Dodge's presence in NASCAR has been almost as turbulent as some Hollywood relationships. Whenever the racing got too close, Mopar would back away, reassess the situation, and let her engineers brew up new and amazing ways to blow the competition out of the water. Most know the Daytona Charger and its subsequent sister, the Superbird, as the dominating force in the late-'60s NASCAR circuit, but many forget about the two steps that preceded those winged warriors.

When Dodge got the OK to bring the venerable semi-hemispherical headed 426 back, they conjured up the '66 Charger-a long, angular fastback designed to slice the air. With mild success, the Charger label was totally revamped in 1968, with a wide, low profile, sharp shoulder lines, and swooping horizontal panels that made the Charger appear to be speeding while at the starting line. The new Charger was hailed a sales coup, but due to some of its signature design cues, namely the recessed matte grille, taillamps, and large buttress C-pillars, the Charger produced so much drag that at 150-plus mph the rear of the B-Body would literally lift itself from the track.

Engineers were immediately put to work, using wind tunnels and aeronautical designs as inspiration. The quickest fix for the '68 Charger was the incorporation of a Coronet grille mounted flush to the front fenders, new horizontal taillights, and a rear-window plug that mounted the back glass level with the C-pillars. Desperate to get back into the race, the modified Charger returned as the Charger 500. the magic number for NASCAR was 500; rules dictated any vehicle wanting to compete must be a production machine offering at least 500 units to the general public.

As an option available on the R/T package, the majority of Charger 500s sold were equipped with the more affordable 440 Magnum engine and TorqueFlite automatic transmissions. Rare were the 500s filled with a Hemi, due to the exorbitant price. A Charger was already an expensive machine, far more than its bare-bones musclecar sister, the Road Runner, which debuted earlier in 1968. The R/T, 500, and Hemi with a four-speed manual options pushed the price tag not only past that of a big-block Corvette, but towards that of a fully loaded Cadillac.

That's why David Weber's '69 Hemi four-speed Charger 500 is so amazing. It's a nearly perfect restoration while still being driven.