Parts Used In This Episode

Episode Transcript

(Marc)>> It's the most exciting time for any builder or owner. The moment your ride takes the stage at Mecum Auctions and goes for whatever somebody out there thinks it's worth. It's a rush!

(Auctioneer)>> $60,000 going once! $57,000, $60,000 twice, sold, $57,000 dollars.

(Tommy)>> Lightning struck for us in 2016 when Truck Tech's '55 F-100 banged the gavel for $57,000 bucks.

(Marc)>> How can you do that? Can we do that again?

(Tommy)>> Well we're gonna find out with one of our Detroit Muscle builds, this '69 Dodge Charger.

(Marc)>> We'll show you how from say barn find to crossing the block and sold right here in Dallas. As you can tell that auction's already going on.

(Tommy)>> This is one car's journey. Powernation on the Road: The Road to Mecum. [ Music ]

(Marc)>> Welcome to the show and in the next hour we're gonna take you on a three year journey with us and this 1969 Dodge Charger.

(Tommy)>> And the goal is to see this Mopar get a respectable number at Mecum Auctions in Dallas, by the end of today's show.

(Marc)>> But first here's where we started. How you could start. In a very deliberate search we found it in Walker County Alabama. We wanted a car that wasn't a complete rust buckets, that had some good bones to work with, and was available at a good price.

(Tommy)>> We gave it a good once over front to back, in and out, underneath, looking for the obvious signs of damage. This Mopar was checking the right boxes. Then we started up that big block. Now before the test drive here's Mecum Auctions' lead t-v commentator John Kraman on what to look for on your barn find.

(Marc)>> Woo!

(John)>> Well one thing we've learned about the term barn find is there's a lot of different ways to describe that. It can be a vehicle that is derelict and in poor condition that was put away and forgotten, or on the other end it could be a really nice original car in good condition that was put away. So when you find one of these cars you kind of have to decide what's gonna be the strategy. Do I want to keep the car original? Is the car good enough if I want to bring it up to some level of quality, or do I want to go and do I want to modify the car? So there's no real hard answer but we do know one thing for sure, and that is barn finds right now are a very popular part of the collector car world.

(Tommy)>> Also in this special we're gonna be talking with another expert in Mopars, Tim Wellborn. Car collector and owner of the Wellborn Muscle Car Museum in Alexander City, Alabama.

(Tim)>> They are out there and you're finding more of them now because I think the generations that have had them they now, you know, the families are either letting them go. What you hope to find is a perfect body, meaning down here in the south no rust. And then if you're really lucky a paint job that still stands up because people are really into barn finds that clean up into great survivors. That's probably the hottest thing in the muscle car market right now is finding a car that will stand up after you're through cleaning it up. [ Music ]

(Tommy)>> Alright we're gonna take the ole car for a test spin to see what the first impression is. Now you can definitely tell that the carburetor's kind of gummed up and it's been sitting for a long time. So we're gonna have to take that into consideration. Now the interior of this ole car, well it's definitely, well the radio thing just fell off of it. Looks like someone drilled it out to make room for, it don't matter, but anyhow we're gonna have to replace just about everything in here whether it's vinyl or place because this thing's a long time way old kind of ride but that's okay because the bones and the structure of this ole car is here where we need them. [ Music ] Another thing that this car has, which is a very rare option, and that is the accelerator sensitive rear view mirror cause when you get after, oh yeah, it kicks back so you can see if that police is chasing you. Woo! Now I wanted to do a burnout but I got after it just a little bit getting into second gear and I realized it's got a broke motor mount. Y'all check this out. You feel that? [ Music ] Hear that thump? That motor's going ka-bap-a-doo. We don't need to chance it or we're gonna break something. You know hey as long as the car's solid we've got something to work with. [ Music ]

(Marc)>> We loaded up our new find and headed home. [ Music ] Now with our Mopar back in the shop it was time to make a plan. What were we going to do with this car? Originally the thought of going to auction had not come to us yet, but with a car this old there was a lot to do.

(Tommy)>> Engine, body, suspension, brakes, interior, what wheels, what tires, what paint color? Decisions, decisions, and little did we know where the engine choice would lead us.

(Marc)>> None of us saw what was coming. When we come back the teardown begins. Plus the significance of the Dodge Charger when Powernation on the Road: The Road to Mecum continues.

