Roger Gibson, a Mopar musclecar restorer from Scott City, Missouri, tipped us off to this find. One of his customers, Jim Bodanis, who lives in Toronto, Canada, found a '69 Hemi GTX that had been sitting in a garage since 1976.
Jim is no newbie to the hobby. He owns a collection of Mopar musclecars. His Roger Gibson concours-restored, '70 Six Pack 'Cuda even won Best Of Show at the 2003 Mopar Nats.
Jim sent us photos of his Rare Find in the garage where it had been stored for 29 years. Except for the engine being apart, the '69 looked ready to drive away. He also sent us a shot of the Dark Green Metallic hardtop after a simple cleaning. The paint looked great.
Jim got a lead on the car through a friend who first went to look at the car for another buyer. Apparently, the owner had seen the wild prices for Hemi cars at the Barrett-Jackson auction on television and was ready to sell. The first looker turned the car down. Jim says he figures he couldn't see beyond the dust and dirt, plus the engine was half-apart. Jim tells us, "I went to look at it, and it seemed pretty good. The owner said, 'well, you know what I'm asking?' I said, yes, I do, and I'll tell you what, I'll give you what you want, but on two conditions."
The first condition was finding the buildsheet. The second was getting the car out of the garage to inspect the trunk. Jim pulled a "brand-spanking-new" buildsheet from the back seat and found the trunk was rust-free.
Jim explained to us that this second owner had put the car in his mother's garage and just left it. That's right. He never drove the car. Here's the funny thing about the whole deal. The car was a mile away from where Jim grew up in Toronto. He used to drive his hot rods up and down that street, and the car was in that garage, and he never knew it.
The odometer reads 13,500 miles. Jim elaborated, "It's a '69 Hemi car with a four-speed, 4.10 Dana rear, covered in F8 Dark Green Metallic with a white interior. It has a rear window defogger and a rear speaker. Best of all, the body is rust-free. It has the original trunk mats, and original spare with a shipping label from Goodyear in Akron, Ohio, to the Chrysler Lynch Road assembly plant with a Chrysler purchase order number." The interior, Jim describes as "mint."
Under the hood, Jim spied the block, crank, and harmonic balancer. The transmission was gone. It did have the original exhaust, including mufflers, resonators, and H-pipe. All the parts are date-coded, right down to the hangers. Jim's first thought was the engine must have been blown up. He found the balance of the engine parts in the trunk.
He also found the warranty card with the original owner's name. He did a search on the Internet and found there was still a person with the same last name listed at the address. According to Jim, "I called the number, and this older lady answers. I tell her about a car I think used to be in her family. It was her son Stephen's car, which was built special for him." Jim got Stephen's number in Texas and called him.
Apparently, Stephen said he was going to hot-rod it years ago. He was going to put in 12.5:1 pistons, a bigger cam, and all that stuff. He got it taken apart, and then got too busy. At that time, Stephen was traveling across Canada with the Chrysler Performance Clinics and did some racing with the Canadian factory racers. He drove the '69 Hemi GTX for a year and a half. All the missing parts-heads, intake, carbs, distributor, exhaust manifolds, clutch, bellhousing, transmission, everything-were still in the trunk.
Basically, the car merely needs to be cleaned, and the drivetrain parts put back into place. Jim says he will not even have to paint the engine. All he has to do is clean off the grease. The engine shop says the 426 needs a light hone, new rings, bearings, and timing chain. He also has the original steel wheels with dog-dish hubcaps.