For 1969, the Dodge Charger was given a pair of wide longitudinal taillamp housings replacing the four round taillamps found on the 1968. The Charger R/T was one of “five from the hive” products that were Dodge performance optioned vehicles often identified by the bumblebee stripe found on the tail end of the car.

The dash is in great condition. All the gauges operate correctly, including the clock and tachometer. The interior underwent an intensive cleaning in the late 1990s, but almost every original component remains in place.

The twin AFBs have been uncovered for a little better look. Harland was disappointed that the carbs looked dirty, but he should not be concerned. He should be very happy with how well they work. He keeps the carbs well-tuned as well as maintaining the throttle cable and various coupling linkages between the carburetors.

The Charger has accumulated almost 33,000 miles since Harland has owned it, and with his attention to detail, he expects the No. 1 of 207 Hemi 4-speed Charger R/T to “Continue to Turn Up the Fever” and “Run with the Dodge Scat Pack” for many years to come. 

- the Professor

A pair of Carter AFBs sit under the huge Hemi air cleaner assembly. The AFBs are the originals that Harland has gone through a time or two. They are well tuned, and the Hemi runs great. Harland keeps the Hemi in tune, which dispels the myth that Hemis are finicky and temperamental. Just like any engine, if it is well prepared, it will operate flawlessly. Harland has no problems with fouling plugs, vapor lock, or over heating problems.

The original Hurst shifter stirs the New Process A833 4-speed gearbox. During the era when the Charger was new, Hurst had the following slogan: “WARNING, this car is equipped with a Hurst floor shift. Shift as hard as you please, but don’t break your arm”. After almost 50 years, the shifter remains intact, so the statement must be true. Harland’s arm also remains in good condition.

The door panels are the originals and like every other part of the Charger they are in magnificent condition. The emblems look like they were just pressed today not 48 years ago.

 

Never one to trailer his cars, Harland has driven the restored Charger R/T to the mid-west for various events; he has even driven all the way to Ocala, Florida, for “Big Daddy’s” huge Mopar car show, and he has driven to the NeHOA events in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states. The Charger won the Mark’s Auto Parts “King of Cruise” in 2002, and then in 2004, Harland received the coveted Galen V. Govier “By the Numbers Award” for his hard work restoring and maintaining the Charger R/T in its as built condition.

Harland is not one to put his Charger on a trailer and tow it to an event. He drives the Charger, and it has been all over the east coast and the Midwest. He has driven it on the Chrysler Proving Grounds in Chelsea, Michigan, he has taken it to dozens of Northeast Hemi Owner Association (NeHOA) meetings, and even a trip to Ocala, Florida, to visit the “Big Daddy” Don Garlits’ Mopar car show. At the meeting, Harland got “Big Daddy” into the Charger for an autograph.

The original quick-fill cap better known as the “Pit-Stop” cap covers the real gas vented gas cap. This Charger was ordered with a locking vented gas cap. Not only is the chrome on the quick-fill cap in great shape, all of the chrome throughout the Charger is in beautiful condition.

The 41K-mile Hemi is nestled into the engine bay just as the factory placed it on December 12, 1968. The Hemi still runs the dual-point distributor, points regulator, and a factory replacement ballast resistor. All of the engine components wear the factory part numbers that were on the engine in 1969. The original Hemi decal on the air cleaner wore off years ago, and Harland has another NOS decal to install, but he is afraid the decal will fall apart when installing it due to the age of the decal.

 

Additional options included a tinted windshield, a locking gas cap, undercoating and hood insulator pad, a tachometer with clock, a 10-Watt AM radio with 8-track, and a full white colored vinyl top. Two no-cost options were also selected. The first was a stripe delete, and the second was a set of F70x15 fiberglass-belted (bias-ply) tires on body-colored steel wheels. The Charger also had power disc/drum brakes, an interior lighting group, and three-speed windshield wipers. With the addition of the destination fees, the Charger’s window sticker pushed just above $5K coming in at $5,015.45. The Charger would have cost $33,416.84 in 2017 dollars.