(Narrator)>> Powernation on the Road is brought to you by Summit Racing and by Matco Tools.

(Marc)>> Welcome back to the Road to Mecum. Now we hauled our '69 Charger back to the shop where teardown began. Now it's important to note when we tore this thing down we saved every little piece because you don't know how many of those original parts you're gonna need to get it back together. First the old 440 engine and tranny came out. Then body work. Tommy started with a six inch sanding disc on the grinder and took off quite a bit of filler material from our Mopar. The reason why Tommy's sanding all this filler off is so we can see what's underneath.

(Tommy)>> After quite a bit of archeology here this old car needs a skin put on it. I'm done! The amount of filler hanging off the side of this car, you could say, would be a little bit excessive and a pretty good indication of that is this mountain of dust here in the floor, and all of that came off of just one side. Now after getting it all stripped down we noticed that this car has had a couple of primitive repairs done to it, and down here on the bottom wherever they welded it in they warped the heck out of the panel and then took a hammer and beat it all in trying to make it better. Well this is the perfect example of what I've said in the past. It may be buggered up and look broken but it ain't plum broken until you can't fix it no more.

(Marc)>> Now comes the pain staking task of cutting metal with a cut off wheel. Then the body saw. The more we dig the more we find a repair, and that's the way it goes with a 50 year old car. [ saw buzzing ]

(Marc)>> Now it's time to put those pieces back together.

Welding... [ welder crackling ]

(Marc)>> ...then more grinding.

(Tommy)>> Here's John Kramen and Tim Wellborn to talk about the significance of the Dodge Charger.

(John)>> When the Charger launched in 1966 it kind of got off to a bit of a rocky start. Lots of competitive cars, sporty cars during that time frame. When they came out with the new body style in 1968, the generation two car, everything changed. The Charger became an instant must have performance car. It was a pretty good size car. A lot of room inside the interior, but it was the styling of the car. Racing success also helped put the car on the map. And then you tie in the Dukes of Hazard connection and you've got a car that really goes down in history, cars from the late 1960's, as an A-list car to have. Whether it's stock and original or it's modified people seek them out.

(Tim)>> Well today we're driving a 1969 Dodge Charger R/T and it's about as good as it gets. When you have a 426 Hemi, a four speed, and a super track pack car, which means it has a 4.10 Dana rear end under it. These cars are great to drive. Maybe not at highway speeds whenever you've got a 4.10 gear ratio but a lot of fun. Got a lot jump to them, as I call it. These cars were a radical redesign from the boxier Chrysler lineup of the '66, '67 Belvederes and stuff like that. The era of the '68, '69, and '70 was a special time because your styling went from being more of a boxy type car like your Belvederes were. You obviously had Hemis. Lot of performance in them, but all of a sudden you come up with this beautiful new looking coke bottle shape on a car. Styling that was ahead of its time. And your '68 started out with it. It's got a little different taillight in it. Some people prefer that. Then comes your '69, which has a different grille from '68, different taillights, and became really the iconic one, not only because everyone knows it's from the Dukes of Hazard, it's just the prettiest of the three in most collector's minds. '70 changed up the grille and the bumper even more, and typically Chrysler ran three years on a body style back then and then the run was over. The '69 stands out as the most remembered of the three though.

(Tommy)>> All the old suspension came off. [ drill spinning ] [ Music ]

(Tommy)>> The interior was stripped bare. [ Music ] We also stripped off some major components like the front bumper, fenders, and doors. [ Music ]

(Marc)>> Floor panels had to cut out. [ torch hissing ] [ saw buzzing ] [ Music ]

(Marc)>> Then the new panels welded back in. [ welder crackling ]

(Marc)>> Then the moment of truth in any build, sand blasting. Blast from the Past in Lebanon, Tennessee, took care of that. [ Music ] So now begins the most beloved stage of any build, all that sanding and filler spreading that everybody loves to do so much. The big plan right now is too rough in the shape of the panels in preparation for the car's first coat of filler primer.

(Tommy)>> Next came the high build polyester primer, which allows us to block the panel smoother and easier than we could with filler alone. [ Music ]

(Marc)>> Now that gets block sanded, re-applied, sanded again, reapply, sand yet again, you get the idea. This process from blaster to ready for color actually took nearly 1,000 man hours.

