As a muscle car enthusiast, it’s always trilling when somebody tells you where a cool or rare car is sitting and rotting away. Hearing a lead like that can send shivers of excitement through your body and really gets your heart racing.
Growing up as a kid with my 1969 Charger project, I was obsessed with everything to do with a Charger. I would spend hours upon hours on the Charger forums, reading various posts and checking out pictures. One evening about 15 years ago, I read a post mentioning a 1969 Charger sitting in a yard in the Interior region of my home province of British Columbia, Canada. While this got me excited, two words made my heart skip a beat: factory sunroof.
Overall, the post mentioning the car was pretty vague though and didn’t share where the car was so it really wasn’t much of a lead to follow. Over the years, I would occasionally wonder if the car actually existed and where it could be but never heard much else about it.
Fast forwarding to June 2017, I received a group of pictures out of the blue from a good friend who lives in the Interior of BC. The pictures were taken of a red 1969 Charger sitting in a back yard close to his home. Upon zooming in on the pictures, I quickly realized the car had a factory power sunroof! It was at this time that I figured out that it was a good chance this was the car I had heard about years earlier. It existed!
Looking at the pictures, the car appeared to be in pretty good shape still, despite sitting in a grassy backyard. Thankfully, it’s normally a very dry climate in the region the car was in so that helped keep it from turning into a total rot box. Based on the pictures, the car looked to be originally dark red with a white vinyl top and red interior.
My friend explained that the Charger was sitting in the owner’s son’s backyard and that he had known about the car since he was a kid. He had checked it out a few times over the years but was never able to pull the tarp off or take pictures until now. For years, the Charger had sat in the backyard with a 1968 Plymouth GTX convertible.
He told me, “The mom owned the Charger and the dad owned the ’68 GTX. They told me that they had actually driven the GTX into the local lake one day and ended up leaving it in the lake for around two years until they finally decided to recover it. They brought it home, cleaned it up and eventually sold it a while back. It was very rusty though.”
“The Charger was the mom’s baby. I met her a few times when I was younger and she told me she bought it at a police auction in 1976 for really cheap and then drove it for a number of years before parking it in her son’s backyard. She even got her learner’s license in the car. Everything was original and numbers matching. It was sold new in Penticton, British Columbia and stayed in the area basically all of its life” he said.
He continued to explain, “The dad did a bit of a hack job restoration on it back in the day so the car was full of bondo and needed a full restoration. My friend tried to buy it but the son was convinced the Charger was the only sunroof car left in the world and was worth $100,000 as it sat. He was a bit of a shady character and was insanely difficult to deal with so we left it at that for the time being.”
The next question I asked my friend was, “where is it?” as I really wanted to go check it out. He told me the town it was in but told me that unfortunately he couldn’t tell me where exactly it was at that time as he had promised his other friend that was there with him looking at it that he wouldn’t share its location until his friend decided if he wanted to buy it again or not.
I was a bit bummed out but understood. Overall, I was just excited to check out the pictures and know that it actually existed! Over the next few years, I would occasionally think about the car but never bugged my friend about it.
In December 2019, I was surfing my local Craigslist one morning when I saw a red 1969 Charger sunroof car online for sale in the low $30,000 range. As soon as I saw the ad, I realized it was the sunroof car my friend found! According to the seller who was a family friend, the mother that owned it passed away and left it to her daughter in her will rather than her son who had the car stored at his house. The son lost it and was threatening to destroy the car.
The family friend quickly loaded the car up and put it up for sale for the daughter before the son did anything to it. I wasn’t in the position to purchase the car as I already had two Chargers so I sent the link to a few good Mopar friends that I thought might be interested. One of them called me right away and asked what I knew about it. I explained the history that I knew about it. He decided to give the family friend a call and bought the car right away.
Decoding the fender tag, we learned the car was built on June 9th, 1969 at the Dodge Main plant in Hamtramck, Michigan. It left the assembly line painted R6 Red with a matching red interior and a white vinyl top. Under the hood was a G-code 383 two barrel backed by a 727 Torqueflite automatic. The options included the power sunroof, power windows, Charger Radio group, center console, tinted glass and hood mounted turn signals.
Once my friend got the Charger home, he was almost instantly approached by a local family of wheeler dealers that he knew that wanted it. In trade for the Charger, they offered up a B5 Blue 1970 Plymouth Road Runner with a 383 that was a really nice quality driver.
My friend decided to accept the trade and the Charger went off to its new home. From there, the family sent it off to get the rear quarters, trunk floor, trunk extensions and rear valance corners replaced with new metal.
Once the metal work was completed, the family got the Charger running and driving. However, always looking to wheel and deal, they decided to call my friend they got it off of and eventually worked out a trade for a black nice driver quality 1970 Dodge Challenger my friend owned. Having too many cars, my friend decided to put the Charger up for sale where I’m told a fellow who has always wanted a 1969 Charger purchased it and is now continuing the restoration on it. Once he finishes the restoration, he intends on keeping the car long term and enjoying it!