This is Part 6 of the story on our new 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona Project Car. In this Part we will describe what we found during our first inspection back at our garage. (Start with Part 1)
As with any project car the first inspection is crucial to creating an accurate build budget and game plan. Although there are always new found problems and challenges as the project unfolds the first observations are critical to understanding the car’s overall condition and needs. It is at this time that the ultimate goal is also defined. Will this be a 100 point show car, a high quality driver or simply a “let’s get it on the road and have some fun” car?
Here is what we found in the inspection/discovery phase. In Part 7 we will outline our goals for Project Nuremberg Daytona.
- Our Project Nuremberg Daytona is remarkably sound. We were shocked that we discovered only very minor rust in the lower extremities of the car. There were a couple of very small area needing repair in the lower fenders, floor boards or trunk areas were rust free. We also found a couple of small pin holes in the tops of the font fenders. After a high pressure wash of the underside and a thorough review of the Build Sheet we discovered the reason why there was so little rust; the car was completely undercoated at the factory. This is highly unusual but certainly prolonged this Daytona’s life.
- The body not only appeared rust free when we started but also showed only slight body damage to one quarter panel and slightly more damage to the rear tail light panel. Both can easily be pulled out and repaired with minimal effort. However, the nose cone had received extensive and repeated damage over the years. The headlight doors were unusable and much of the nose cone will require major work. In communications with Helmut Aulgur, the third owner in Germany, I was told the nose cone was damaged when the original owner hit an Oak Tree! The rear damage came from when he was sitting at a red light in Germany and a driver rear-ended him. The driver explained he was so taken by the strange American car he forgot to brake! The Daytona received minor damage but the German car sustained substantial front end damage.
- The original 44o engine and 4-speed transmission were missing.
- We initially believed that the rear differential was the original Dana 60 as listed on the build sheet but after getting the car onto the lift and looking more closely it was clear that the factory rear end had been replaced with an 8 3/4 rear end. This too will need to be replaced.
- On our initial inspection of the car we believed that most of the interior could be used with a clean up and a spray dye of the vinyl but upon closer inspection we decided that every piece will be replaced.
- The dash cluster panels showed considerable wear and will be replaced or restored. The radio and all the gauges and switches will need to be restored. The original dash pad will be cleaned and dyed.
- The original wheels were missing.
- There were no rear bumper or bumper brackets with the car.
- The entire suspension, brake lines, master cylinder, fuel lines and gas tank will need to be replaced.
- When we first looked at the car we were a little confused over the hood pins on the Daytona; they were not pins, simply bolts as you can see in the photo above. Again, Helmut explained that when he purchased the car the factory hood pins had been replaced with aftermarket flush locking pins with a small pin holding the hood down to cheap aftermarket style hood pin. The first time he drove the Daytona at full speed on the autobahn, the small pins bent and slipped out of the retaining brackets. At approximately 140 MPH the hood popped up held only by the release hook! The hood was bending in the wind and he hit the brakes hard to slow down quickly. He added that “it scared the hell out of him”. He immediately threw those pins out (I found them in a can in the trunk when I was doing the first inspection.) and installed the two large bolts with nuts and large flat-washers to hold the hood tightly shut. A strong is not unsightly solution to say the least. We will be going back to the original style factory hood pins.