FEATURE: 1969 Dodge Daytona Charger & ‘OE Gold’ Level Collection

This 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona It wouldn’t surprise you to learn that John Borzych’s 1969 Dodge Daytona Charger spent time locked up in an impound lot before the Northwest Indiana resident found the classic. With it’s near 200mph top speed it’s more than plausible that some wild lead foot owner decided to have a go at it and unleash all 440 cubic inches of Detroit muscle, only to see flashing red and blues in the rearview mirror.


John and Linda Borzych

While that scenario would be an exciting tale, that wasn’t quite the case with Borzych’s ride. His winged racer had been the victim of a foreclosed specialty car dealership and had been repossessed, eventually winding up forlorn in a junkyard in 1973. While it sat rotting away, John motored about in another period aero car – a Plymouth Superbird. “I didn’t even know they made a Dodge version when I went to a gathering of wing cars in Milwaukee, WI in 1978. A bunch showed up and I fell in love. That’s when I started my quest to find one for myself,’ said Borzych. Several years later a friend called and informed him of the dejected Dodge. “I went to go look at the Daytona in 1982. The car wasn’t driveable and many parts were gone. Someone had tried to pry open the trunk and the wing had been taken. I purchased it that day, April 17th, and began gathering all the rare parts I would need to get it back on the road.”

A slow overhaul began but it wasn’t until 2007 when the project really took off.  Borzych took his Dodge down to Troy Angelly Restorations, in Eldorado Illinois. “Initially, I just wanted it to be nice but they convinced me that it was so original with so many unique factory features that I should go to the OE level.” The vehicle was taken completely apart and rebuilt to pristine condition, reinstalling many original 40-year old parts. “We put the original brake shoes, air cleaner and Goodyear tires back on and duplicated all the factory inspection marks.” Underhood, the 440ci, 375-horsepower, V8 was rebuilt. Getting those ponies to the road is an automatic transmission, with the rare column mounted shifter.

The restoration was completed in 2009 and since then, the car has received many accolades, most notable OE Gold at the Mopar Nationals – one of the most recognized awards in the Dodge/Plymouth hobby. “It’s been such a joy to see the project all the way through and at the end of it, be able to get that certification. I’m a lucky guy. There are so many people who have that goal but life gets in the way and they never get there.”

Over the years, Borzych has been able to glean more data about the history of his vehicle by staying active in the clubs and talking to other enthusiasts. Through hard work, he’s learned that his Daytona was ordered at Zeck Motor Company, in Leavenworth, KA. The dealership is still in business but is now selling Fords. His car was the 110th vehicle produced of the 500-count run and was built on June 9th, 1969. The dealer’s son was the one who ordered the Dodge and drove it for the first 1,000 miles (the odometer currently reads 24,000). “I was able to meet with the gentleman who told me he ordered the ‘buddy’ seat between the front chairs so that his girlfriend could sit next to him. He also went with hubcabs as he had plans to put mag wheels on after he took delivery. The white line tires were to match the white wing.”

While Borzych relishes the rich historical significance of his rolling icon, he also enjoys the simple nostalgia of days gone by the B5 Blue cruiser brings. “Driving it takes me back to high school when gas was 35 cents a gallon and at McDonald’s you get a hamburger, Coke and fries for a dollar.”





Because of its unique nose cone addition, the Daytona came equipped with a secondary, special jack used to raise the vehicle. John has both in the trunk.

 DSC_6665_72DSC_6664_72Parked next to John’s Daytona was another 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona. This red cruiser is owned by Gene and Beth Lewis, from Washington, Missouri. These two winged cars were assembled together and rolled off the factory line together. John’s car has serial number 412542 while the Lewis’s is 412543. Four decades have separated them but they’ve since been reunited once again.

Gene has a detailed account of his vehicle’s past history. The red classic was delivered to St. Joseph Dodge in St. Joseph, Missouri in very late August or early September of 1969. It was one of 139 Daytonas produced with a 440ci V8 engine and a four-speed transmission. Extra-cost options ordered on the car were the Track Pak (3.54 Dana60 axle), console, tintend Windshield, AM radio and chrome “Road” wheels. The total MSRP rang up at $4,438.90. It was sold on March 3, 1970 to Terry Alden and then traded in October of 1972 for $1,000 towards a 1972 Plymouth ‘Cuda 340. One month later it was sold to Jerry Meade, who paid $1,750 for the vehicle. The original engine failed internally in January of 1974 after over-revving the engine. When the engine was taken apart the camshaft was broke in two places. A short block (casting date of 6/73) was installed under warranty by Mitch Crawford’s Dodge of Raytown, Missouri in February, 1974. The engine block was left unpainted, although the cylinder heads, manifolds, oil pan and timing cover were re-installed. The engine block in the car is not just “A” warranty block; it is the warranty block… unstamped, unpainted and with the original ID paint marks still present and visible. Unfortuanley, an engine fire occurred in 1977 due to a carburetor fuel line leak. At the time of the blaze, total mileage was at 44,293. American Family Insurance paid $1,000 to settle the claim and Jerry got to keep the car. The car was rolled into storage for a few years before Dave H. from somewhere near Waterloo, Iowa purchased the  car. He stored the car for 22 years until selling it to Gene in 2003. For ten years the Mopar enthusiast collected NOS and OEM parts for his special ride. In 2006 Gene took the vehicle to Cummins Restoration (Vance Cummins), located in Muskegon, Michigan for a full restoration. The extensive overhaul was wrapped up in 2012 but the hard work was well-worth it. The Daytona has been awarded ‘OE Gold’ and Best of Show at the 2012 Mopar Nationals in Hebron, Ohio. Gene is careful with his winged warrior: it hasn’t been driven on any public road or highway since that 1977 engine fire.

DSC_6656_72DSC_6655_72DSC_6663_72DSC_6662_72DSC_6661_72DSC_6660_72DSC_6659_72The 2012 Muscle Car and Corvette Nationals was an especially unique event. In addition to the 40-plus aero and wing cars, five of the Daytonas that have been awarded ‘OE Gold Level’, just like John’s and Gene’s, were parked together under one roof. Below are the other three Mopar vehicles to attain this high and prestigious honor.

John Antonelli is the proud owner of this 1969 Daytona. It packs a 440ci V8 engine and a four-speed transmission. Only 26,000 miles have been accumulated on the odometer. It was sold new in Trenton, NJ and has recently undergone a 3-year restoration.

DSC_6688_72Tony D’Dgostino owns this white 1969 Daytona.

DSC_6677_72Steve Fox, of Louisville, Kentucky owns this black 1969 Daytona. It has the 426 HEMI V8 engine underhood.DSC_6670_72DSC_6668_72DSC_6667_72  


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