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Dodge Charger

The Iconic 440-powered 1969 Dodge Charger R/T remains a solid investment because it possesses an esteemed character that will never go out of style. In other words, it has got sex appeal and goes the distance with robust engine and throaty performance.

The 1969 Charger R/T has been an enthusiast favorite for five decades and counting due to an awe-inspiring 1968 redesign, plus grille and taillamp refinements the next model year, and its tire-torturing performance that was a consummate fit for the peaking muscle car era. Hollywood played its part in the late 1970s and beyond when The Dukes of Hazzard elevated the profile of the Charger via the dirt-slinging car chases and high-flying antics of The General Lee while unfortunately accelerating the Dodge's attrition rate at the same time.

The Charger was already Dodge's upmarket intermediate, but the $3,575 R/T model added I.D. callouts, a Bumble-Bee stripe, a 375-hp 440 Magnum engine (426 Hemi optional), a choice between the 727 Torque- Flite three-speed automatic or the A833 four-speed, heavy-duty (torsion bar front, leaf spring rear) suspension and drum brakes (front disc optional), and F70-14 tires on 14-inch wheels. Sure Grip and various 8¾ and 9¾ rear axle packages were also offered. The four-speed required the beefier differential.

Bucket seats were standard in all Chargers, as was one of the best instrument panel layouts of its day with easily read round gauges, yet the tachometer cost extra. Low-option models are out there, but you'll more likely see a wide selection of R/Ts fitted with some of the popular extra-cost items, such as power steering and brakes, radio, console, chromed road wheels, power windows, or A/C. The new sunroof was a rare sight. An optional SE Decor Group added leather upholstery (with vinyl trim) to the seats, woodgrain steering wheel and instrument panel trim, badging, and additional equipment.

Though plateauing for the last few years (likely pandemic related in 2020), values for the Charger R/T had typically increased through the decade. Currently, Hagerty lists #4 "fair" at $36,400, #3 "good" at $49,500, #2 "excellent" at $71,800, and #1 "concours" at $92,600, and adds 20 percent to these figures for four-speed and 15 percent for the SE option. NADA numbers are less optimistic with a $15,500 low, $35,400 average, and $61,600 high values, and it adds 10 percent for the four-speed.

A 1969 Charger R/T is quick for its era, handles well, and possesses an admired appeal that will never go out of style. Though you may not have the only example at your local cruise-in or show due to its popularity, it will still attract adoring fans.

In the late 80s my father-in-law lent me his 70s Dodge Magnum 5.9 V8 16V two door three-speed automatic transmission car to go to the gym and workout. On leaving it broke down. Of course, he cursed me in Portuguese, but at the time my language skills were rather clumsy, so fortunately I couldn’t understand what he was saying!

Have a great day!

Prof. Carl Boniface

Vocabulary builder:

Esteemed (adj) = respected, valued, honored, revered, admired, well-regarded, (ant) scorned

Throaty (adj) = husky, hoarse. Croaky, deep, thick, harsh

Awe-inspiring (adj) = overwhelming, breathtaking, splendid, tremendous, remarkable, amazing, fearsome, astounding

Grille (n) = grid, framework, trellis, fencing, grill

Tire-torturing (n) = tire (US) tyre (UK)

Consummate (adj) = perfect, excellent, ideal, flawless, supreme, complete

Dirt-slinging (n) = throwing dirt all over the place. If you accuse someone of mud-slinging, you are accusing them of making insulting, unfair, and damaging remarks about their opponents.

Attrition (n) = abrasion, erosion, slow destruction, wear and tear, eating away

Torsion bar (n) = a bar forming part of a vehicle suspension, twisting in response to the motion of the wheels and absorbing their vertical movement. One of the most well-known applications of torsion bars is in vehicle suspensions where they absorb shock to provide a smooth, comfortable ride. Many vehicles use them as the primary weight-bearing spring, connecting the body of the vehicle with the wheel axle.

Sure Grip (n) = the Sure-Grip is a differential that allows the driving wheel with the better traction condition to develop more driving torque than the other wheel. The differential is a system that allows the drive wheels to turn at different speeds, which is required when the car is negotiating a turn. In a turn, the outside wheel must travel farther, which means it must travel faster than the inside wheels.

Beefier (adj) = sturdier, bigger, muscular, well built, powerfully built

Trim (adj) = slim, fit, slender, in shape, (ant) bulky

Plateauing (v) from the verb plateau which means to reach a state of little or no change after a time of activity or progress. "The industry's problems have plateaued out."

Cursed (v) = swore (past of swear), cussed

Clumsy (adj) = awkward, inept, ungainly, inelegant, maladroit, blundering

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