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In the Garage: 1969 Dodge Charger R/T
THE CAR AND ITS OWNER
1969 Dodge Charger R/T owned by Jack McCloy
WHAT MAKES IT INTERESTING
With their “Coke-bottle” rear fenders and serious power, these second-generation Chargers built from 1968 to 1970 are among the most attractive and coveted of vintage American muscle cars. The 1969 version would gain fame as the rubber-burning ride of the Duke boys in the “Dukes of Hazzard” TV show.
“It is powerful and fast, yet big and roomy,” McCloy says of his Charger. “The R/T version came standard with the ‘440 Magnum’ engine, which produced 375 horsepower and, in stock form, could hold its own with virtually everything on the road at the time. The factory AM radio with eight-track player reminds us how different things were back in 1969, when FM radio was not popular enough for car manufacturers to feature it as a standard offering. Of those three production years, the 1969 version is usually listed as the highest-priced of the three. Some attribute this to the hundreds of 1969 Chargers destroyed during the production of the ‘Dukes of Hazzard.’”
HOW LONG HE’S OWNED IT
He bought it new.
WHERE HE FOUND IT
McCloy purchased the Dodge from a now-defunct Hicksville dealership. “Living on Long Island and planning to attend college in Queens,” he says, “I needed a car for transportation. I looked at almost every model from GM, Ford, Mopar (Chrysler) & AMC before deciding on this car. The quality, design and performance of the Charger R/T exceeded all of my expectations.”
“I have over 100,000 miles on the Charger,” he says. “It runs as good as ever and turns heads even more so than when new. I brought it to a body shop in Freeport to have it restored to like-new condition. I got it back right before Hurricane Sandy put the shop and all the cars in it under three feet of sea water. I was so lucky to have it back in my garage before the storm.”
TIPS FOR OWNERS
“When people ask me how to keep a car in great condition, I tell them, ‘Handle little issues before they become big ones and change the oil often. Very often,’” McCloy advises.
“I would never sell mine, but prices approaching six figures are being offered for original-owner ’69 R/Ts in similar condition,” he says.
THE BOTTOM LINE
“When I got the car,” McCloy says, “my father told me, ‘Don’t race it on the streets.’ I took his advice and brought it to the track to race. Racing in a controlled environment is one reason that I have been able to keep my car, while most friends who raced on the streets were soon parted with their rides.”