order one there. Nice.
 

Cheapsunglasses

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I know, some days you spend so much time on the car…then you realize it was only a couple things. But you’re doing great work, keep it up and it’ll be back on the road in no time.
:thumbsup::steering:
 

Magnes

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Have just been doing some odds and ends this week. Decided to get back on the dash to see if I can progress that at all.

I had this dash paint mixed up last week. I didn't want to pull the windshield and break my guideline of no exterior work so I decided to visually split the dash in half at the dash pad area and leave the top of the dash looking old and detail only the area below the pad... The face of the dash. I priced out the dash pad and I'm not doing that yet either. Wouldn't really make sense anyway if the rest if the upholstery is prettt well jacked.

So I just taped off the dash "face" and prepped and painted it. I also cleaned, prepped, and shot SEM paint on the soft pads of the dash, then shot the hard plastics with SEM landau black.

20220805_234021.jpg


20220803_203345.jpg


20220803_203342.jpg


The gauge cluster is in good shape but looks a bit tired. I ordered the replacement gauge faces and a couple of the chrome paint pens to detail out the hard plastics. I've used those paint pens a few times it looks decent. I mean it just comes down to money. Apparently the sky is the limit with these dashes. I've never seen so many $500+ dash parts in my life D:

20220805_234031.jpg


Supposed to have a 70 Challenger TA, that I put together a couple years ago, come in next week for an air conditioner install. It's owned by the guy who has my engine. I may hold on to that thing as ransom to get my damn engine back lol.

I'm ready to tackle that new wiring harness but there's not much to wire up. I could reinstall the front end but all that is just going to be in the way when I do get the engine back. No sense doing work just to make your job harder later... and I can't wire the rear with no tail panel... But I'll get started with this dash and mount the harness as soon as I have this dash closer to done.
 

1 Wild R/T

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$245 for a dash pad doesn't seem outta line to me... I wouldn't want to have to pull the dash apart to replace the pad later...
Wishing Ya Good Luck on getting the engine back...
 

Richard Cranium

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$245 for a dash pad doesn't seem outta line to me... I wouldn't want to have to pull the dash apart to replace the pad later...
Wishing Ya Good Luck on getting the engine back...


I have replaced an upper dash pad in place on a 68 Charger with a/c and a clock/tach and it’s really not that bad.

The glove box and radio need to come out and the heater controls dropped down. The hardest nut to get at is above the clock/tach because of the size of it. You have to unscrew the gauge cluster and pull it out a bit to be able to get at the nut above. If you only have a clock, this step is unnecessary.
 

Magnes

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$245 for a dash pad doesn't seem outta line to me... I wouldn't want to have to pull the dash apart to replace the pad later...
Wishing Ya Good Luck on getting the engine back...

I didn't see any steel core ones for $245 but even so, that and $600 for fancier shocks and I'd be a grand deeper after shipping and no closer to finished. Budget. I'd have to pull the dash pad again anyway in order to paint the top of the dash when I can get to that.

I know a lot of what I'm doing isn't making sense to some, but the end result is an old looking Charger visually but structurally and mechanically completely gone through. Easy to swap stuff and cosmetic stuff is just not high on the priority list when I still have engine costs, trans costs, full exhaust costs, wheels and tires, plus a tail panel with more paint to buy too and I cannot skimp on any of that. If I blow my allotted budget for the year all progress stops, or the car gets sold, or my other car gets sold. I don't want any of those and a thousand here and a thousand there will do that.

I appreciate feedback and suggestions. I'm just trying to be on the safe side.

The Challenger AC job should knock out a big chunk of the engine work costs. He wanted this one for his daughter, he supplied the stuff and I put it together for him a couple years ago. This one is just a clone but a year later I did the same thing on his actual AAR. He had a budget too so niceties like AC went on the back burner.