 

With plenty of projects and a full-time job at Trickhead Work, the repairs to the R/T took longer than expected, but Harland finally had the Charger’s Hemi repaired and ready for the 1979 Car Craft Street Machine Nationals, or so he thought. On the test drive of the fresh Hemi just days before the meet, he noticed the gas tank was leaking gasoline onto the ground. The years of inactivity had allowed rust to develop in the gas tank resulting in a few pinhole leaks that led to a last-minute thrash to find a new (or at least in better condition) gas tank. Rick Larson, a fellow founding member of NeHOA provided the necessary replacement tank. Harland quickly installed the tank and the Charger was driven to the Street Machine Nationals in Indiana, then to the Chrysler Car Club Convention in St. Louis, winning best Hemi car of the event, and later in ’79 to its first of many NeHOA meetings over the next 40 years.

The side markers for 1969 were merely reflectors, which were different from the round lights found on the 1968 Chargers. The vacuum motors for the hide-away headlamps operate properly. All the components are the factory originals. The factory anti-sway bar and the “Hemi” K-member can be seen in the shadows below the Charger.

 

As the years progressed, Harland added a set of 1970 Rallye wheels wrapped by 215/65/R15 Firestone Indy 500 tires that replaced the body-colored steel wheels, dog dish hub caps, and the F70x15 fiberglass-belted tires. Other than that, the Charger remains stock. In the late 1990s, Harland, now an owner of a very successful business (North American Restorations) that restores museum-quality WWII planes, PT boats, gun turrets, as well as certain cars, decided to freshen up the Charger. With help from his son, Harley, Harland went through the Charger cleaning and detailing every part, and if necessary, replacing parts with the correct date coded parts. During the restoration, Harland repaired several factory welds on the passenger inner fender well that had come apart during a visit to the Chrysler Proving Grounds in Chelsea, Michigan. He made several spirited runs on the actual test tracks that the Charger (or other test cars) ran back in 1969. The restoration was not an intense unibody up restoration but rather a good cleaning of the car and a fresh application of the T5 Bronze Fire Poly (Copper Metallic) paint.

The saddle tan seat covers and the door panels are the originals from 1969. The buttons from the driver’s seat are missing, but do not worry, they are in the glovebox waiting to be reinstalled at some point in the future. The interior includes the lighting package group, a 10-watt AM radio with 8-track, and a Hurst shifter.

VOLUME XII,  ISSUE 3 - SEPTEMBER,  2017

mopar memos The latest news, rumours & Info!

FEATURES

The 1969 Dodge Charger was in its sophomore year of the new “Coke® bottle” body style and was very similar to the 1968 version. The R/T was the top of the Scat Pack line (until the Charger 500 and Daytona later in 1969), and the 440 engine was standard while very few opted for the 426 Hemi.

 

Long before an orange Confederate flag-clad, “01” badged, Bo and Luke-driven 1969 Charger was invited into America’s living rooms, the Charger had made a name for itself on the street and the strip. If racing was your thing, you could see the Charger R/T in action at the drag strip running in various Super Stock and Modified Production classes. Dodge also offered to the public via their extensive Dodge dealership network the Dodge Performance Clinic Program, which provided insight into the performance tuning tips and advice on the newest Dodge vehicles, chassis, and drivetrains.

 

Dick Landy successfully ran a ’69 Charger (among other Scat Pack vehicles) at many American Hot Rod Association (AHRA) and National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) events as well as presiding over the Performance Clinics at Dodge dealerships across the country. Seeing the Chargers in action at the track and having the opportunity to attend a Performance Clinic was a big selling point for the performance-oriented youth as well as for Dodge.

 

Harland Avezzie of Westfield, Massachusetts, was one of those performance-oriented youths having drag raced a ’65 Hemi Coronet in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Throughout the 1970s, Harland acquired several Hemi cars including Challengers, Chargers, Super Bees and the previously mentioned Satellite. He even acquired two beyond repair (by 1970s standards) Hemi Road Runners in which he removed the drivetrain and junked the carcasses. How many people wish those cars were still around today? Harland was one of seven founding members of the Northeast Hemi Owners Association (NeHOA) in 1976. The first of the bi-annual meets was held in his backyard, and since that first weekend, the group has met every Memorial Day weekend and every Labor Day weekend in the hometown of one of the group members.