(Tommy)>> Now we've already came pretty far with the resto. The primer's sprayed on and now it's time for us to talk paint. Black is gorgeous, timeless, beautiful, but the body work has to be done just right to wear this color. We're using a one-three tip on our gun with approximately 15 pounds of pressure. I'm spraying it at about a 50 percent overlap to make sure we get full coverage. [ Music ] Now when spraying the clear coat we're using a different gun but it's basically got the same setup on it. Since the car is getting sprayed pure black we can do it on the rotisserie while it's completely disassembled. If this was a metal flake or a pearl paint job we'd have to shoot the car with all the body panels installed.

(Marc)>> After some polishing from our friends at Sonax... [ polisher buzzing ]

(Marc)>> ...Mark Coats, a Mopar restoration specialist, came in to give us a hand with the vinyl top since neither of us had ever done one before. It's a risky move to pick a vinyl top because not everyone likes them, but we think it's the right choice.

(Tommy)>> Still to come we get some advice to make an unconventional engine choice when the Road to Mecum continues.

(Tommy)>> She sure is pretty all black and shiny now.

(Marc)>> Yeah but she didn't look this way three years ago.

(Tommy)>> Yeah when we first got this thing you could call it a runner but by no means was she much to write home about.

(Marc)>> But it was at that engine choice where everything changed for us and our Charger. We were about to start reassembling the car with stock suspension on it, a 440 six pack ready to get dropped in. Then our buddy John Kramen stopped by and threw a stick in our spoke, the engine choice.

(John)>> You know guys in 2015 Dodge Challenger Hellcat came out breaking news, 707 horsepower. Recently Mopar has released the Hellcrate engine. It's 707 horsepower in a box. I wonder if that would work in there.

(Tommy)>> Yeah you know we did talk about putting one of them late model Hemis in that car early on. After some phone calls to Chrysler we were able to take delivery of a 707 horsepower Hellcrate engine. Everything was about to change. [ Music ]

(Marc)>> And it was at this point that we decided our end goal was Mecum Auctions. [ engine revving ]

(John)>> When we first saw the Dodge Hellcat Challenger in 2015 with 707 horsepower the modern era performance car world changed. The big question at that time was will this engine be retrofitable to the vintage cars, and initially the word was gonna be a little bit difficult due to some of the software issues with that engine. Might be kinda hard to retrofit that, but the reality is a few years later now companies have come on board to be able to plug and play. Let this engine be installed in a vintage body, typically a Mopar body, and with the right software and hardware to make it all work. I think it's gonna be a very popular engine upgrade and I think the Mopar enthusiasts are gonna get on board with that, and it's gonna be very sought after. [ grinder buzzing ]

(Marc)>> With that much horsepower you need the supporting components to get all that power to the ground. The engine choice pushed us from restoration to resto mod, and we couldn't ignore the modern conveniences like these aftermarket parts provide. [ Music ]

(Tommy)>> And one great source for us was Riley Motorsports, which provided us all the new front and rear suspension components including K-member, control arms, and coil overs.

(Marc)>> The bad news, not all of this fits perfectly into our 50 year old chassis. The tunnel is just too small. The automatic and manual transmissions that came in these cars from the factory are a lot smaller than that Magnum that we're putting in here. The tunnel needs to be opened up, and also this floor brace is way too small. The arch here is too tight. There's no way we're gonna get that transmission in there. So we're gonna have to do some cutting.

(Tommy)>> We're gonna start by measuring the length that we want to remove, marking where we want to make our cuts. We'll drill a few holes so that we'll have a place to start our cuts. Because our car is already painted we're going to use a body saw instead of a torch or plasma cutter. We don't want to make a bunch of sparks, which could damage our fresh paint. We're cutting around the floor brace but we'll get to that in a minute.

(Marc)>> We'll get back to our Charger build recap but first we asked Mopar collector Tim Wellborn what he looks for when he's shopping for a new car for his collection.

