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My '69 Charger R/T Story

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.

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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.

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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.
Love the 72 as I have one as well. I really like that subtle hood scoop. Is that something you made yourself?

Rob
 
Love the 72 as I have one as well. I really like that subtle hood scoop. Is that something you made yourself?

Rob

Nxcoupe got it. It's off a 79-81 Mustang. They are still fairly easy to find, cheap, well made, and they fit every aspect of those hoods with very little modification.

The 1st 1972 Plymouth I saved from the junk yard had this scoop already on it when I bought it. When I built this one I wasn't too keen on spending thousands for a repro factory scoop so I just put one of these on, homage to that 1st Plymouth.
 
I like it, adds a little character to the car, and isn’t too distracting
:thumbsup:
 
After a year of steadily searching for a tail panel and worrying that I might not find one before everything else was done, it happened.

I've got to give thanks to this forum and specifically to a member named "chargercrazed" for helping me out with a replacement tail panel. I was just going to buy a repro panel but this man sold me a NOS panel at a very fair price. Packed it well and shipped it quick.

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I spent yesterday removing and repairing the tail light buckets from the original tail panel. They fit perfectly to the NOS panel and the NOS panel fit perfectly to the car. I will install the trunk lid and make sure everything is exact, I just had to see it in place.

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Man I'm so stoked. I can actually finish up the back half of the car completely now!
 
Good score on the NOS tailpanel! I would have bought it myself! Your 69 Charger R/T is a very worthy recipient of that part. The reproduction panels fit good but the pieces that the taillight bolts to sometimes have to be removed and rewelded in place to get the taillights to have to proper alignment and depth.
 
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Good score on the NOS tailpanel! I would have bought it myself! Your 69 Charger R/T is a very worthy recipient of that part. The reproduction panels fit good but the pieces that the taillight bolts to sometimes have to be removed and rewarded in place to get the taillights to have to proper alignment and depth.

I'm still excited every time I see it.... and I saw it all day today. I spent a lot of time getting things aligned and prepped those tail light buckets then plug welded those in place. Then I reinstalled the trunk lid (ANOTHER great feeling) and spent time getting everything aligned right. And I spent a while (gasp) drilling out the tail panel so I can take my time and plug weld it in the morning. But man, that tail panel is perfect. I mean sheee-oot. I'm so damn happy. The back of the car is coming together. Pics tomorrow.
 
Your progress on the car is inspiring to say the least, and I could use some inspiration! Lol
 
Thanks man. As always, I wish I knew more so I could do better but I'm doing the best I can.

It all fit together really nice and that was a relief because I had done a lot of work back there previously. As far as the tail panel goes, I had patched a hole on each side of the upper part of the valance panel, replaced that pass side trunk gutter, fabbed and replaced the top part of the pass 1/4, and patched one small area on the driver 1/4 where the tail panel welds to it. I tried to pay close attention to the lines of the old metal when I did all that and in the end it all worked out well and the tail panel simply fit. I've been able to use a Miller welder before and ever since I realize how basic my little welder is but I get good penetration on my plug welds. I ground them back so to not have little high spots all over, even though most won't be seen, then I put just a touch of filler over and sanded them level. I have a few more things to do in the morning and then I can think about priming that. I just put everything together loosely for a couple pics. I'll make it look better.

It got up to 105 in the garage today, but I hung with it all day. Popsicles help.

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I'm tired.
 
Awesome! :thumbsup:

You never learn until you try it, and even then you learn from your mistakes.
 
I remember several years ago when we replaced that panel with an AMD piece on my 69 Charger. Had to cut out and reweld both buckets to get them 1/2 way decent. What a pain, we spent a lot of time on that. Original metal is definitely the way to go if you can find it.
 
I remember several years ago when we replaced that panel with an AMD piece on my 69 Charger. Had to cut out and reweld both buckets to get them 1/2 way decent. What a pain, we spent a lot of time on that. Original metal is definitely the way to go if you can find it.
The NOS tailpanels I have seen for 69/70 Chargers don't have the taillight buckets on them. You have to take them off your original tailpanel and install them on the NOS tailpanel, so the work is about the same. That is if your original light buckets aren't rotted.
 
The NOS tailpanels I have seen for 69/70 Chargers don't have the taillight buckets on them. You have to take them off your original tailpanel and install them on the NOS tailpanel, so the work is about the same. That is if your original light buckets aren't rotted.
I didn't pay close enough attention to his original pic showing the panel doesn't have the buckets included, learned something new already this morning.
 
I didn't pay close enough attention to his original pic showing the panel doesn't have the buckets included, learned something new already this morning.

Yeah, I had to remove the old buckets and install them on the panel. One needed repair. Metal was so thin I didn't think I could weld it so I cut a section out, made a pattern and welded a new piece on. Was on the bottom but I still tried to make it nice.



