Looking for all the world like a museum restoration, this 500 looks the part, but leads a
Boasting over 600 horses, the 528 MP crate engine requires very little to turn those low-p
The Wheel Vintiques billet 17-inch Magnum 500 wheels are meant to closely resemble the cla
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.
On the other hand, his boss at Arrington Engines, Joe Arrington (son of famous NASCAR racer Buddy Arrington), chose to go in the opposite direction with his silver '69 500.
It turns out both Charger 500s were built at the same time. Joe purchased both cars and built them simultaneously. Starting off as an original 440 car, the silver Charger was a basket case with a majority of the most vital parts MIA. With the original yellow Hemi 500, the car came nearly complete from California, where it was purchased new in the late '60s. Joe felt obligated to return the yellow Charger back to stock, but wanted to go a little bit crazy with the silver Charger.
Before any work was done, the cars were stripped and dipped at Carolina Chem Strip and then detailed. Both Chargers were sent to Kevin Campbell at Henry County Rods in Martinsville, Virginia, for all the paint and bodywork. The basket-case Charger was painted with an aftermarket brilliant silver with the correct "500" bumblebee tail stripe, while the yellow 500 was returned to its original Butternut yellow and appropriate stripe. Randy Stillwell of Wytheville, Virginia, handled the interiors of both cars, and Auto Instruments tackled the task of restoring both gauge clusters. With the help of Year One and Classic Auto air, the interiors were immaculately restored, with cold air blowing through the vents of the silver 500.
Basically rebuilt to stock specs, the Butternut 500 is as Ma Mopar intended.
Engineers in 1969 thought these wind foils would help reduce some of the Charger's drag. W
When it came to the silver Charger, Joe decided Wilwood disc brakes were to be used in lieu of the original brakes with 2-inch drop spindles for a more aggressive stance. Validating that ride height, custom 17-inch rims with Michelin Pilot rubber fill up the wheelwells. The aged steering box was junked for a Firm Feel unit, while an ATI automatic transmission spinning a 3,500-stall converter was enlisted to spin the 4.10 gear 831/44 differential. A Mother Mopar 528 crate Hemi was bought a la carte for the powerplant. With an ornery elephant between the fenders, Joe attached Elston headers with 3-inch pipes to spew the gases out from under the back bumper. Gorgeous black leather from Legendary was tucked and rolled over the seats and door covers, making the interior look close to, but not quite, stock.
Long before David could convince Joe to sell him the yellow 500 Charger, it was reassembled back to factory specs, aside from some minor modifications. Firm Feel rebuilt the steering box, while tti tubes and mufflers tunnel the exhaust out of the rear from the stock manifolds. The 426 Hemi was rebuilt to stock specs, with nearly all-matching internals. The Dana 60 rear was filled with steep 4.10 gears turning the stock Sure Grip. Joe had every detail covered when he restored this 500 and it shows. David pleaded with his boss to sell it to him before Joe posted it on eBay. With the yellow Charger in trusty hands, Joe kept the silver 500 for himself.
These are drivers, the two profess, taking them out onto the pavement as much as they can-definitely the place for a couple of Hemi Chargers.
Owner: Joe Arrington, Martinsville, VA
Car: '69 Dodge Charger 500
Engine: 528 Mopar Performance crate engine, aluminum dual-plane intake, 830 Holley double-pumper carb, 610 hp, 650 lb-ft of torque
Transmission: ATI TorqueFlite automatic trans, 3,500-stall torque converter
Rearend: 831/44 4.10 Sure Grip
Wheels/Tires: Front: 17x8, Michelin Pilot 225/45/17; Rear: 17x9, Michelin Pilot 255/45/17
Owner: David Weber, Martinsville, VA
Car: '69 Dodge Charger 500
Color: Butternut Yellow
Engine: 426 Hemi, restored to stock factory specs, aluminum dual quad intake, Holley carbs, 425 hp
Transmission: A833 four-speed manual, stock shifter
Rearend: Dana 60 rear, 4.10 Sure Grip differential
Wheels/Tires: Front/Rear: Magnum 500 15-inch rims