(Tim)>> When I'm looking at a car there's a couple of things that stand out to me. If I'm wanting to buy something, if I know the car previously and the history, that's a big plus. At least I know that the car is a quality piece from the past. There's no one telling it's something that it's not. The other is a survivor car. The very first car I ever bought at auction was from Dana Mecum was a black LS six Chevelle, which is in the museum here today. Why's I buy that car, I'm not even a Chevelle guy, but I walked up to it and because that car was so nice as a survivor I said I'm gonna buy the Chevelle, and it's been one of my favorite cars. So survivor or knowing the car. Thirdly very important is if you didn't know the car and it was done by a known restorer. In the Mopar world we've got lots of good restorers this day and time. That adds a lot of credibility to me. If the car rolls across the block and Roger Gibson restored it, or Andrew at Apex, I'm telling you I don't have to ask any questions about that car. I know they were done correctly. So I'll buy those kind of cars too. [ drill spinning ]

(Tommy)>> With that thing all braced up now it's time to slice this little floor brace out of the way. [ saw buzzing ]

(Tommy)>> I'll cut it out using a reciprocating saw making sure to cut along the edge of our previous cuts. Look at that, nice and sturdy. That's right, we had to cut the firewall, transmission tunnel, and floor bracing. That's because we picked this massive six speed gear box to handle the amount of horsepower the Hellcrate makes. Plus it has the benefit of low gear ratios for quick acceleration as well as two overdrives for highway cruising.

(Marc)>> Next we installed the triangulated four link suspension in the rear, which is gonna help it handle a whole lot better than the factory leaf spring style suspension that was originally on the car. [ Music ]

(Tommy)>> Marc if you would let the car down. What we're looking for is this bar here parallel or close to the ground. Keep going, keep going... [ Music ] ...keep going. [ Music ] Alright! [ Music ]

(Marc)>> Of course we needed stronger axles and better stopping power. [ Music ]

(Tommy)>> When we come back we give our Charger a little driveway test. [ engine revving ]

(Marc)>> Welcome back to the Road to Mecum where we're taking you on a journey of the build on our '69 Dodge Charger.

(Tommy)>> Let's continue to look back at the restoration.

(Marc)>> As you've seen in this build recap there were a lot of times we turned to specialists to help us get certain tasks done. A big one was making a modern engine work in a 50 year old car. We sent our car and engine to Arrington Performance in Brighton, Michigan.

(Mike)>> Great car. When you build a Hellcat, when you do a Hellcat swap into anything, they're a lot more complicated than most people would believe. So you need to try and prepare everything up front to get it before you start putting it in. You can see guys doing the fuel system now. Darrell over here is doing the dashboard and getting wiring put in it. Trying to get all the components ready to load into the car. When Mopar designed the Hellcat everybody was shocked that they came out with 700 horsepower. People really don't understand what it takes to make 700 horsepower in a daily driver dependable car that you can drive across the country, and they did a lot of unique things in the design of that. When you do a Hellcat swap you can either ignore all of those things and give up a lot of that dependability, a lot of drivability, and take frankly a lot of risks with some of the things or you can incorporate those things, take advantage of what the o-e developed. Whether it's pulse width modulated fuel system controls, or it's intercooler temperature monitoring. If you don't incorporate all those things into your build when you do it you will have a number of issues that you'll likely never solve.

(Marc)>> All that modern power and technology is great but your typical Hellcat swap classic Mopar owner wants all the modern luxuries as well. It can be tricky to integrate all of those creature comforts but the crew at Arrington has found several solutions to make things like air conditioning possible, and they're gonna install some on ours. [ Music ]

(Tommy)>> And just a few short weeks later our Charger came home as a running and driving partially finished Mopar.

(Marc)>> And those guys knocked it out of the park. Think about it. This thing is a 707 horsepower Hellcrate from Mopar, and to make that thing work in daily driven applications the way they do in the factory Hellcats, well there's a lot of components that go into that, and getting all of those to work, well that's kind of difficult. Not only that but you have to make it look factory, and that's exactly what they've done. That's their specialty. Mike and the guys at Arrington know what they're doing and they killed it on this project. They've got everything hooked up from the factory wiring harnesses, cooling, plumbing, electrical, and it's all hooked up and ready to go. You could say this thing's ready to light the fires and shred the tires, as you can see by what we just did in the parking lot. [ engine revving ]

(Tommy)>> And speaking of tires you guys had to have noticed that this thing's got some new kicks up under it. We went with some beefy 20's here in the rear and some slightly smaller 18's up front. To doll up our Charger we went to Schott Performance Wheels for a set of their Accelerators with optional tri-bar spinners. They're made from forged billet aluminum and they're available in sizes ranging from 17 all the way up to 24's.

