Gallery: Celebrating 1969 At The 2019 Chrysler Nationals In Carlisle Pennsylvania


Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Mopars from 1969, this years 2019 Carlisle Chrysler Nationals show was a “Summer of ’69 Celebration.” Bryan Adams’ “Summer of ‘69” said it best: “That summer seemed to last forever…those were the best days of my life.” While the show ended way too soon, we enjoyed some of the heaviest hitters of yesteryear, which included the ‘69 ½ A12 440 Six Pack Super Bees and the 440 6BBL Road Runners, the ’69 M-code 440 Barracudas and Darts, and the ’69 Dodge Daytonas.

Besides the 50th anniversary cars, a record car count filled the show field. The vehicles ranged from the pre-forward look rides to the newest Hellcats. The swap meet area stretched for acres, and hundreds of Mopar vehicles in all stages of repair waited for a new owner. We even ran into some of our favorite sponsors too. 

Throughout the show at least three dozen of the lift-off hood cars were on showcase. Most were restored to better than stock condition, but designating a few as a “daily driver” or a “barn find” status would be appropriate. What made the A12 cars so special? The fifth digit in the VIN. If it is an “M,” it is a mid-year addition to the Dodge and Plymouth lines that was optioned with a 440 engine and 3×2 barrel Holley carburetors. 

The cars arrived sans wheel covers, but rather decorative chromed lug nuts fastening the 15×6-inch “H” stamped steel black wheels wrapped with G-70 15-inch tires to the lugs. Four-wheel servo drum brakes hustled down the A12s with 11-inch units on the front doing plenty of the work. Four hood pins secured the flat black hood, and the functional hood scoop had a red “Six Pack” (Dodge) or “440 6BBL” (Plymouth) call out decal affixed to each side. The hood scoop was sealed to a large air cleaner housing and tray. The cars came equipped with a Dana 60 rear end stuffed with 4.10 gears. Production numbers for the A12 Road Runner were 1,432, while 1,907 A12 Super Bees were assembled.

Vendors from all over states attend Chrysler Nationals each year to present the newest of products, talk with their customers and answer any questions. New vendors pop up each year to help support our car addictions. Many veteran Mopar companies also attend showing off new products, builds and to give support to their customers. Silver Sport Transmissions were available all three days to talk about over drive transmissions options. They also brought the newest addition to the SST lineup, the 4wd Tremec TR-4050. They had a slew of parts and knowledgeable technicians on site for questions.

The guys at Reilly Motorsports claimed their territory with the biggest tent on site. Bill got his start at Chrysler Nationals many years ago and has not missed a show yet. As always the booth was full of some killer builds utilizing the Alter-K-tion front suspension. Some also had Bill’s rear Street-Lynx suspension as well. We chatted with Bill and his team about some current trends. Bill told us that Gen III Hemi is number one right now, Dennis from Rooster’s Rod Shop also agreed.

When it came to the M-code Darts, Mr. Norm gets the nod for pushing these into production. He and his Grand-Spaulding Dodge mechanics fitted a 440 into a 1968 A-body, and the Chrysler brass, impressed with the package, offered the 440-powered Dart GTS for 1969. To facilitate the construction of these special cars, Hurst was shipped E63-code 383 A-bodies from the Hamtramck assembly plant that they converted to 440 models.

The changeover required the use of engine/car specific engine mounts and the reworking of the factory sheet metal to shoehorn the 440 into the engine bay. Not to be left out of the fun, Plymouth packed a Super Commando 440 into the engine bay of the 1969 Barracuda. Of all the Darts and Barracudas produced in 1969, approximately 640 Darts and 360 Barracudas were M-code cars.

As the NASCAR aero wars escalated moving toward 1970, Dodge introduced the Charger Daytona. This winged vehicle was designed to dominate the larger NASCAR tracks, and it won the first race in which it was entered – the inaugural Talladega 500 in 1969. The Daytona won an additional race in 1969 and four in 1970. Buddy Baker, driving the no. 88 Chrysler Engineering Daytona, was the first driver in NASCAR history to eclipse the 200-mph barrier. The event occurred at Talladega on March 24, 1970. With the NASCAR aero wars out of control, NASCAR mandated several new rules in 1971, which effectively ended the aero era cars from being competitive. Five hundred and three street-version Daytonas were produced in 1969. 

Vendors from all over states attend Chrysler Nationals each year to present the newest of products, talk with their customers and answer any questions. New vendors pop up each year to help support our car addictions. Many veteran Mopar companies also attend showing off new products, builds and to give support to their customers. Silver Sport Transmissions were available all three days to talk about over drive transmissions options. They also brought the newest addition to the SST lineup, the 4wd Tremec TR-4050. They had a slew of parts and knowledgable technicians on site for questions.

The guys at Reilly Motorsports claimed their territory with the biggest tent on site. Bill got his start at Chrysler Nationals many years ago and has not missed a show yet. As always the booth was full of some killer builds utilizing the Alter-K-tion front suspension. Some also had Bill’s rear Street-Lynx suspension as well. We chatted with Bill and his team about some current trends. Bill told us that Gen III Hemi is number one right now, Dennis from Rooster’s Rod Shop also agreed.

Parked on top of the hill in the swap meet, Coker Tire had their giant inflated tire tent set up. They were swarmed with customers every time we stopped to say hi. It looked like the Firestone Redline Radials were a very popular choice of tire this year. Coker has told us in the past that they set up in the middle of the swap meet because they come to sell tires. Although they have some products on display, they come to help customers figure out what size and type of tires they need. They also load up a lot of tires to bring with them to help customers save on shipping.

In addition to the featured vehicles of this year’s show, thousands of cars from the US and Canada filled the show fields. Every conceivable Mopar and AMC model ever produced was present at the show. Some were survivors, others were over the top restorations, and most fell somewhere between the two. Engine types ran the gamut as well. There were flathead Chryslers, slant six engines, small blocks, big blocks, and Gen I, II, and III Hemis in all different configurations.

As has been the trend, the Gen III Hemi contingent of Challengers and Chargers (as well as Ram trucks) continued to grow. Lastly, the swap area was packed again this year with great buys or what amounts to junk (depending on your viewpoint). If you could not make this year’s show, make plans to attend the 2020 show, which will transport you back to the Mopar muscle car year of 1970. 

006 - Darrin and Jenny Stanke 001 002 - Brian Lynch 003 - Richard Uroda 004 - Chris Spartichino 005 007 - Ryan Moyer 008 - Bob Johnson Sr. 009 - John Kuster Jr. 010 011 - Jason King 012 - Brian Jennings 1966 Coronet Hemi 013 - Bill and Barb Watkins 014 015 - Greg McDonald 016 - Mark O'Malia Plymouth Savoy 017 - Daniel Morton 018 019 020 021 - Keith Richner 022 - Jack Fleury 023 - Donald Stevens & Bill Garrison 024- Rich Gengo 1971 340 Cuda 025 026 027 028 029 - Kyle Kohr 030 031 - Robert Sherwin 032 033 034 035 036 SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC
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Chris Holley

Chris Holley

Technical Contributor Chris has been a college professor for 20 years; the last 15 spent at Pennsylvania College of Technology in Williamsport, PA. During the day Chris instructs HVAC and electrical/electronic classes, and high-performance classes, which includes the usage of a chassis dyno, flow benches, and various machining equipment at night. Chris owns a '75 Dart, a '06 Charger, a '12 Cummins turbo diesel Ram, and he is a multi-time track champion (drag racing) with his '69 340 Dart, which he has owned almost 30 years.

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