20190128_171726.jpg
 

69ChargerR/TSE

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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 worked at Mather Auto Dismantlers dismantling MOPARS near Mather AFB in the 80's
 

69ChargerR/TSE

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Have just been doing some odds and ends this week. Decided to get back on the dash to see if I can progress that at all.

I had this dash paint mixed up last week. I didn't want to pull the windshield and break my guideline of no exterior work so I decided to visually split the dash in half at the dash pad area and leave the top of the dash looking old and detail only the area below the pad... The face of the dash. I priced out the dash pad and I'm not doing that yet either. Wouldn't really make sense anyway if the rest if the upholstery is prettt well jacked.

So I just taped off the dash "face" and prepped and painted it. I also cleaned, prepped, and shot SEM paint on the soft pads of the dash, then shot the hard plastics with SEM landau black.

View attachment 1324431

View attachment 1324432

View attachment 1324433

The gauge cluster is in good shape but looks a bit tired. I ordered the replacement gauge faces and a couple of the chrome paint pens to detail out the hard plastics. I've used those paint pens a few times it looks decent. I mean it just comes down to money. Apparently the sky is the limit with these dashes. I've never seen so many $500+ dash parts in my life D:

View attachment 1324430

Supposed to have a 70 Challenger TA, that I put together a couple years ago, come in next week for an air conditioner install. It's owned by the guy who has my engine. I may hold on to that thing as ransom to get my damn engine back lol.

I'm ready to tackle that new wiring harness but there's not much to wire up. I could reinstall the front end but all that is just going to be in the way when I do get the engine back. No sense doing work just to make your job harder later... and I can't wire the rear with no tail panel... But I'll get started with this dash and mount the harness as soon as I have this dash closer to done.
Are you going to redo these yourself? The replacement decal faces aren't terrible to do. I sent mine to Tommy White to calibrate and test, if you send the sending units they will get dialed in. Also added LED bulbs, which helps a ton. He tested EVERY electrical part and rebuilt or replaced it.
DEFINATLEY don't want any electrical problems. I also bypassed my Alternator gauge, and converted the gauge to Voltage, and connected it to 12v on, at the fuse box. I have photos on my instagram
 

Magnes

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Are you going to redo these yourself? The replacement decal faces aren't terrible to do. I sent mine to Tommy White to calibrate and test, if you send the sending units they will get dialed in. Also added LED bulbs, which helps a ton. He tested EVERY electrical part and rebuilt or replaced it.
DEFINATLEY don't want any electrical problems. I also bypassed my Alternator gauge, and converted the gauge to Voltage, and connected it to 12v on, at the fuse box. I have photos on my instagram

Budget determines I do just about everything myself, so I did it one rainy day last week.

Made me a little table in front of the boob tube and spent the day on them. Nah, it wasn't hard. I think they turned out pretty good. I did not take apart the odometer though. I only did the gauge faces and the clock. I didn't want to alter the odometer at all.

gauges before.jpg


gaugesdone.jpg



I had already painted the original bezels black so I used one of those Molotow chrome paint pens to "detail" the bezels. During which I realized exactly how unsteady my hands are but still... Better than it was. I can buy new later or try again down the road.

This is what they WERE looking like...

cluster before.jpg


And this is after I did the best I could. Not perfect by any means but it's a damn sight better.


cluster after.jpg


At this point I figured "what the hell" and opened up the American Auto Wire kit and started wiring the dash. I wish I could show you but trying to take pictures of wiring in a dash and have the pictures actually show anything that looks like anything is impossible LOL

I spent the better part of a couple days wiring the dash. Some parts were a pain (like crimping the impossibly small bottle cap style connectors for the instrument lights using my fat sausage fingers) but for the most part it was simple. I spend way too much time trying to make wiring as clean as possible, as easy to understand for the next guy, and making sure every connection is as good as I can possibly make it. I'm pretty happy with it. It layed out nice. I had a couple broken tabs on a couple instrument light sockets in the cluster itself and I actually found perfect replacements on Amazon so I got those and while on Amazon I picked up LED's for everything in the dash. I got the ones that diffuse the light so hopefully they'll make the gauges look good.