(John)>> Resto mods, taking vintage cars and updating them with modern components. It could be engines, could be suspensions, transmissions, braking system. That continues to just really keep these vintage cars on the map, and we're in favor of it because it's keeping the spirit of these old cars alive. A lot of people say it's kind of like the street rod era of 20 years ago that the cars of the 1950's and the 1960's are kind of now the modern street rods, and more and more companies are coming on board making components available to upgrade these cars more and more all the time. So I think that this trend of having a vintage car modern upgrades that's drivable on a daily basis is gonna appeal to younger enthusiasts, which it has been so far, but yet the old school guys, they're on board with it as well. These are cool. [ Music ]

(Marc)>> With our car back it was time for the final frantic push. All those last minute details, like exhaust. [ Music ] Our good friend Richard Waitis from Magnaflow fabbed us up a custom one off stainless steel three inch exhaust system, and it sound fantastic. [ engine starting and revving ]

(Tommy)>> One of the most iconic and recognizable features of this car is the headlight and grill assembly. Now it looks like a '69 Dodge Charger. On to the interior.

(Marc)>> Chris Slee from Kiwi Classics and Customs helped us by getting the headliner installed, and you can see we're going with red. [ Music ]

(Tommy)>> Gil Vigil from Speed and Design laid down some custom carpet. This is the way the carpet should have looked from the factory in '69.

(Marc)>> M&M interiors upholstered all of our seats and upper door panels with high end Douglas leather, but they stitched it like factory upholstery. So at a glance it looks like the factory vinyl.

(Tommy)>> But only when you look closer can you tell it's high end leather, and then all the other interior goodies go in. And here she is, done. Smoking hot! [ Music ] Well here it is our finished '69 Dodge Charger. It doesn't matter if you're into Dodges are not you're gonna like this thing.

(Marc)>> Yeah we absolutely love this car. It's kind of left us speechless but we've got somebody here that just might find the words. He's a good friend of ours and you can call him an expert. Let's welcome John Kramen back to the shop to give us his opinion on our Charger.

(Tommy)>> Well big man glad to see you back in the shop. What do you think?

(John)>> Man I love it when a plan comes together. Just when you think you can't get a new look on a 1969 Dodge Charger you guys have really knocked it out of the park. No body modifications really on the outside nor none needed, but with the combination of the high quality build, the paint, the interior, the vinyl top, and the wheels and tires, one of the best I've ever seen. Well played!

(Tommy)>> I sure do like your compliments but following your suggestion let's look up under the hood. It looks pretty good don't it?

(John)>> That Hellcrate engine looks like it was born there, and the quality of the installation, very impressive as well.

(Tommy)>> And man I've got to ask you. Now you're an educated man in this field. What's this thing gonna bring?

(John)>> Well after taking a look at the whole car, especially with the engine installation, we're looking at a six figure build.

(Tommy)>> That'd be pretty sweet. John we appreciate all your kind words and I guess the next time we'll see you will be in Dallas.

(John)>> Can't wait for it. See you there Tommy.

(Tommy)>> Yes sir. Now the next stop for us with this beauty is going to be in Columbus, Ohio, at the Mopar Nationals.

(Marc)>> I've been meaning to talk to you about that. I'm not gonna be able to make Mopar Nats.

(Tommy)>> Really, this thing, road trip, come on!

(Marc)>> I know, I hate it, but I've got an appointment with a beach chair and a margarita. Need some r&r man.

(Tommy)>> I guess so.

(Marc)>> I'll help you get loaded first if that's alright.

(Tommy)>> Yeah that'll work.

(Marc)>> Alright.

(Tommy)>> Coming up our Charger's debut at the Mopar Nationals. How will our Hellcat powered resto mod be received by the Mopar community? ( )>> It's a blue '68 down there.

(Tommy)>> Hey y'all welcome back to Powernation on the Road: The Road to Mecum. We're here at the Mopar Nationals just outside of Columbus, Ohio, and I guess you could call this Mopar heaven, and we brought along with us our '69 Dodge Charger that we've been working on to show it off to the world.

(Marc)>> This is the 39th Mopar Nationals held at National Trail Raceway. It's like someone took a giant bag of Skittles and scattered them all over the 207 acre site. ( )>> It's kind of like a Woodstock for cars. There's a little bit of everything here. ( )>> The drag racing, the swap meet, all the people that we meet. ( )>> It's a closer knit brotherhood. ( )>> The Americans are more crazy than ours that love Mopar.