 

In the early days, communication was difficult. Exchange of ideas and news was via telephone (the type with a cord attached to the wall) and newsletters sent through the mail. To get to the events, the group members would meet at various rest stops on the interstate or at a restaurant to gather and then cruise to the next meeting place to pick up more members until the groups convened at the event. Over the years, the communication became better and the group’s membership grew. Along the way, the group opened the membership to include non-Hemi Mopar products. The emphasis was still the mighty Hemi but now all Mopars were welcome. Harland has attended a significant number of the 82 events, and he has driven a Gen II Hemi car to each one. He is very serious about his Hemis.

Harland has kept the Charger stock for the last 40 years. He did a restoration, basically a detailed cleaning, with a fresh coat of T5 Bronze Fire Poly (Copper Metallic) paint applied in the late ‘90s. The only deviation from the stock condition is the 1970 Rallye wheels wrapped by 215/65/R15 Firestone Indy 500 tires that replaced the body-colored steel wheels, dog dish hub caps, and the F70x15 bias-ply tires.

 

One of his Hemis that has attended a large number of the meets was purchased in 1977. Harland was on the search for his next Hemi, but his wife put her foot down stating they needed a better housing arrangement for the growing family. Harland knew of a local house for sale by a person named Rick Perro. Rick had also at one time raced a Hemi Charger at the same tracks Harland frequented. The Charger had been out of commission for a few years after a valve dropped while in competition at the drag strip. Harland told Rick that he would pay the asking price for the house if the Charger (with the engine disassembled) was thrown in with the sale. Rick originally turned down the offer, but after a few weeks, Rick approached Harland to see if Harland’s offer was still open for discussion. Harland reiterated that he would pay the asking price if the Charger was included in the transaction. After some negotiating a deal was struck. Harland got the house, and he paid $400 cash for the non-running Hemi Charger R/T that had just a few ticks over 8K miles on the odometer.

This Charger was selected off the sales lot of Hampden Dodge, Inc. by a gentleman named Rick Perro. The sales price for the Hemi equipped Charger was a touch over $5K, which was a stout window sticker for late 1968 or early 1969.

 

What did Harland get for his $400? He got a car that had been ordered by dealership employee named John Cook. The Charger was assembled at the Hamtramck assembly plant on December 12, 1968 and was sold from the sales lot at Hampden Dodge located in Springfield, Massachusetts. The Charger was equipped with the Super Track Pack, which consisted of a Dana with 4.10 gears and a New Process A833 manual 4-speed transmission, a center console with wood grain panel, head restraints (left and right), and the Hemi engine.

Harland Avezzie of Westfield, Massachusetts has owned this 1969 Dodge Charger R/T equipped with a Hemi and 4-speed since 1977. He acquired his Charger, which is one of 207 Hemi Chargers build in 1969, as part of house purchase. The Charger’s Hemi was apart in an attempt by the previous owner to repair some engine damage, but the $400 purchase price sweetened the deal for Harland.

 

It was the fall of 1968, and for 1969, Dodge continued the successful Dodge Fever campaign but with a slight bend. The mantra for ’69 was “This year, Dodge is turning up the Fever”. If the fever was severe, a perspective buyer could check off the performance options when ordering a new Dodge, plunk down a manageable down payment, and drive out with one of the cars with a bumblebee stripe wrapping the tail end of the car. The bumblebee stripes could be found on five different vehicles offered in nine unique variants, including the 340 Dart Swinger hardtop, the 340 GTS hardtop and convertible, the 383 Coronet Super Bee coupe and hardtop, the 440 Coronet R/T hardtop and convertible, the 440 Charger R/T, the 440 Charger 500, and later the Daytona. Picking up one of the “five from the hive” vehicles authorized you to “Run with the Dodge Scat Pack”, which was always a cure for the fever.

 

For 1969, the Dodge Charger remained relatively unchanged from 1968 with the exception of some cosmetic modifications. The grill on the ’69 Charger had a center divider that lined up with the hood centerline, while the ’68 did not. The rear tail panel and tail lamps were changed from four round lenses in ’68 to longitudinal lenses in ’69. Lastly, the government-mandated side markers were actual lights in a round lens and bezel for 1968, but for 1969, the markers were changed to rectangle shaped reflectors without any lights. The engine options remained unchanged from 1968. The Charger power plant options ranged from the utilitarian 225 slant six or 318/2bbl standard engine in the base Charger to the mammoth 426 Hemi, which was an option for the Charger R/T. Optional power plants for the Chargers included a 383/2bbl, a 383/4bbl, or a 440/4bbl.

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