And once I had the dash wired up I figured "what the hell" again and started putting the face of the dash back together.

dash.jpg


dash1.jpg



Everything is still the original piece to the car. I didn't even paint the upper dash pad, I just wiped it off for the first time just before this picture was taken because it's cracked in about 5 spots but I'm going to swap it out later. The lower pads as well as the pillar trim pieces were painted with SEM that I had matched to a door panel so I'd say they got pretty darn close to original on that match. I'm going to wait on the radio for now and I need to get a new glove box.

And I did some work on the steering column as well. I went ahead and rewired the turn signal switch to mate with the new dash harness and then I installed the Bergman Borgeson coupler. Also repainted the column and even though my steering wheel is cracked 6 ways to Sunday, I took the pad and horn ring off and shot those as well. I was able to find a cheap old school NOS 70's style steering wheel cover that I'll use to wrap the gnarly ring so it doesn't chew my hands off the 1st time I drive it.

column.jpg



Also progress on my engine. My buddy brought that purple Challenger by and I did his Vintage Air install for him over the course of a few days. It was kind of a pain. He had an AC dash but the car itself wasn't an AC car. They gave him a kit for a 26" core support but he had a 22" core support so of course I had to modify it to work. I had to pull the dash to get at those damn defrost vents which was fun. There was some other issues that had me fabbing up modifications to get it right. I spent a lot of time those 3 days but I got it knocked out as fast as I could for him. I told him not to pay me and instead pleaded that they get to work on my engine LOL..... He still paid me but he saw the Charger and saw I was about ready for it so he has started on the engine. We're waiting on some different pistons and then we'll get it all balanced. I need to take the trans and drop it off at this point, just to be gone through, new seals, gaskets, or whatever. It has like no miles on it but I still want to have it gone through.

Anyway, still staying busy on it. Doing the best I can.
 

Magnes

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stwheel.jpg


Alright, we are steering again.

The center pad for the wheel was a bit deformed on one spoke but all the lower dash pads were a bit off as well. Don't think there's much you can do with that except be thankful they are still soft and somewhat supple. That steering wheel cover, while not ideal, is a lot better than the wheel itself (which tended to resemble a special sort of blender designed specifically for hands) so I'm good with that.

Tomorrow, I think I'll toss the seats back in to give me some room in the garage and do the back brakes. Just going to install new wheel cylinders, rear brake job, and reinstall the E brake system.
 

69ChargerR/TSE

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What radio are you putting in? Did you already install the speaker?
 

Magnes

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What radio are you putting in? Did you already install the speaker?

Not sure yet. And no.

The way things are today an actual radio isn't really necessary. I put a stock one in my other car to fill the hole in the dash but the actual stereo is run off my phone to an amp and then out to the speakers. On this one I was thinking I might just get a new radio bezel and put a stock radio back in it just for looks and then do the same with this car. I'm chalking it up to be a project I can tackle later on.
 

69ChargerR/TSE

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There are people, I know one, that upgraded the internals to an Aurora, so its AM/FM MP3 Bluetooth USB and AUX. I had my AM/8 track done.
 

1 Wild R/T

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Not sure yet. And no.

The way things are today an actual radio isn't really necessary. I put a stock one in my other car to fill the hole in the dash but the actual stereo is run off my phone to an amp and then out to the speakers. On this one I was thinking I might just get a new radio bezel and put a stock radio back in it just for looks and then do the same with this car. I'm chalking it up to be a project I can tackle later on.
Yup, blue tooth amp... Control it with your phone, use it as an iPod or radio or listen to podcasts... Easy cheap & works great...
 

Magnes

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Kind of a slow week on the old Charger but I got some more done.

