autoevolution
Car video reviews:
 

Rare 1969 Dodge Charger 500 Looks Like a Barn Find, It's an Unrestored Gem

When it comes to late 1960s Dodge Chargers, it's the Daytona that takes all the glory as the rarest and fastest iteration ever built. But the Charger 500 is just as cool. And based on production numbers alone, it's an even rarer muscle car.
1969 Dodge Charger 500 7 photos
1969 Dodge Charger 500 survivor1969 Dodge Charger 500 survivor1969 Dodge Charger 500 survivor1969 Dodge Charger 500 survivor1969 Dodge Charger 500 survivor1969 Dodge Charger 500 survivor
The limited-edition muscle car was born in 1968 after the Charger R/T failed to beat the Ford Torino Talladega and the Mercury Cyclone Spoiler II on NASCAR's high-bank oval tracks. When wind tunnel testing revealed that the recessed rear window caused lift and the tunneled front fascia increased drag, Dodge designed the Charger 500.

Essentially an R/T with a flush rear window and front fascia, the Charger 500 showcased improved aerodynamics, but it wasn't good enough to stop Ford's David Pearson from his way toward a third consecutive NASCAR titled. As a result, Dodge took things up a notch and created the winged Charger Daytona.

Much like the latter, the Charger 500 was offered with both the 440-cubic-inch (7.2-liter) and the 426-cubic-inch (7.0-liter) Hemi V8s. But while the Daytona left the factory in 503 units, Dodge built only 392 Charger 500s.

The bronze example is one of those cars. And even though it looks like it just came out of a barn, it's actually an unrestored gem that enjoys a lot of time on the road. And yes, the faded paint job is 53 years old, because this muscle car hasn't been repainted since it left the factory.

Is it one of only 67 cars fitted with the mighty 426 Hemi? No, but I wouldn't say it makes it less spectacular. One of 325 Charger 500s with the 440 V8, it's still one of the rarest muscle cars out there. Things become a bit wild if we take the four-speed manual gearbox into account. Because most sources claim that fewer than 150 were built in this configuration.

Figures vary greatly though. While some claim only 39 were made, others speak of 119 examples. Regardless, the Charger 500 is hard to find and own nowadays. Especially when we're talking about unrestored cars in running condition. And not surprisingly, when these Chargers pop up at public auctions, they usually fetch more than $100,000.

Back in 2017, a car finished in the same bronze hue but fitted with a 426 Hemi went under the hammer for $148,500. In 2021, an example with the 440 V8 and the four-speed automatic changed hands for $159,000. Not as pricy as the winged Daytonas, but still a lot of dough for a 1969 Charger.

While the Charger 500 in the video below is far from pristine, it's a fantastic survivor that sports an interesting color combo. While the exterior is finished in bronze, the interior brings together white door panels and seats with a back dashboard and center console. And if you think owning a rare Charger 500 in working condition is cool, this guy has two of them. Hit the play button below to find out more.

Video thumbnail


 
 
 
 
 

Would you like AUTOEVOLUTION to send you notifications?

You will only receive our top stories