This 1969 Dodge Charger Is Actually a Dodge Viper In Disguise

It’s rare that a hobby can get an entire family closer. The chances of everyone being into the same stuff is just unlikely. Even more unlikely is a family hang leading to building a drag car, specifically a 1969 Dodge Charger with a V10 Viper engine. I wish my family hangs resulted in building a resto-mod supercar

Dave’s 1969 Dodge Charger is kind of a Dodge Viper

According to MotorTrend, Dave Trevisan got his 1969 Dodge Charger in 2006, but it had been in the family since 1975. His older brother Mark bought it when he was 15-years-old with his floor-sweeping money. It had been badly damaged on one side, and Mark, along with guys from the shop and his little brother Dave, replaced the busted panels, got it running, and used it as a daily driver. The original 383 was groomed to become a full-blown race car. The big Charger was eventually replaced by a 1989 Dodge Daytona, relegating it to storage. 

The Dodge got some other upgrades first

Dave went to town, replacing brakes, axels, suspension, and adding steel reinforcements to stiffen the body. At the top of the wishlist was dropping a 440 or Hemi in it, making it peak Dodge Charger. After some thought, he realized he wanted to do something a little less common. He always loved the look and sound of V10s (who doesn’t), plus he’d never had one before. After some digging around, he got one out of a wrecked 2005 Viper. The engine, six-speed manual, and pedal assembly all got swapped. The entire conversion and installation process took around a year to complete. 

1969 Dodge Charger With V10 Viper engine
1969 Dodge Charger With V10 Viper engine | Dave Trevisan / MotorTrend

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The Viper engine isn’t a simple bolt-in job

Not only did Dave put in a V10 Viper engine, but the top end got a refresh by porting the heads. He also used the Viper’s original wiring harness but removed anything that wasn’t essential for the motor. Dave only put 10 miles on the Charger before it went back to the garage for more modifications.

As if the Viper’s 500 hp wasn’t enough, Dave decided his family’s Charger could use a little more pep. Enter the twin-turbo rig. After deciding where to put the turbos, Dave spent another winter tooling away on the Monster Viper/Charger. Although it ran flawlessly, Dave still wasn’t satisfied. The Charger needed a tune. 

Dave and long-time friend Barnard Cavanaugh looked at the car’s efficiency and learned that the car wasn’t getting an even fuel and air mixture. A custom ECM and wiring harness were needed to fix this issue. After loads of other intake fabrication, the Charger was finally doing right. 

The Charger’s interior 

Dave kept a lot of the interior original – at least as much as he could. There is a full race cage, rear seat delete, front seats, five-point racing harnesses. The stock instruments had to be swapped to keep all the info accurate, and ya know, monitor all the new boost. 

Dave’s 1969 Charger specs 

There are more changes made to this car than I care to list and I imagine you care to read, dear reader. The greatest hits of the custom parts list are as follows; a Viper Gen 3 505-cid 8.3L V-10 engine, Gen 3 aluminum heads ported to match custom intake manifold, owner-built custom headers, 3-inch pipes, Stainless Works mufflers, QA1 shocks, Reilly Motorsports front frame and suspension, and still no air conditioning.

Not once in the interview with MotorTrend did Dave mention the horsepower; that’s how you know it’s a lot.