With our focus dedicated to the classic musclecars of the ’60s and ’70s, we don’t get an opportunity to road test and review modern vehicles for Timeless Muscle. So we leave it to our forbears who had the opportunity to thrash these things when they were brand new and provide feedback. Besides, many of these vehicles, particularly this ’69 HEMI Charger 500, are far too valuable to put into a wall these days.
What’s rather unusual about the example in this footage, a classic reel from Bud Lindemann’s “Car and Track,” is the car’s hue. What looks to be Panther Pink wasn’t actually available on the Charger until 1970, making this press car unusual in and of itself. Toss in the fact that it’s a HEMI-powered 500 – built for NASCAR homologation – and we’re fairly convinced that this was a one-of-one or maybe a one-of-two example.
That didn’t stop the crew at Car and Track from putting the insanely collectible Mopar through its paces; on a road course, through a slalom and on 0-30, 0-45 and 0-60 mph blasts. The car was shifted via its 727 TorqueFlite gearbox and the throttle was mashed until the tires finally hooked; resulting in a then mind-blowingly blast to 60 mph in 6.9 seconds.
Smoke poured from the Goodyear bias-ply tires on launch, while the road tester managed to smoke the brakes – 11-inch front disc, with drums in the rear – after several braking tests. Lindemann actually praised the handling for being well planted and sophisticated (for the era), but we would like to think an American auto manufacturer would hesitate to put such a car on the market today, judging by how this car would perform an amongst its contemporaries. But ask us if we care, because that dual-4bbl. carbureted 426 HEMI is a legend in its own right, and we wouldn’t change anything out it! Seven miles-per gallon, or not!
Rick Seitz is the owner and founder of Timeless Muscle Magazine, and has a true love and passion for all vehicles. When he isn’t tuning, testing, or competing with the brand’s current crop of project vehicles, he’s busy tinkering and planning the next modifications for his own cars.