Is this the Bud Lindemann Charger 500?

Posted April 01, 2020

By Dean Larson

Photos: Seller, eBay

Much to the dismay of my colleagues, I’m a bit of a Mopar nut, and have been since day one. And when you’re talking about significant competition Mopars of the muscle car era, the Dodge Charger 500 is among the rarest of the rare. See Dodge started dabbling with the Charger’s aerodynamics in September of 1968 with the ’69 Charger 500, eliminating the “flying buttress” rear windshield and recessed grille to buy more speed on the banked NASCAR circuits. The iconic Charger Daytona would come along in mid 1969, as the more mild modifications on the Charger 500 weren’t quite enough to best the Ford Torino Talladega and Mercury Cyclone Spoiler II, and Plymouth would get the Superbird for 1970. While the wing cars made history, the ’69 Charger 500 was where it all began, and they’re much more rare considering just 392 were built in all.

But of course those cars weren’t built by Dodge per say, as Detroit-based Creative Industries was actually tasked with the modifications and finishing of the cars, and the Charger seen here on eBay was one of the first few finished. More specifically, it was actually one of the first six cars, which were all press cars, and all powered by the coveted 426 ci HEMI engine.

One of these original six press cars was sent to Bud Lindemann for testing on his T.V. show titled Car and Track, one of the first programs of its type. The video, which has made the rounds over the past few years, features several minutes of thrashing, torture testing and tire screeching, where the Charger 500 proves its mettle at the hands of the test driver, all voiced over with Lindemann’s colorful commentary. But now for the clincher, there’s a pretty healthy chance that this is the exact car tested by Lindemann, and here’s why.

By the owners best research (what we found seems to agree), six of these press cars rolled off the line first, with three being four-speeds, and three equipped with 727 TorqueFlight automatics. The three four-speed cars are accounted for, but this is the only TorqueFlight car to have surfaced, and it’s in the exact same configuration as Lindemann’s auto-shifted test car. Furthermore, Mopar guru Galen Govier has inspected the car and also feels that it’s the Lindemann car.

Even without the Lindemann connection (which we’re inclined to agree with the Mopar expert Govier on this one), this is a seriously significant HEMI car in excellent condition. The car retains its original fender tag and 426 HEMI engine, which is said to have been rebuilt to factory specification. The broadcast sheet, which further breaks down the car’s options and configuration, is whole other matter. The car has been reunited with its original sheet, which is generally found under the back seat, but the seller actually found the broadcast sheet for a different car under the seat of this car. The sheet found in this car actually belonged to the “first” car built (according to the VIN), and the seller later facilitated the swap of broadcast sheets with the owner of car number one. Not only is that an amazing coincidence, but it also reinforces the notion that this car was one of the first off the line.

Now the downside is that the car is in partially restored condition right now, and will require further time and investment to finish up. Looking though the photos, I’m somewhat surprised the seller chose to restore the car, rather than preserve it as a true survivor. Either way, the car, all its components, documentation and a supply of NOS parts is offered for sale here on eBay.

By the way, enjoy the full Car and Track test video below.

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