This bronze 1969 Dodge Charger might look familiar to a few of you, not that it in itself is famous. Rather, it’s sadly pretty infamous as it has been a project car for two magazines over the course of a dozen years: once introduced early in this author’s career while as Mopar Muscle Magazine, and later while at Street Legal TV. At Mopar Muscle, the Charger was christened “Brazen” for its T7 Copper paint, and while at SLTV, we named it “Killer Kong” with hopes of installing a Gen II Hemi between the shock towers. Sadly, that wasn’t meant to be, and opportunity’s knock took yours truly to greener pastures.
Throughout that time, this particular B-Body has been caged, subframed, media blasted, primered, stripped bare, painted, reassembled, plumbed, wired, aligned, had its brakes bled, and even driven under its own power (although it still lacks registration. We’ll get right on that). But it is with some aplomb that we rebrand our ever-going project “Brazen” once more, much more so for its boldness as a street machine than its hue.
Admittedly, this street machine is still in the infancy as a driver. We still need to chase little gremlins in the wiring, hunt down a few leaks and find the sources of a few unwanted rattles. Y’know, the usual project car stuff. As we make progress in bringing our Charger up to snuff, we will bring you along the way and dial up the WABAC machine and show you how our “bad penny” of a Dodge came to be, as well as maybe a few upgrades here and there (OK, who are we fooling. You can expect a lot of upgrades over the next year or two. Because a project car is never really finished, is it?).
Without revealing too much, our Charger is touting some serious street/strip weaponry that is sure to scratch your itch for performance. Although the new ’15 Hellcat SRT Charger might have us beat in a few categories like horsepower, MPG, top speed and luxury accoutrements, our big stroker Wedge is snorting out quite a bit more ft. lbs. of torque, front end-yanking acceleration, and we like to think we’ve got the new Charger beat on overall curbside sex appeal too, but that’s entirely subjective.
And as some background for you “numbers guys,” no, it’s not a real R/T, or even a truly dedicated clone – more a tribute really. This Dodge Charger started life as an Special Edition, equipped with everything but the R/T package; meaning a two-barrel 383, 727 3-speed automatic (with a floor-mounted shifter), A/C, power steering, power brakes, interior light package, bucket seats, map light, and three-speed wiper motor. Y’know, all the deluxe stuff that your dad would want. It might make some of your toes curl, but most of that stuff is gone (although, these Tennessee summers are making us reconsider the A/C thing).
But what are we trying to accomplish with Brazen? you might be asking. We’re looking at a two-part project: First, to document the trail that brought us to where we are today with a handful of tech articles showcasing all of the awesome go-fast modifications and tricks employed to make this a true street machines. Second, to faithfully pursue our goal of emulating the legendary Dick Landy’s own ’69 Charger, while maintaining a quasi-stock appearance (think 30-footer). And once we’ve clicked off a 10-second pass, we’ll segue into Phase II of Brazen’s future…
Above left: As a project car for SLTV, “Killer Kong” as it was labeled, received new Speedway Automotive disc brakes… Above right: …as well as QA1 adjustable shocks and a rock-solid Currie Dana 60 rearend.
Right now, you’ll find the first half of Brazen’s engine build in our Tech section. Taking over a year to build itself, we (Directly Connected’s Editor-in-Chief Kevin Shaw and Tech Editor, Mike Wilkins) built the torquiest pump-gas-powered, naturally-aspired, carbureted Wedge we could muster – and named it “The Wicked Wedge of The South.” Of course, part two of “The Wicket Wedge” will appear only a few weeks from now, including a whole bunch of insight from our resident engine guru Mike Petralia of Hardcore Horsepower, who dyno tuned our big stroker to its maximum output.
We think you’ll like reading about this true garage-built monster as much as we enjoyed building it. Between now and then, you’ll get an insight to our grenade-proof 727 TorqueFlite rebuild and a few other updates to come. So there it is. The Brazen Charger. She’s back. She’s running and she’s in one piece. We hope to keep it that way, but don’t be surprised if a new engine, a 5-speed manual or the call for taking her out on the autocross course beckons too loudly for us to ignore. Such is the life of a project car and we are not one to deny this Charger its opportunity!