About wrapped up the entire brake system now. Went ahead and rebuilt the back brakes and did the parking brake cables. Now I just need to pull the master, bleed it and then bleed the entire system and we should have brakes.

brakes.jpg


The back half of the car is pretty much done.

under1.jpg


I ran the new wiring out to the back but can't finish until I find a usable tail panel. I could have all that done in a day or 2 when/if I find one. Need to wire up a relay for the electric fuel pump and run that too but that's easy.

I went out to visit my Dad last weekend. He's over 70 now. When I was a kid my old man was, like so many people in the late 1970's, big into CB radios. He had some really cool setups. I don't know very much about them and he doesn't really talk about his hell raising days but the rest of the family has told me plenty of stories about him causing trouble with his over powered home base unit system. I just remember the thing always sounded so much more badass than anyone else's. He'd talk right over you. He'd key up, it'd ping real loud. He ran linears on all his stuff and so his system was over powered as hell and I'm sure the FCC would've rung his neck but he liked to get people riled up. It was like a hobby. When he wasn't home I'd get on there and mess around, people always noticed you that's for sure LOL. My uncle said he could key up and burn up other peoples units but I don't know how true that one is. I do know he had a massive antenna out back and lightning struck the house once. About scared my Ma to death.

Anyway I knew he had kept a lot of his old CB stuff so I asked him if he still had any of the CB's he ran in his cars. He pointed to an old dusty box and I looked in there and sure enough he had a few. I've never had a CB but again, always thought they were cool so I asked him if I could have one to run in the Charger. He shambled over and looked in the box. He has a really bad ass Cobra somewhere that's tricked out but we couldn't locate it. Instead he pulled this one out.

cb1.jpg


This one is about as old as I am. Probably from 77-8. It's pretty trick too. Originally a 23 channel from what I understand but he took it to his CB guy who modified it to a 40 channel. Not only that but you flip a switch, 40 more channels. I think they call it sideband. He said his buddies had the same mods in their cars CB's so they could get on frequencies no one else was on and they'd talk with less chance of anyone listening in. They might have been involved with some stuff that no one needed to know about. I mean one of my 1st clear memories was the SWAT team kicking in our front door, must have been '83, and hauling him in for something that was in his safe but we don't talk about that. We moved shortly after and he calmed down a bit.

So anyway he told me to take it and see if I could get it to work. It was looking pretty rough as you see there. I opened the case and yup... Dirt dobbers nests. I sat there and carefully removed the hunks of old dried mud out of the circuitry. Then I dumped all the bug pieces that the dobbers had left behind out and carefully cleaned all the boards inside. It was easy to see this thing had been seriously modified. No longer had an internal speaker, another circuit board had taken its place. Anyway I cleaned the innards up as best I could and stripped the case down to bare metal to get rid of the surface rust, then I repainted it. The mic he gave me was not going to work. Some of the interior plastic had dried and split leaving little capacitors loose. So I ordered a new mic, a new fuse holder, an external speaker, a coax with a 90 degree mount and a 4' whip antenna for it.

cb2.jpg


I put it back together and timidly hooked it up to power halfway expecting a sizzle and poof reaction from it but it lit right up and that old familiar crackling sound came from the external speaker. I don't have the antenna yet and from what I've learned you have to tune your antenna right or you'll screw up the radio but I keyed it once to make sure it was actually working and it was. I was so stoked. I called the old man and he was too. The antenna will be here next week and the old guy said he'd come over and show me what to do to get it tuned correctly and we'll have to figure out what frequencies it's on with another gadget he has.

My Dad never really was into cars like I am. He always liked a fancy new car. When I was younger he could never understood why I would want an old POS old car that "wasn't that good when it was new" and then spend hundreds of hours working on it. His Dad died young at 27 in a 57 Dodge so my Dad always hated Dodge. Over the years he's accepted my choices though and has learned to appreciate what we do. Probably more so just the work it takes. Anyway I thought this was a cool way to incorporate a little bit of my old man into my car. I think it'll be a real neat "conversation piece" if you will.
 
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Cheapsunglasses

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Kind of a slow week on the old Charger but I got some more done.