So, I got out there this morning and finished doing what I wanted to do, taped it off, prepped it, and shot it with epoxy. I'm not body working it any further than it is at this time. Still need to seam seal it all and then work on faux painting the patina to seal it.

I'm not painting in the trunk until the next big step when I jamb out the doors, bottom of the hood and trunk lid, inside front fenders, and probably replacing that dr side 1/4. That'll be a ways down the road.

Right now I'm running out of time as my wife took a job in Tennessee and we're trying to find another house up there. I really have to start buttoning things up. She's already up there and she gave me a couple months to get this thing together...

I hope I can do it all in time for Cliff to drive it one more time and the original owner's family to see it again. I'd also like to drive it to the site where the dealer was that sold the car new and take some pics. That **** is really important to me.

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Nice work, atleast the tailpanel of a 69 R/T is black,so no paint matching is necessary on it. As far as matching the patina of the blue,maybe using basecoat with no clear or a flattened clear might achieve the desired outcome.
 
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The taillight housings were looking like crap. I mean damn. They obviously leaked. I started with the worst one and I bet between them, there is a half a roll of butyl and a whole tube of black silicone.

I torched my trusty 5in1 scraper tool and was able to cut that butyl off the lense pretty easy, but it still took a couple hours to clean one housing and one lense. I used small wire wheels on my die grinder to remove all the glue that was around the perimeter of the housing, then sanded the exterior of the housing with my DA. It doesn't look like the housing was painted but I may hit it with a medium gray metallic to keep them from discoloring again. Inside the housing looks really nice.

The lense polished up a bit with some rubbing compound. I was going to order new gaskets for these but after seeing how well that worked last time, I think I will try my hand at making a thicker foam gasket. It can't work any worse than THAT.

The car wasn't missing much when I bought it but it is missing the chrome that goes around the lenses. I'll have to find that later. I'm ready to get color on the exterior there, get these in, finish wiring the rear, then install the bumper and be done with the back.
 
Alright, thinking I can wrap the back up tomorrow. At least for a while.

Yesterday was hours spent in the trunk taping off where I needed seam sealer and then applying that stuff. I used the Eastwood brushable seam sealer. It works great. I'm happy with how it came out. I was probably seam sealing **** that the factory didn't but I really don't care. I just want to make sure moisture isn't getting back in there and starting this whole shitty process over again so I sealed that sucker up and if it floods, I'm getting in this boat and floating away.... Not painting in the trunk until I jamb the car out later.

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Then today I wanted to start wrapping the rear up, so I jumped in with both feet and tried my hand at some faux patina and blending.

I took and sanded the primer to 320, wax and grease removered it, taped it off, shot some red oxide primer on the edges of the pass 1/4, then I dusted the blue over the top of that, and then I took my scuff pad and hit that blue paint to burn through on the edges and reveal the red oxide primer beneath it. I think it'll work. Looks kinda close. The color is different all over the car so I don't think it'll stand out to anyone who doesn't know. Then I shot the tail panel with just a satin black. I know it's not 100% right.

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I took those taillight housings and stripped them as I mentioned in the last post. I shot the inside lightly with some chrome paint to help brighten them up and I shot the exterior of the housing with as close of a paint match to the housing itself as I could find. They look nice and clean now. All that glue was ridiculous, so I found some weatherstripping and used that in place of the factory taillight seals. It actually works nicely but I'll need to adjust them a bit to get the fit just right.

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So there's that. I have to go back to the hardware store and buy another pack of that weatherstripping so I can do the other tail, and I have to pick up some replacement screws and nuts for those tails too. Then I think I can install the back-up lights, finish wiring the rear, and clean up / paint the bumper brackets and reinstall the back bumper tomorrow evening. Need to put my RT badge on the tail panel as well. Also install my filler neck and gas cap.

Getting there.
 
I am beat. I've been pushing it, it's hot as hell, my back is killing me. Still going.

Every car I've ever done before, I was trying to make look new. This one is weird. Trying to make it as solid as new, work like new, and still look old. It's just weird. It's cool but not as satisfying when the day is over and it still looks old :D

So, I finished up the taillights using the weather-stripping method as opposed to the original gaskets. I think it's going to work fine. Anyway, I got those in and then wired up all the lights on the rear of the car and the fuel sending unit. The American Autowire kit comes with damn near everything except bulbs so I'm sure everything back there will work like perfecto. I went out behind the garage and dug out the back bumper, spent about 10 minutes knocking the loose dirt/rust off the back and hit it with some Rustoleum. That's about all it got. Cleaned the bolts and nuts up and put the bumper back on. It's bent and the sticker gives it character.

I just need a trunk lock, weatherstrip, and the floor seal for the filler neck.

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And before...

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Probably stick the transmission in tomorrow or the next and really start hassling the machine shops to hurry TF up. I need my engine.
 
Amazing story and great work on the car...I hope you get it done soon enough that the original owners widow and Cliff can see it and enjoy it before you move!
 
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