Mopar Family Memories

The Family that "Chargers" Together

John Carollo - October 03, 2013 10:00 AM


Image 1 of 9

Great car stories can have strong ties to the owner’s past or family.

The stories can be about a quest for a certain car, staying true to a brand or model, even down to a particular year or color. It is rare, however, when all of these elements come together. John Schofield of Avon Lake, Ohio, is one such lucky owner and is just as proud to be one. His two cars are a 1969 Dodge Charger and its companion 1969 Charger Daytona, both sporting Dodge F8 Green paint and all the trim.

For simplicity’s sake, we’ll call them Charger and Daytona and go back in time to when John was nine years old. His dad, Robert, was in the market for a new car and the new Dodge Charger was brought up during a family discussion. John had an ally since his sister pushed for the Charger.

The deal was struck and for $3,576.91 in 1969 dollars, the Schofields had their new car. This would be a daily driver for eight years, even to the point of having a pop-up trailer attached and trucked to Canada for family vacations. John learned to drive in that car. During that time, John and his dad followed NASCAR. Being stout Mopar fans, they paid attention Dodge’s efforts. “I immediately became consumed with the Charger Daytona,” said John. “I spent a great deal of time trying to convince my dad to buy one.”

John was making some ground with his dad, who, “at one point inquired about having a Daytona wing installed on his ’69 Charger. However, the $450 cost was prohibitive at the time.” Today, John laughs and says, “Imagine what someone would give for an original Daytona wing and supports for $450 today!” That Daytona stayed in John’s mind.

Time moved on and John and his dad kept ahead of the Midwestern winter’s damage to the Charger, replacing the front fenders and other rust-consumed parts. The racy Daytona stayed in John’s politicking. He talked his dad into putting on a set of hood pins. After drilling the first hole in the hood, Dad said, “I hope it’s in the right place.” Fortunately, it was. After the successful hood pin treatment came replacing the standard Charger emblems on the headlight door and taillight panel with R/T emblems. John even gave his dad a dual exhaust system for his birthday. So began the path of waking up the nondescript Charger into an R/T.

In 1977, John’s dad bought a new Chrysler Cordoba. The family had three cars to fight over space in a one-car garage. The Charger was kept in the garage while both parents fought the elements, moving cars around in all seasons. Today, John asks, “How cool were my parents?”

Three years later, his dad signed the Charger over to John, who was already scraping off the undercoating and painting the underside with Rustoleum. Five years after that, the motor came out and the car went to a body shop for a real restoration. The car you see still sports that 1986 paint job. In 2005, John pulled the original 383 with two-barrel and upgraded it to a 383 Magnum. It didn’t take him long to yank the original 2.79 rearend screw and replace it with a set of 3.23s. Wheel and tire upgrades followed with replacing the stock hub cap/wheel sets with 14-inch ET Slot Mags and Goodyear F70 x 14 GT radial tires. Later, those would be replaced with 15-inch Magnum 500 wheels.

On and on it went with other changes including a bevy of parts from YearOne and goodies from Summit Racing Equipment, where he got the Edelbrock Performer Series carb, Mopar fuel pump and Mopar resto cam. A MSD 6A digital ignition control box was added and the stock TorqueFlite rebuilt. Sadly, it was also during this time that John’s dad died and would never see the finished resto of the Charger he had lovingly given his son.

That brings us to the story on that Daytona. In 2001, John was a dad with three kids of his own and an understanding wife named Cathy. The Charger was an ongoing project with John and family enjoying the car during the cruising season and getting updated during the long Ohio winters. The thought of the Daytonas and their distinctive noses and wings never went away from John. Cruising eBay, John found one in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. The listing said it had the same owner for 22 years, was “fully restored” and with a period correct 440 engine and automatic.

John just about lost it when he found the color was F8 green and started the e-mails flying. During his talks with the owner, he found the VIN and fender tag to be confirmed by Galen Govier. John was all set to fly up and make this happen, but the date was September 11, 2001.

John says, “I obviously did not purchase my ticket that day, and even after normal air travel resumed I was not interested in getting on a plane.” He was then aligned with another Mopar fan that had performed inspections for Govier in the past who, as John says, “probably provided a more candid description of the car than if I had looked myself.”

John knew the engine and transmission were not original to the car and that worked in his favor for making it more affordable. Still, the VIN dash plate, fender tag, broadcast sheet and body radiator support all matched and it was indeed a real Daytona, being number 368 of the 503 produced. The deal was struck and the Daytona was on its way to meet its new brother. John says, “These two were meant to be stablemates.”

The only thing left to do was to inform his wife. That may have slipped John’s excited mind as Cathy found out about it when a 50-foot truck and trailer showed up at their house and hit the air brakes. Surprise!

After spending that first summer on the road with his new toy, John now added the Daytona to the upgrade schedule and soon, he was correcting some of the previous modifications. One was the drivability of a bumpy cam, high-rise intake and “Fred Flintstone” bias ply tires. On top of that, the engine had developed a little knock that was troublesome. John said he “came dangerously close to dropping a crate Hemi in the car.”

By then, it had been determined this Daytona was the 24th 440 Daytona exported to Canada in 1969. Elmer Fern located a 440 horsepower engine date coded three months prior to the build date of the Daytona. He also located the proper factory intake manifold with a corresponding date code. This Daytona was going to get as close as a resto can get without being 100 percent. John says, “The help of Dave Tomko, Vince Hall and Elmer Fern is greatly appreciated and I consider them, along with Scott Poltorak, to be great friends.”

These days, with college for three kids, time and money are carefully juggled so the green Chargers can stay on the road. John’s favorite time with the cars is taking a long cruise early on a summer or fall morning around the back roads.

John Schofield has successfully fulfilled his desires with a Daytona to go along with his Charger. It’s the best of both worlds. There’s only one thing he would change if he could. You see, those cruises and garage time aren’t anywhere near as much fun as when Dad was there with his green Charger.