The Dodge Charger 500 is the famous car that never saw the spotlight. Built by Chrysler during the infamous Aero Wars against Ford that raged between 1969 and 1970, the car was designed by rocket scientists to be as aerodynamic as possible. It was designed this way ostensibly to dominate NASCAR and beat Ford. However, soon after design and manufacture, Chrysler lost interest in the car and no others were manufactured.
That effectively turned the Charger 500 into a collectible. Considering one well-maintained one was sold at auction for $181,500 in 2014, it is safe to assume that the same car would go for a bit more than that currently. If you plan on sourcing one and restoring it, here are some tips you will need to follow to get the car to auction-level quality.
Choose Your Car
While you may have already picked the Charger 500 , car restoration requires you to be a bit more selective than this. Some of the factors you will need to consider are the amount of structural and mechanical work the car will need. Structural (body) work is often a major challenge due to the specialized equipment needed to recreate the curves and lines of the original car.
Mechanical work will also require lots of experience in the area, so the outcome of the restoration runs smoothly. While choosing a car, you will also need to look at the cost of the car and the possible cost of restoration. If the car is well-kept, it will need less work but may fetch a higher buy price. Conversely, a poorly-kept one may be cheap but it will need expensive repairs and restoration.
Find the Parts
Typically, you would need to ask around for parts before purchasing the car. With the Charger 500, you will need to buy it first then look for parts later. When looking for parts, visit your local Junk Car Systems and salvages. Try visiting online forums for car enthusiasts and restoration buffs. These are the best places to start looking for parts.
Also try places like eBay although these will tend to be expensive, compared to forum sellers. One thing you can try out before buying the car is the availability of replacement parts. If you establish parts are very difficult to come by, try and find the car in a state that does not need too much work.
Car restoration work is not easy. They may make it look easy on Pimp My Ride, but such shows leave out the real work. Car restorations need exceptional skills, complex equipment, determination, hours of labor, focus and in many cases, a team of mechanics.
If you are planning on doing a solo restoration, make sure you have the skills to do the bulk of the restoration work. You will also need a garage or space to work from as well as some basic equipment. If the car needs body work, you may need to look for a local body shop that can help you out.
While the Charger 500 is truly a collector’s item, the fact that less than 500 were manufactured may make it a challenge to find replacement parts, especially from salvages of similar cars. However, breaking through these barriers can hand you a unique and iconic vehicle that can either fetch a competitive price at auction or beautifully adorn your garage for years to come.