If Hemi or big-block powered B- and E-bodies are considered the diamonds of the Mopar world, then we'd have to say that cars with the same muscular body lines, but minus the muscular engines, would have to be categorized as semi-precious stones. Such is the case of this turquoise colored '69 Dodge Charger found in Jacksonville, Florida, by our neighbor Matt Koops who resides in nearby Lakeland. Though the 318 engine and matching soft factory suspension prevent this Charger from being categorized as a true muscle car, it does have the same body as its R/T counterpart, and like most Chargers it has a floor-shifted automatic and console, bucket seats, and the desirable rally instrument cluster. Matt says the nice thing about this car is that unlike a real R/T, he'll be able to modify it heavily without decreasing its value.

Finding any desirable Mopar these days is tough, and as we've stated in the past most of the easy finds have already been picked up. As a second-generation Charger fanatic Matt is always on the lookout for a deal, searching the internet and following any lead that might land him a '68 -'70 Charger. While on the internet searching for parts for another '69 Charger project, a fellow website visitor told Matt about a car that was sitting in a grain silo in Jacksonville, Florida. The story was that the car had been leased from a Chrysler dealership and driven regularly until it was hit in the rear sometime in the '80s. The lessee then decided the car was too old to repair, but liked it so much that he stored it in one of the silos on a farm he owned. With his interest piqued, Matt followed up by emailing the website visitor for more information.

When Matt got his response, it looked like a dead end at first. The person who gave Matt the lead said he'd gone by the farm where the car was, and that it appeared that the silo had been cleaned out and there was no sign of the Charger. Thinking this was another dead end, Matt forgot about the car until last year's car show at the Don Garlits museum. Sitting in the swap meet selling parts, Matt was approached by another attendee who asked if he was interested in buying a Dodge Charger. After asking a few questions, Matt realized this was the same car he had heard about, and quickly arranged a date to look at the car, which was still in Jacksonville

Upon seeing the Charger, Matt quickly realized that it was rustier than he originally thought. Knowing the car wasn't worth the asking price, Matt asked if the owner was interested in some kind of trade. Telling Matt no thanks, the owner said he might keep the car for a while or fix it up. Discouraged, Matt went home without the Charger, but made a point of calling or emailing the owner every couple of weeks to see if he changed his mind. Finally, after six months of persistently calling about the car, the owner said he'd trade it, and that he was looking for a transmission for a brand-x car he was repairing as well as some other Mopar parts for an additional vehicle he owned. Knowing he had all the parts stored in his shop, Matt quickly said he'd make the trade and loaded the parts, heading to Jacksonville again to seal the deal.