In 1968, the Dodge brand struggled to beat Ford on the high-banked ovals of NASCAR’s superspeedway tracks. With their new B-Body Charger failing to take down the blue-oval entries, Chrysler engineers took the Charger back to the wind tunnel where they found that the new “flying buttress” created lift and its huge open grille design caused drag. Engineers then created a plug to make the rear window flush, as well as, installed a 1968 Dodge Coronet grille to the front end to help solve the issues.
A prototype was made from a 1968 Dodge Charger R/T with a 7.0-liter (426 cubic-inch) HEMI V8. After a successful test schedule, the car was greenlit for production for the 1969 model year.
In 1969, each Charger 500 was born as a Charger R/T with the “V88” stripe delete. In total, 500 units were produced with 392 of them being used for the street. The rest were bought by racers and gutted, stripped, modified, and repainted. After leaving the Hamtramck Assembly Plant, the cars were shipped to Creative Industries in Detroit to be upfitted. The Creative Industries would then install the Coronet grille, and rear window plug, and rebadge the cars as Charger 500s with new emblems and red, white, or black stripes.
The new 1969 Dodge Charger 500 came standard with a 7.2-liter (440 cubic-inch) Magnum V8, despite factory literature claiming that the HEMI was the standard powerplant. With a starting U.S. Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $3,482.00, the Charger 500 could be optioned with a HEMI for an additional $648.20. Those who wanted air conditioning could opt for it on Magnum for an extra $357.65.
This particular example is getting ready to cross the auction block at Mecum on Saturday, May 21st. It is 1 of 52 examples produced with the HEMI engine, and just 1 of 25 that was fitted with an A727 TorqueFlite automatic transmission. But what makes this car special is that it only has 200 believed-original miles on the odometer.
The car has been optioned with the “A32” Super Performance Axle Package with the 4.10 rear axle ratio, a Dana 60 9.75-inch Sure-Grip differential, and power brakes with front discs.
The car is painted in a beautiful (X9) black and highlighted with a red stripe. The Charger 500 also features a bench seat, column-mounted shifter, sport dash with tik tok clock and 150 MPH speedometer, “A01” light group that includes hood-mounted turn signal indicators, three-spoke sport steering wheel, a Chrysler Solid State radio, pedal dress-up kits, flip-open gas filler, dual chrome mirrors, and chrome tip exhaust. In the trunk, there is a redline spare tire, as well as, a proper truck mat.
On the outside, the car features 15-inch steel wheels with Fratzog-logoed hubcaps, wrapped in Goodyear redline tires. The legacy of the 500 was superseded when winning on Sunday was turned over to the slicker Charger Daytona, however, the Charger 500 goes down in history as the first aero answer to NASCAR’s “aero war”.
To see more, you can visit the Mecum.com dedicated webpage for the car. The car is projected to take in $300,000 to $350,000.
1969 Dodge Charger 500 Image Gallery: