Eleven years ago, Rory Boeddecker of Seymour, Missouri, purchased the starting point of this '69 Charger for his 16-year-old son. But Rory's Young Gun was short on ammo and, lacking the funds to fix it up to driver status, he left the car sitting under a tree for the next eight years. It was not until Rory left the United States that he latched onto the idea of rescuing the Charger from the ravages of time and the jaws of the crusher.
"I went to work over in Saudi Arabia for a year," Rory says. "[Mopar Muscle] helped me keep in touch with home and my dream of building this car."
When Rory returned home from his stint overseas, he immediately set to work on the Charger. But fulfilling his dream would be much more difficult and require more perseverance than he imagined. The Charger had been a parts car, so there were a lot of pieces missing, but what was still there was in good shape.
"Money was a problem," Rory says. "At that time, my yearly income was just over $20 thousand, and that included two layoffs." However, what Rory lacked in dinero, he more than made up for in desire. "I never quit," he says. "Stickabilty was behind me."
Rory chose Tim McDevitt of Willoughby Restorations in Ava, Missouri, to supervise the restoration process. But before Tim could begin, Rory had to acquire enough pieces to at least give him something to work with. "When I asked Tim what he recommended, he recommended I find another car," Rory says. "It barely cast a shadow. I don't think he really wanted to do it at first. But I put on every piece that was available for the rear: outer wheelhouse wells, trunk, extensions, quarter-panels, rear valance, rear framerails, and the taillight panel." What Rory couldn't scrounge from his three donor cars, he ordered. "I had to order a lot," he says. "The Paddock, Year One, Harden's, PST, Inline Fuel, TTI, Edelbrock, Mopar Performance, Legendary, Summit-they all supplied parts. The UPS driver came to my house so much, he developed a real interest in the car. He still comes by to look at it."
The Charger would then spend 20 months in Tim's shop, with Tim working on it a little at a time. "When I got the car back, it took me a month to start the reassembly because it was so beautiful I was afraid I was going to scratch it," Rory says. For the exterior, Rory chose FF1 Light Green Metallic from PPG. It's not the original color, but it was a factory-possible option. "Originally, it was a gold car," Rory says. "But after going to some car shows and looking at gold ones, there wasn't anything that stood out to me. The [light green] color matched the eyes of the girl I was dating [at the time]. When people would go by the shop, they cussed and said, 'why are you doing that?' But they couldn't see the vision I had."
Rory described his vision as "a beautiful driver with a little more punch than stock." To get to that punch, he would need to start from scratch. The Charger had no engine or transmission when he bought it. That was OK, though, because the original 318 would have been pulled anyway. Rory's brother, Ron, had a '73 440 that fit the bill, and a '78 727 tranny to go with it. Keeping in mind that streetability was his primary intent, Rory switched to an MP electronic ignition. The block was bored .030 over, and the stock heads were given a three-angle valve job. Edelbrock supplied a new Performer intake and 750 carburetor. The TTI exhaust culminates in 211/42-inch Dynomax mufflers, while the 15-inch American Racing Torq-Thrust II wheels are hooked up to disc brakes in the front and 11-inch drums in the rear.
On the inside, Rory painstakingly restored the interior. Not only did he apply new black vinyl to the seats (buckets in the front), he also sandblasted and powdercoated all the seats' innards. Legendary supplied the vinyl and the black carpet. The car didn't come with factory air, but Vintage Air supplied the kit to change that. Rory sent the dash cluster to Performance Car Graphics.
For Rory, the friendship developed with Tim during the restoration was as valuable as the product itself. "He wasn't my first choice because his shop was way out in the boonies, and I didn't know what I was getting into," Rory says. "I was the first customer he had done this kind of work for, but I couldn't have found a better guy. He goes to all the shows with me now and even preps the car."
The first time Rory took the Charger to a show was at the '02 Mopar Nationals. "My brother, Randy, and I went just to have fun and enjoy the car," Rory says. "We entered it in the Dodge Street class just to see what would happen. Never in our wildest dreams did we expect something as prestigious as the Paddock's Pick. [The Paddock] treated us like royalty. We were speechless."
Royalty or not, Rory doesn't treat his Charger with kid gloves; he drives it hard. The first time he raced it at the '02 Nats, he logged consistent 13.80s. Since then, he changed the gear ratio from 3.23:1 to 3.55:1. He also added a rear sway bar for cruising, which is how he enjoys the car best. "I've put about 3,000 miles on it since last July," Rory says. "I take it out as much as possible on nice days. People are tickled to see it, and they always have to tell me their used to have stories."
Rory doesn't have a used to have story. This Charger is his first Mopar; although his brothers have owned several. He's already working on his second. "Even though I didn't make a lot of money, I found a way to do my [restoration], and I didn't go hungry," Rory says. "I had a theme in mind for this project, and I maintained it through to the end."