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25 January 2018

This '69 Dodge Charger R/T is a diamond in the rough

By Ross Vasse
You can see that the car needs some love, but what an incredible find. (image credit: Survivor Car Australia) You can see that the car needs some love, but what an incredible find. (image credit: Survivor Car Australia)

No, we can’t tell you where this 1969 Dodge Charger R/T 440 V8 coupe is located. We’re sworn to secrecy.

We can tell you that it was imported to Australia in the early 1970s by Thompson Motor Wreckers of Shepparton, Victoria, converted to right-hand-drive and eventually sold to a Mr West who bought it for Mrs West, but after Mrs West was booked for speeding in it three times, it was sold to a demolition derby racer named Jim. When Jim bought it (the first time around) it was for use as a tow car to and from race meets across the state and into bordering states.

Jim was known as a bit of a speed demon back in his day, driving the Dodge R/T Charger at full throttle at more than 100mph (161km/h) towing his trailer and racecar, overtaking anything and everything in sight. With a pre-race warm-up like this, it is no wonder he won so many races!

Given the big Dodge isn’t renowned for its handling characteristics, one night while coming through a roundabout too fast, the ‘Big Block Magnum 440’ Charger mounted the curb and hit a pole causing some front-end damage. Jim drove the bent-up R/T back to his workshop and set about repairing the damage. A replacement front bumper was near impossible to get back then, so it was straightened out with a port-a-power.

  • Jim's R/T Charger back in its heyday: shiny and tidy. (image credit: Survivor Car Australia) Jim's R/T Charger back in its heyday: shiny and tidy. (image credit: Survivor Car Australia)
  • Ther Charger was used for towing duties, carting the wrecks from Jim's demolition derbies. (image credit: Survivor Car Australia) Ther Charger was used for towing duties, carting the wrecks from Jim's demolition derbies. (image credit: Survivor Car Australia)
  • A small front end bingle saw the Charger get parked up. (image credit: Survivor Car Australia) A small front end bingle saw the Charger get parked up. (image credit: Survivor Car Australia)

We all come across lean times in life when the coin just isn’t rolling in, and such was the case for Jim when for financial reasons he on-sold the Charger to his mate Tony for $5000, who painted it from the original white to a Kermit Green colour. Tony proudly drove the American muscle car for six years, then offered it back to Jim for twice what he bought it for. Knowing the rarity of such a beast, Jim snapped it up without hesitation, owning the Dodge R/T Charger for the second time now.

Jim had plans for the Charger, but like all good plans, life got in the way, so he parked it up in a disused butter factory and here it has been ever since. With a shortage of storage space, over time other car parts, tools and household goods were packed on top of the Charger hiding it from view.

The old Dodge R/T Charger has now been here for more than 20 years, and with Jim getting on in age it is more than likely it’ll find a new home probably via a garage clearance sale in the near future – so you better keep an eye out if you’d like to get your hands on it!

Source: Survivor Car Australia

What do you think is going to happen to the Charger in the future? Would you snap it up if it ever hit the market?