About wrapped up the entire brake system now. Went ahead and rebuilt the back brakes and did the parking brake cables. Now I just need to pull the master, bleed it and then bleed the entire system and we should have brakes.

View attachment 1337130

The back half of the car is pretty much done.

View attachment 1337133

I ran the new wiring out to the back but can't finish until I find a usable tail panel. I could have all that done in a day or 2 when/if I find one. Need to wire up a relay for the electric fuel pump and run that too but that's easy.

I went out to visit my Dad last weekend. He's over 70 now. When I was a kid my old man was, like so many people in the late 1970's, big into CB radios. He had some really cool setups. I don't know very much about them and he doesn't really talk about his hell raising days but the rest of the family has told me plenty of stories about him causing trouble with his over powered home base unit system. I just remember the thing always sounded so much more badass than anyone else's. He'd talk right over you. He'd key up, it'd ping real loud. He ran linears on all his stuff and so his system was over powered as hell and I'm sure the FCC would've rung his neck but he liked to get people riled up. It was like a hobby. When he wasn't home I'd get on there and mess around, people always noticed you that's for sure LOL. My uncle said he could key up and burn up other peoples units but I don't know how true that one is. I do know he had a massive antenna out back and lightning struck the house once. About scared my Ma to death.

Anyway I knew he had kept a lot of his old CB stuff so I asked him if he still had any of the CB's he ran in his cars. He pointed to an old dusty box and I looked in there and sure enough he had a few. I've never had a CB but again, always thought they were cool so I asked him if I could have one to run in the Charger. He shambled over and looked in the box. He has a really bad ass Cobra somewhere that's tricked out but we couldn't locate it. Instead he pulled this one out.

View attachment 1337131

This one is about as old as I am. Probably from 77-8. It's pretty trick too. Originally a 23 channel from what I understand but he took it to his CB guy who modified it to a 40 channel. Not only that but you flip a switch, 40 more channels. I think they call it sideband. He said his buddies had the same mods in their cars CB's so they could get on frequencies no one else was on and they'd talk with less chance of anyone listening in. They might have been involved with some stuff that no one needed to know about. I mean one of my 1st clear memories was the SWAT team kicking in our front door, must have been '83, and hauling him in for something that was in his safe but we don't talk about that. We moved shortly after and he calmed down a bit.

So anyway he told me to take it and see if I could get it to work. It was looking pretty rough as you see there. I opened the case and yup... Dirt dobbers nests. I sat there and carefully removed the hunks of old dried mud out of the circuitry. Then I dumped all the bug pieces that the dobbers had left behind out and carefully cleaned all the boards inside. It was easy to see this thing had been seriously modified. No longer had an internal speaker, another circuit board had taken its place. Anyway I cleaned the innards up as best I could and stripped the case down to bare metal to get rid of the surface rust, then I repainted it. The mic he gave me was not going to work. Some of the interior plastic had dried and split leaving little capacitors loose. So I ordered a new mic, a new fuse holder, an external speaker, a coax with a 90 degree mount and a 4' whip antenna for it.

View attachment 1337132

I put it back together and timidly hooked it up to power halfway expecting a sizzle and poof reaction from it but it lit right up and that old familiar crackling sound came from the external speaker. I don't have the antenna yet and from what I've learned you have to tune your antenna right or you'll screw up the radio but I keyed it once to make sure it was actually working and it was. I was so stoked. I called the old man and he was too. The antenna will be here next week and the old guy said he'd come over and show me what to do to get it tuned correctly and we'll have to figure out what frequencies it's on with another gadget he has.

