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Looking quite unlike its street cousin, the Charger 500 was a stepping stone between the stock design and the Charger Daytona. The flush grill was the most dramatic adaptation for speedway use.

Hindsight is always 20-20, or so they say. Truthfully, most of the functional changes seen in automotive development usually came about to fix a problem or adapt to a specific need, but rarely fit the bill entirely. Dodge’s Charger 500 from 1969 was a good case in point.

The plug was added below the new rear window to create a true fastback design. The 500 stripe was then added after the shortened decklid went on.

The example seen here is a highlight of the collection of Tim and Pam Wellborn, who have found and purchased some of the best of the breed when it comes to Hemi Chargers. This car was originally built for export to Canada, but moreover it is highly optioned - power windows, AM/eight-track, cloth interior, even optioned on the build sheet for the deck-mounted luggage rack (which was never installed since it would not fit on the short deck that the Charger 500 model changes mandated). Under the hood is the 426 Hemi, which was the only optional engine; like the other 1969 R/T models, the 440 Magnum was standard. The Hemi is backed with a Torqueflite, but the buyer also ordered the Dana 60 rear with 3.54 SureGrip for durability.

Painted white with a black ‘scat stripe’ around the rear, the car almost looks like something the factory would have delivered to a race shop for conversion to NASCAR status. But we are getting ahead of ourselves. The Charger 500 was a far cry from what the designers had envisioned for the second generation Charger, but it met a specific need. To fully understand it will take a little delving into the 1960s and the racing madness of that era.

While many cars were dressed down, this one is highly-optioned – the 500 package, the Hemi and all the interior goodies pushed the sticker price up. We don’t know how much extra it cost to get it into Canada once it was ready for export…