WAYNE PERKINS' 1969 CHARGER 500
To start with, I already had an SE Charger 500 which was bronze with a tan interior and white stripe, but it had no fender tag or broadcast sheet. The car needed a lot of work. I was not too fond of that color combination and there was no proof of its SE package. So I was looking for another Charger 500.
After going to a swap meet in St Louis with John Mahoney, we stopped by a friend's house. While talking, my quest for another Charger 500 came up. As it happened, Bill Gator and Scott Sieveking said they knew of one in the area that might be for sale. With the phone number and address, we went to look at the car. I cannot remember who I bought it from in Manchester, Missouri (west of St Louis), but Mike Clayton, who is a friend of Ohio member Mike Svec, thinks it was Robby Newton and that the car was originally from New York.
The 500 looked a little better than the one I had and was pretty much intact, but needed most of the rear half of the sheet metal replaced and the rear window plug needed work, from sitting outside. The car may have been repainted because the tail stripe was painted on, instead of being a decal. The car ran and was drivable, but I did not trust it to drive it home. So we worked out a deal and it came home on a trailer the next week in January 1987.
I was concerned about taking the vehicle through the DMV registration because it is one of the Charger 500s that has both the XX and XS VINs on it, so I took a magazine article with me for proof, but did not need it.
The car is white with a red interior and red stripe, power steering, power disc brakes, a 440 and console automatic, and a 4:10 Dana. I drove the car very little for about three years before parking it. I started taking it apart in 2007, with the intention of getting the engine bay stripped and painted, the drive train installed and then going to a body shop for major rust repair.
As it worked out, I took it to Ed's Body Shop (run by Ed Horner) in Adrian, Missouri on December 13, 2008. I brought it home finished on January 2, 2009. I had it repainted with 1968 Dodge Polar white (#8653) as I am not fond of the original Alpine white. I had the matching numbers drive train reassembled and stored at home and I replace the fuel system. In the photos below, you can see the extensive metal work that had to be done on the body, driver's side floor and the trunk floor had to be replaced. Ed had all of the rusty sheet metal cut out and new metal installed in one week's time.
Once Ed was done with the body and paint, I took the car home and spent the rest of the spring putting in a new heater core, and reinstalling the dash, carpets, seats, console and door panels. The red interior pieces were all either new or refurbished. Then the engine and transmission were installed. After I got the car running, there was a horrible noise coming from the front. I talked to several people and got several different opinions as to what it might be. The noise went away when the car was on jack stands, but I got a vibration through the seat. Therefore, it must be the torque converter. Finally I took a photo of the harmonic balancer, due to not being able to see it, and sure enough, it said "cast crank" on it. I had installed the correct torque converter for the car, but it was wrong for the motor. After that issue was resolved, I put new disc brakes on and my Kelsey Hayes recall wheels finished the car off.
The car was finally debuted at the Mopars in the Park in Farmington, Minnesota in June 2010. It has been to several shows and club events since then. The last picture in the group above is the pile of rusty sheet metal that was cut out of the Charger 500 at Ed's Body Shop.
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