1969 DODGE CHARGER STYLING
The ’69 Charger was largely carried over from 1968. The basic body shell was left pretty much unchanged with minor changes and upgrades like the replacement of the tiny round side market lights with rectangular ones. The big changes were in the front and rear facias. Up front, a new grille was split down the middle by a chromed vertical vain which is just what it needed, as some thought the ’68 grille was just too big. In back, new horizontal taillights replaced the 4 round ones of the ’68. Overall, it was a very successful look. In my personal view, the ’69 is the best-looking year for the Dodge Charger, bar none.
1969 DODGE CHARGER OPTION PACKAGES
The R/T was back as the performance package. A new high-end trim option was added called SE or Special Edition. It was possible to order a 1969 Dodge Charger or a Charger SE, or a Charger R/T, or a Charger R/T-SE. The SE package added leather inserts to the front seats (only), chrome rocker moldings, a woodgrain steering wheel and instrument panel. 1969 was also the first year you could order a sunroof in a Charger, but only 260 were ordered this way.
1969 Dodge Charger ENGINES
1969 DODGE CHARGER ENGINES
The base engine for the ’69 Charger was a 2-barrel version of the 383 big block that produced 290hp. Next up was the optional 4-barrel 383 rated at 330hp and was unique to the ’69 Charger. The air cleaner cover identified these engines as “383 / FOUR BARREL”. These 330hp engines could be ordered with an optional un-silenced (read that: low-restriction) air cleaner. They were similar to the 335hp 383 Magnum, which wasn’t used in the Charger until 1971. The 330hp 383 and the 335hp 383 Magnum shared almost everything, but had different cams and valve gear, and the Magnum had a windage tray in the oil pan. But they both used the larger 440 exhaust manifolds as well as big Carter AVS 4-barrel carburetors. All of these engines were painted Mopar Turquoise. But the top two engines the 375hp 440 Magnum and the 425hp 426 Hemi were both painted Hemi Orange.
ABOVE: 383 FOUR BARREL V8. Incorrectly painted Hemi Orange. It should be turquoise.
BELOW: 440 MAGNUM V8. The 383 & 440 were both Big Blocks, but the 440 had bigger bores, and a taller deck height to accommodate the longer stroke of the 440. These were torque-monsters, and were probably under-rated at 390 horsepower.
1969 Dodge Daytona
DODGE CHARGER DAYTONA
Dodge wanted to win at NASCAR, in the days when Stock Cars were really stock cars. In other words, the cars you saw winning on Sunday were based on the ones you could go down to the dealer and buy on Monday. Winning races has always been good for business. While Dodge had plenty of power to work with in its awesome 426 Hemi, the aerodynamics of the big Charger body were killing them on the track. So they went to the wind tunnels of Lockheed-Martin and began working on the shape. The big gaping front grille was creating drag, and the tunneled backlight was causing lift. After exhausting testing, a solution was found in an 18-inch bullet-shaped extension to the nose, and a 23-inch tall rear wing. It was actually determined that a shorter wing would have worked better aerodynamically. But it interfered with the opening of the trunk lid, and these were after all supposed to be real production cars. 500 had to be built and sold to the public to qualify the car for NASCAR, and twice that number were snapped up almost instantly when the Daytona was released on April 13, 1969, despite its lofty-for-the-times $3,993 base price. On a 205mph test run the new nose produced 1,200 pounds of downforce and the rear wing another 600, so much so that it had to be tied into not only the rear quarter panels but the rear subframe itself. The reverse air scoops on the front fenders helped reduce drag by another 3%. They came standard with the 440 Magnum, or an optional 426 Hemi. 503 ’69 Charger Daytonas were built, but only 70 had a Hemi.
ABOVE: The same person owns both of these awesome “Wing Cars”, the red ’69 D0dge Daytona, and the SubLime ’70 Plymouth Superbird.