(Tommy)>> And now it's time to reveal Hard Charger to the world. [ Music ] [ engine starting and idling ] [ Music ] [ engine idling ] [ Music ]

(Tommy)>> The organizers graciously gave us a prominent spot to show off our baby, and we were very gratified to hear nothing but positive comments about our three year build, including the resto mod theme.

(Mike)>> I think the car's phenomenal because it's an ideal blend of old and new. If you watch and see that at the auctions the resto mods go for bigger money a lot of times than original cars it seems to be that is where the market is going. [ Music ]

(Marc)>> There are over 2,600 cars here, and with the swap meet and drag strip there's a lot of territory to cover, and since it's a show about barn finds we found a couple. One was an unrestored Superbird. One a beautifully restored Superbird. (Mike F.)>> The guy's opening up his barn and we find this car in there. It's dirt floor, had some leaks, was full of raccoon droppings, raccoons made a nest in it. (Mike S.)>> This car sat in a barn for 12 or 13 years being neglected. (Mike F.)>> It's not near what you see today. (Mike S.)>> Started it on Monday doing the restoration and 51 weeks later had it back at the same show looking like you see it here, all done. (Mike F.)>> Well this is the first time I've got to sit in the car, and first time I've got to start it. I was reaching for the clutch a while ago but it doesn't have a clutch. This is gonna be great. Very nice, very nice!

(Tommy)>> Then the party moves a few miles down the road from the track to the local car dealership as everyone gathers for the cruise in. We're here at the Super Mopar Cruise, and this is what it's all about. All those long hours we were putting in, having a ride that's finally finished, we're gonna stretch its legs. I've got a good friend of mine. Hope y'all like the ride as much as I do. Riding in this one what do you think about it?

(Ted)>> Well I'm starting to get more interested in this modern application of drivetrain to body. A lot of guys have been doing this for quite some time now but this car here you get the comfort of air conditioning and a nice stereo, a stupid amount of horsepower, and good looks to go with it. So you get it all.

(Tommy)>> I appreciate all those compliments you gave about me but we were supposed to be talking about the car.

(Ted)>> Right, right, right! You know the ride on this car's not bad.

(Tommy)>> We've upgraded the suspension on the front, back. It's got big massive brakes on it. Is this stuff what you have to have? No, but it sure does make it a lot of fun. Yee-ha!

(Ted)>> That just came out. That wasn't supposed to happen.

(Marc)>> With the sun setting we pulled into the town of Buckeye Lake and to our surprise the road was lined on both sides with Mopar lovers. Every 100 feet somebody is wetting down the street hoping for a burnout. It felt a little like Mardi Gras. Of course we obliged them. [ engine revving ] [ Music ] [ cheering ]

(Tommy)>> Well that does it for us here at the Mopar Nationals with the cruise to Buckeye Lake. Time for us to head home and get this thing cleaned up, and head off to Dallas.

(Marc)>> Now with that validation we can go to the auction in Dallas with confidence we have a great ride. Did you know Mecum Auctions will also transport your car or truck? Either from your garage to the auction or from the auction floor to your garage door, they've got you covered. As we watch our '69 Charger resto mod get loaded onto the transporter we can now only wonder what the reaction will be when she hits the block. Did we make the right choice with the Hellcrate engine, the black paint, the red interior, the wheels and tires? We're about to find out. When we come back to The Road to Mecum it's Dallas, and auction time.

(Marc)>> Welcome back. This is The Road to Mecum.

(Tommy)>> You can see that Mecum Auto Transport got our Charger here safe and sound. Now the clock is ticking to auction time.

(Marc)>> We've got a lot to show you. I'm Marc Christ, this is Tommy Boshers, and we are in Dallas.

(Tommy)>> But first we're gonna take a look at behind the scenes. [ Music ]

(Frank)>> We started the auction in 1988. It was just, our family had been in the car business forever. My grandpa was in the car business. My dad had bought a group of collector cars. He decided that he wanted to sell them at auction. So he got his friends together to bring cars to the auction. Set up for a onetime event. After the event was over a tornado came through. Took down all the tents. He owed everybody so much money after the damages that he had to do it again, and that's how it started. This is our 32nd year. We're the world's largest collector car auction selling over 15,000 cars a year. We two tractor auctions, a memorabilia auction, and a motorcycle auction as well.

