It seems that everywhere you look, from TV, to social media and print, old cars are continuously being discovered that have been stored in barns, basements, garages, sheds, or from any number of other forgotten resting places. No matter where they’ve been extracted from, the common term for all these finds has been deemed the “barn find.” The question is, when was the last time you saw a really good junkyard find? Well, we have one for you and it involves one of Chrysler’s finest examples from the muscle car era, a 1969 Dodge Daytona, and its rescue from the grim reaper at the junkyard—the dreaded crusher. While we’re going to focus on this particular Charger Red Daytona, we’ll also tell you about some of the other cars in the yard at the time. How does another ’69 Daytona sound? How about an original ’69 Hemi Dodge Charger 500?
This Daytona’s saga began in 1973 when it ended up, along with about 50 other cars, at Avenue Auto Parts in Kansas City, Missouri. While we don’t have a name for the dealership and its owner, we do know that these vehicles were part of a large collection that was impounded by the state of Missouri as a result of some unscrupulous dealer shenanigans involving bogus titles. The owner must have been knee deep in it because he ended up in jail, and the cars eventually forfeited as a result of the long-term storage bills. With their fate cast into limbo, these cars sat at the junkyard until the early 1980s, at which point they had worn out their welcome and had to go. The owner of the place had lost his shirt storing them, but once he was given the green light on ownership, they were quickly destined for the crusher.
This was when John Borzych, or “Mopar John” as his friends best know him, came into the picture, and how he ended up with the Daytona. We’ll take a step back and tell you that he was, and is, an avid racer and hard-core Mopar guy, who spent many weekends wrenching on and racing his ’70 Plymouth GTX during the early ’70s. This was a hobby that consumed much of his money and spare time. On one fateful day in 1976, that all changed. “At US 30 they had a decent shut down area, but if you didn’t get it slowed down enough, the end was like the first turn on an Olympic bobsled run,” he recalls. “On that last run, I went around the rim of that thing and almost rolled the GTX over. For the first time I was scared in one of my drag cars. Suddenly it wasn’t fun anymore and I parked it.” With the GTX sidelined, he needed something else to spend his time and money on. That inspiration was found in the pages of HOT ROD Magazine. John explains, “I kept thinking about a special car, classic car, or a limited-production car. A light finally went off in my head. I remembered seeing in one of my old HOT ROD magazines an ad that had Richard Petty and a bunch of guys around a special car. I ripped through those old magazines until I found it. It was an ad for the 1970 Plymouth Superbird. That was the car that I had to have!”
That decision opened up another world to him that was far removed from the track. It led to his first Superbird purchase and membership in the Daytona Superbird club. At his first club meet, the aero world opened up even further when he saw a Dodge Charger pull up with a wing and a nose on it. His reaction was, “What the heck is that thing?” Some of the well-seasoned members in the club explained to him that the Daytona preceded the Superbird, and their production numbers were substantially lower. For those wondering, the official production figures from Chrysler are 503 Daytonas built in ’69, and 1,920 Superbirds in ’70. These numbers were mandated by NASCAR as part of their homologation process in order for race versions to be allowed to compete.
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