My Dad never really was into cars like I am. He always liked a fancy new car. When I was younger he could never understood why I would want an old POS old car that "wasn't that good when it was new" and then spend hundreds of hours working on it. His Dad died young at 27 in a 57 Dodge so my Dad always hated Dodge. Over the years he's accepted my choices though and has learned to appreciate what we do. Probably more so just the work it takes. Anyway I thought this was a cool way to incorporate a little bit of my old man into my car. I think it'll be a real neat "conversation piece" if you will.
That’s awesome! I have a 78 Lil Red that’s been in the family since new, only 2 aftermarket items are a tonneau cover, and a CB. The fuse link for the power to the CB disintegrated, but it’s still cool to have
 

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I got a wild hair last night and checked off a bunch of stuff left on the "still need to buy" list. The sky was not the limit but I didn't buy a bunch of junk either.

Summit ceramic coated headers - I've been running these same headers on my 72 for about 8 years or so now and they have held up good and still look nice and fitment was pretty good on the 72.
Summit 2.5" mandrel bent aluminized steel exhaust with their knock off Flowmaster mufflers - I'm running the same system but 3" on the 72 with Flowmaster 40's. It won't bolt up perfect but I was able to fit them once, I can do it again.
Remflex header gaskets
Dorman studs for the headers
Summit mini starter
Pertronix distributor conversion - I had a new backup points distributor for the 72 after I built it because the electronic ignition left me stranded a couple times while working bugs out. I'll just convert it over for the Charger since the 72 is fine now and no longer has a 440
Pertronix Flame-Thrower coil
Lokar throttle cable
Lokar bracket
Lokar kick down cable - Again, I've run these on the 72 for years and they've always worked flawlessly
Mopar 26" fan shroud - Should be able to modify that to fit the new 3 core aluminum rad I got a couple weeks ago
Hayden HD fan clutch
Taylor Spiro 8mm plug wires

That should wrap up many of the systems that are left. It had a flex fan on it but that'll be going and I'll hunt down a 7 blade original fan. Will probably get a Mancini high volume water pump and housing since it has worked so well on the 72 along with a Milodon thermostat.

Looks like I'm going to have to move soon. The wife is taking a job near Knoxville TN so I need to get this thing together and running/driving ASAP so I don't have to move it in pieces... *sigh
 

Magnes

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Everything is at the machine shop.

The rotating assembly is being balanced with the new forged flat tops.
The block is being cleaned and honed
Heads are getting checked and new valve seals

And the transmission is being gone through as well.

I know it was killing Cliff to see us disassemble the engine he had worked so hard to have built but it was too much and wouldn't have been good on the street. Plus it's the original engine.

Cliff had our buddy Terry do a lot of the machine work on it back in the day and Terry told me he had punched something into the crank, when we pulled the crank I could see what it said.

crank.jpg


Too funny. "THE BADEST 69 CHARGER EVER CREATED 440"

It'll be a bit more tame now. Able to run on pump gas anyway. Will still be "THE BADEST 69 CHARGER EVER CREATED" in my eyes lol

All the stuff I ordered last week has come in. Entire exhaust system, the ignition system, all the linkages for the carb and trans, the starter, and parts of the cooling system.

I installed the pertronix in the new spare distributor I had. I also bought a relay and made a harness for it so it'll run my fuel pump and I ran all that out.

And thanks to this site I was able to get a NOS tail panel from a very kind member here which will allow me to complete the rear structure of the car and finish wiring up the rear of the car once I install it, completing everything from the doors back.

In a bit of a holding pattern for the moment but needed a break. I'll be getting things prepped for the tail panel's arrival this week but other than that, I'm gonna take a rest from the Charger. Once the engine parts come back I'm sure I'll be non stop until it runs.

I have been neglecting my 72 this year but I did get it out, washed it off real quick, and was able to win 2nd in my class at a local show. There was a lot of good cars there. Many better than mine but the judges liked it so I'm honored.

2nd.jpg


It gets a lot of attention. I love to drive it but with another project going, it's hard to not work and take time to enjoy what you already have.

When I get the Charger back on the road, I need to address a few issues with this one. I'm hoping I fall in love with the Charger's borgeson steering box conversion because if it's as good as everyone says, I'll be putting one in this to replace the tired original.
 

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