(Marc)>> From the humble start Mecum Auctions is now like a traveling high tech circus that runs with the precision of a railroad. There are over 1,100 vehicles here in Dallas alone.

(Frank)>> Everybody gets to see auction, on the block and on t-v, but what they don't see is the work that goes into getting the setup. Getting in a week before hand with the crew that gets setup in under three days and ready for a 1,200 car auction. Our business has never been better. We're at a golden point in our business right now. You have more cars than we've ever had. We've also had more buyers than we've ever had. Usually you have one or the other but we're at a point where we have as many buyers as we have cars, and it's just created a great market for us. You're seeing a lot more resto mods becoming popular. The cars with the old look but the new technology. You're seeing a lot more younger people coming into our hobby, which is great for the long term, and you see a lot of different cars starting to go to that next level. We've sold air planes, we've sold trolleys, we've sold just about everything.

(Marc)>> Well it's really impressive to see how much work gets done in just a few days here at Mecum. Now it's time to check out the competition to see what our Charger's up against, and we really wanted to take a look at what other Mopars are here. So we're gonna start with these 10 cars from the Peter Swainson collection.

(Peter)>> Well when I first started out talking to Mecum, talking with Frank, it was five or six cars I guess it was. So Frank paid me a visit. Come up from Wisconsin to my place, my museum, started looking around. In the mean time I'd thought about some cars I had duplicates of. I thought you know what? I have a number of '71 Chargers and I thought which ones could I part with, which ones could do well for me on a return. So that's kind of how that went about, and just to have a mix of stuff. You know they're not all Challengers, they're not all Cudas, they're not all Charger. You know there was a mix of them all. So that's kind of how I ended up doing 10 instead of the five or six that I was talking about.

(Marc)>> Out of Peter's 10 cars eight sold here at Dallas. Surprisingly this winged Daytona did not.

(Tommy)>> Now that was just one collection. As you walk around Mecum Auctions Dallas, there's a lot of cars here that kind of stand out and we're gonna have to compete with them, like this thing. It's a gorgeous fully custom '69 Camaro powered by a 427 LS Seven engine. Owner Ed Atchley started with a bone stock Camaro, and with 1,100 man hours took it all the way to a one of a kind build. Our competition here ranges from restored relics, to imports, to American muscle. From street to strip we're up against them all. Ed had this to say about over doing any restoration.

(Ed)>> If you're building a resto mod to sell it be cognizant that it's not your baby, and if you invest too much money in some of these cars you'll never get it back. Matter of fact there's so many gorgeous cars here that I have to sit on my hands or bite my tongue because I know what it costs to build these cars and they're going through for a fraction of what they cost to build. So my advice to people who want to get into this business is don't overdo it. [ Music ]

(Tommy)>> Our good friend and car collector Tim Wellborn had this to say about the whole auction experience, whether it be as a seller or a buyer.

(Tim)>> If you go to auctions you're gonna find that sometimes when you walk in it's just electric. Other times it's not. Now the other times might be early Saturday morning, just getting revved up and getting going. Generally when you've got a great collection of cars coming through that energy is in the room, and people tend to get excited when that's happening. Not only the people who are watching who are not buying but even the crowd even gets into it. So as a buyer sometimes you can hear that revving up and you'll put your hand up another time or two, and keep that energy going.

(John)>> So far Mopars at Mecum Dallas have been very strong, but when you start dealing in resto mod cars everything changes because essentially they're all one of a kind. Late '60's, early '70's Dodge Chargers in particular quite a high quantity here. So there is some Mopar buzz, but when it comes to resto mods you just never know what they're gonna do.

(Tim)>> So I think the car will probably go for $125,000, maybe a little more. It's hard to say on the resto mods but they are developing so much energy these days. They're out doing a lot of these correct restored cars like I like. I actually would not mind owning a resto mod of that quality.

(John)>> My initial reaction on this car was kind of in the early stages of the build $75,000 to $90,000 dollars but after seeing the completion of the car, after putting my finger on the pulse of just the way the car looks, the presentation. Certainly the Hellcrate engine is the star of it, but even the subtle things such as the wheel and tire treatment, the paint combinations, I'm gonna stick my neck out and predict we're gonna see a six figure plus bid on this car.

