Popular YouTuber Resurrects 1969 Dodge Charger After 20 Years Of Decay - SUV VEHICLE

Popular YouTuber Resurrects 1969 Dodge Charger After 20 Years Of Decay


Key Takeaways

  • Westen Champlin acquires a 1969 Dodge Charger in barn find condition for $19,500, despite significant rust and deterioration.
  • The Charger has the potential to be worth considerably more after restoration, with values for the 1969 model higher than the 1970 model.
  • Starting the engine of the barn find Charger required a jump pack and starter spray, but it shows promise for future restoration.


YouTube automotive channel Westen Champlin is back with a new car, a late 60s muscle car. The 1969 Dodge Charger is about to become a new acquisition, but there are a few hurdles to overcome first. This classic car is in barn find condition, although it’s been calling a field home for the last 2 or 3 decades.

Having sat for so long isn’t good for any car, and the effects of climate and nature won’t have helped the Charger age well. We take a brief look at the Charger, see what kind of horrors are lurking inside, if it will start, and of course: how much Westen pays for it. We’ll also take a quick look at engine options for the ’69 Chargers, along with current values.

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Discovering A Barn-Find 1969 Dodge Charger Sitting In Field

Automotive entertainer Westen opens the episode by revealing that he has seen a ’69 Dodge Charger that he can’t let go of. It’s for sale about 2 hours away, and there are already other people on the way there to try to snap it up.

He loves the ’68-’69 Chargers, and it helps that this car is selling for around $15,000 under market value. The ’69 Charger can be a valuable car depending on its condition. That could be why it has been advertised online for less than a day, and others are also racing to see it.

The 1969 Dodge Charger Barn Find Is A ‘Field Find’

  • The car has been sitting for 2 to 3 decades and has not moved in that time
  • Is in original condition, but needs a major overhaul
  • No details are given about the engine or transmission

The owner is ready and waiting when Champlin and his team arrive with cameras to record the crucial moment. This muscle car last changed hands in 1993. It was purchased from its last owner who was from Washington, Kansas, and in about 1996 it sat still. It seems that it sat in this spot, where nature is currently trying to break down the classic car. Whether this field was its final resting place or not, it hasn’t driven for at least 2-3 decades.

Westen Makes A Deal With The Owner

  • The car changes hands for $19,500
  • The ’69 Dodge Charger is worth $40,000 in ‘good’ condition with the base V8
  • Westen has no idea if the car will run and what work the car will need

Champlin likes what he sees, despite the obvious deterioration. The owner is parting ways with the car due to a health issue to raise cash should he need it. The ensuing negotiation is brief and pleasant: Westen offers $19,000 to which the man counters $19,500 since he finds Champlin to be a nice guy.

It would be fortunate if the now ex-owner could check out the Charger once Westen has restored or modified it (if that’s what he intends to do). Hands shake, the car changes hands, and the Charger’s next chapter begins.

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Rough Condition, But The ’69 Charger Is A Great Project

The good part is that this ’69 Dodge Charger is complete, original, and selling under its market value. It even has the original air cleaner sitting morosely atop the unnamed eight-cylinder under the hood. The bad part is that the car has clearly and expectedly succumbed to the effects of time and weather erosion.

She’s rusty and the wheels, tires, and brakes won’t see this driving on the road under its own steam. Neither will the transmission which is ‘slipping’. Worse still, there’s no key, so starting will require some tinkering. That’s if it starts: there could be a seized V8 lurking in this muscle car. Fellow automotive YouTuber Dennis Collins recovered a similar condition Dodge Charger last year intending to also bring it back to its former glory.

1969 Dodge Charger Specifications

1969 Dodge Charger

Type

Muscle car

Generation

Second generation (1968-1970)

Engine range

3.7-liter, NA ‘Slant-Six’ I6 / 5.2-liter-6.3-liter, NA V8 / 7-liter, NA ‘Hemi’ V8

Power

145-425 hp

Drivetrain

Front engine, RWD

Average value

$40,400-$52,800 (average ‘good’ Hagerty value)

Bought for

$19,500 (barn-find condition)

Figures courtesy of Hagerty

1969 Dodge Charger Barn Find Project

  • Engine and trim level not specified, original air cleaner still on top of V8 engine
  • In deteriorated condition with rot, structurally unsound
  • Needs new parts to run and drive under its own steam, and also needs key
  • All original could be worth double the purchase price if restored

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Getting The Classic Car Running With Minimal Cost

Once the car gets hitched up onto the trailer, the video cuts to a point 2 months later in the future. Westen says it’s been too busy to work on the Charger, so today will be the day the classic car starts (or doesn’t). He reports that after checking the ’69 Charger out, the rust is worse than first thought. It’s spread through the structure to the point where the suspension no longer attaches to the body in one place. Westen proceeds with the mission to start the car’s engine.

The team got to work under the hood of the car, where unsurprisingly the battery had long ago given up its ability to supply current. A workaround is to use a jump pack. With a few other minor actions, all that’s needed is a generous quantity of starter spray before the V8 protests to life. It wasn’t seized up, but the engine could use a thorough service, including work on the double-barrel carb.

With that, the team started to wonder if the car could descend from the trailer under its own steam. Westen manages to get the car down, despite the wheels resembling squares and the car not wanting to roll; he does it comically, wearing a gas mask. Restarting the fire in a barn find-class classic car isn’t always so straightforward, so perhaps Westen got lucky. This 1970 Dodge Challenger T/A also puts up a fight before it gives in, and allows its pistons to begin pumping once more.

Westen Champlin’s Latest Acquisition: Work Needed

  • The carb indicates that this is either the 5.2-liter or 6.3-liter ‘base’ V8 with either 230 hp or 290 hp
  • Engine starts mainly with assistance from a jump pack, new spark plugs, and starter spray
  • An oil/filter change, engine flush, fuel system flush, new battery, and carburetor rebuild could be worthwhile tasks next
  • Needs work on the structure and other areas where rot has affected the car

The 1969 Dodge Charger Project Could Be Worth Big Money Once Complete

1969 Dodge Charger 440 R/T black
Via: Dodge

1969 Dodge Charger Values By Engine Range

225-ci ‘Slant Six’ I6

318-ci V8 2-Barrel

383-ci V8 2-Barrel

383-ci V8 4-Barrel

426-ci V8 ‘Hemi’

Power

145 hp

230 hp

290 hp

330 hp

425 hp

Average ‘good’ value (Hagerty)

N/A

$40,400

$46,600

$52,800

N/A

Figures courtesy of Hagerty

Values for the Dodge Challenger are reasonably strong, and the 1969 Dodge Charger is worth an average of $10,000 more than the 1970 model for the mid-range V8 models below. As well as being more sought-after than the ’70 model year, the ’69 Charger is also significantly more valuable than the ’70 Dodge Challenger.

Looking At The 1969 Dodge Charger’s Values

  • Only 500 buyers chose the Slant Six engine and 400 chose the flagship Hemi V8, making the Hemi valuable
  • $191,000 average auction value according to Classic.com, skewed by Dodge Charger Daytona and other valuable models
  • Second of the three first generations of Dodge Charger muscle car generations, with the third being the last of the muscle car until 2006’s sixth-gen model
  • 1969 was the same year as the iconic NASCAR-derived 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona

The holy grail ‘426’ Hemi V8 model is highly sought-after thanks to its rarity and powerful engine. Getting Westen’s Charger into working condition and then restored wouldn’t be easy or cheap, but it could be worth considerably more than the $19,500 paid for it in the video.

Sources: Westen Champlin, Hagerty, Classic.com



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