Barn Find: We've all heard stories about a rare car sitting in a barn after the owner was
Wherever you live in the United States, chances are you've heard a story about some sort of classic car that has been sitting in a barn, garage, or back yard because the owner was tragically killed in the Vietnam War. And while these stories generally involve a parent or family member who is unwilling to sell the car because the attachment to their lost loved one, occasionally the car gets passed along and goes on to provide future owners with the same pleasure that the original owner enjoyed. Mark Stornant of Lansing, Michigan, tracked down this '69 Charger R/T, after an acquaintance learned that he was restoring a similar Charger and convinced the owner he would take care of the car and give it a good home.
Purchased new in 1969, the original owner ordered this Charger R/T with the 440 Magnum engine and 727 TorqueFlite transmission. With black exterior paint, a white R/T stripe and white interior, we're sure the first owner of this car made an impression during the two years he drove the car as his daily transportation. Unfortunately, he was killed during 1970 and the car was parked briefly before his parents decided to sell the car to a couple they knew. Using the car from 1970 until 1978 as a daily driver, the car succumbed to normal wear and tear as well as rust in the normal places thanks to the snowy Michigan winters. In 1978 the Charger was sold again to an acquaintance of Mark's, and he and his brother had the car painted with an economical paint job.
Driving the car until 1985, the brother's sold the car again to the most recent owner, who never licensed the Charger but did keep it in a barn on his property, driving the car occasionally up and down the country road he lived on. In 1988 the 440 suffered a cracked piston, so the owner had the engine rebuilt, and in the early '90s the transmission was rebuilt and a shift kit was added. The brakes were also rebuilt during this period, but for some reason the owner still didn't license the car or drive it, other than an occasional trip up and down the road he lived on, and it just sat in the barn on his property until Mark learned about it in 2006.
Interior: Showing just over 83,000 miles on the odometer, this Charger had been driven bu
Engine: Having been rebuilt in 1988, the Charger's original 440 fired right up and the ch
Cleaned up: After spending a week cleaning the '69 Charger R/T it looks far better than w
Hearing that Mark was restoring a 1969 Charger himself, the owner of the black R/T told a friend of Mark's that he'd consider selling the car to someone who would give it a good home, and didn't want any "tire kickers" coming to look at the car. Arranging a meeting, Mark and his wife went to look at the Charger where it sat in the barn next to a '56 Chevy. Rolling the car outside, the owner installed an old looking battery and Mark was a little surprised when the 440 fired up on the second hit of the starter and idled nicely. Showing only 83,600 miles, the Charger is complete. It still has the original engine and transmission, though a set of headers and the Mallory distributor had replaced the original exhaust manifolds and distributor.
Optioned with a 3.55:1 ratio 8-3/4-inch differential, power disc brakes, X9 black paint, factory tachometer, and white interior, Mark and his wife simply installed a set of Torq-Thrust rims with slightly used tires, and gave the car a thorough cleaning, finding both mice skeletons and snakes in the process. Although planning a nut and bolt rotisserie restoration in the future, for now Mark and his wife are simply enjoying driving their barn-find to local shows and events, and say it still gets attention wherever they go. Once restored, the Charger will be his wife's car, completing a pair of his and hers '69 Charger R/Ts.