(Marc)>> Alright all has been said and all the work on the car has been done, and we're back stage at Mecum Auctions Dallas as our Charger is just minutes away from crossing the auction block.

(Tommy)>> I don't know about you but I'm both nervous and excited because this build has taken almost three years. Well here we are now. We're gonna see what it brings. Kinda hate to see her go.

(Marc)>> It's bittersweet! [ engine revving ]

(Tommy)>> Man that's a nice ride though. I'd be proud to have that in my garage, you know what I'm saying?

(Marc)>> Sure.

(Tommy)>> I miss her already. [ auctioneer chanting ]

(Marc)>> When we come back auction time.

(Scott)>> Alright here comes the '69 Charger resto mod.

(Narrator)>> Powernation on the Road is brought to you by Rock Auto dot com, and by EBC Brakes.

(Tommy)>> Welcome back to The Road to Mecum. We're here in Dallas, and our Charger's just about ready to hit the block. Marc's up there with the guys in the booth.

(Scott)>> Marc Christ good to see you, and we're gonna see that car coming across the block here in just a little bit at no reserve.

(Tommy)>> And I'm gonna be walking around the floor, and I have to say I'm about as nervous as a cat in a room fully of rocking chairs.

(Scott)>> Alright here comes the '69 Charger resto mod, and this build kind of took a little bit different turn than you had originally thought it might right?

(Marc)>> Absolutely, so yeah, so like I said, we made a list of everything we wanted what we didn't have that one detail of which engine was gonna be under the hood. We actually planned on doing a full restoration on this car and we ended up finally going with the 707 horsepower Hellcrate, and I think it was the right choice.

(Scott)>> I'd say that was a good call, huh John?

(John)>> Well I have to confess guys I was lucky enough to go down on the set and stage at the shop and meet with these guys, and look at the project in its early stages, and we had discussions about. They asked me what do you think would be a good direction to go, and I just threw out there never thinking in a million years that it would ever happen but it certainly did. The Hellcrate engine, 707 horsepower, contemporary Hemi engine, six speed manual transmission, full resto mod treatment. Hang on to your hat Marc my friend we're at $160,000 dollars!

(Tommy)>> Still climbing.

(Marc)>> I don't know what to say. That's more than I anticipated. So I love it.

(Scott)>> You guys checked all the right boxes. JK and I looked at this car. This is the first time I really had seen it this week and the wheel package is on the money. The interior treatment, the vinyl top everything. We're over $200,000 dollars!

(Marc)>> I can't believe it. [ auctioneer chanting ]

(Auctioneer)>> $210,000 if anybody wants to do that. What do you want to do back there Travis? [ auctioneer chanting ] ( )>> You're gonna get it bud.

(John)>> Big congratulations Marc. You and Tommy knocked it out of the ballpark. The quality, the selection, the stance, everything. There's your partner Tommy right there. Man did it pay off, $200,000 dollars my friend!

(Marc)>> He looks happy, I'm happy, I don't know what to say.

(Scott)>> I think you might call that speechless.

(Marc)>> It's hard to put into words just how amazing that moment was, but as we look at the winner, Thomas Patterson, signing for the Charger it's gratifying to see all that hard work and using all the best parts paid off big time. And that gavel price says it all. Tommy caught up with the new owner.

(Tommy)>> Well guys I'm here with Thomas, the high bidder on our car. I have to ask you a couple of questions. What made you really want this thing?

(Thomas)>> The car looks brand new, and that Hellcat motor in it was awesome. I mean it's a beautiful put together car.

(Tommy)>> Another question would be what's your plans for this thing?

(Thomas)>> I'm gonna drive it. I mean really? I mean who would not want to drive that car?

(Marc)>> Well we did it. The car's complete and we sent it across the block no reserve and it paid big time, $200,000 dollars. I can't believe it. That yellow stick never looked so good.

(Tommy)>> I know man but y'all know what that means now? Well we've got a little bit of money in our pocket, still got some time. So it's time for us to go find us another project. What do you think?

(Marc)>> Yeah I've got my eye something. Come here I want to show you.

(Tommy)>> I hope it's not a Mustang.

(Marc)>> It's an El Camino. Woo! [ Music ]
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