Here's the pretty Fran Garten with her 1969 Dodge Charger. Images: Charger.com
Crawling through Carlisle as a kid, I used to gravitate to old car brochures and magazines. Among the old literature were old dealer albums (too expensive, although kicking myself for not snapping ’em up) and postcards. Postcards? Who wants those?
But, among those promotional photos, you’ll little nuggets like this Miss American Teen-Ager item that appeared on DodgeCharger.com.
As any Charger fan knows, the car was redesigned in 1968 to become the proverbial swan, clearly one of the most beautiful American cars of the 1960s. Being one of the stars in Steve McQueen’s Bullitt certainly didn’t hurt! The Charger was mildly facelifted for 1969, with a different grille and full-width taillights, giving Charger fans their “tastes great/less filling” moment as they are divided on which year they prefer, never mind that 1970 Chargers have their own fans too.
As the sponsor of the the 1969 Miss American Teen-Ager Pageant, Dodge gave the winner a brand-new Charger. In this case, it was Fran Garten of Great Neck, Long Island. You can tell it’s a base Charger from the grille (no R/T medallion), so this “T7” Copper car could be equipped with any of the following: 225 “Slant Six,” 318 two-barrel, 383 two-barrel, or 383 four-barrel. And if you take a gander at the C-pillar, it looks like there may be SE badges present.
That means this Charger was equipped with the “A47” Special Edition Decor Group that included leather and vinyl front buckets, wood-grain steering wheel and instrument panel inserts, hood-mounted turn signal indicators, pedal dress-up, deep-dish wheelcovers, and the “A01” Light Package.
The story goes that Fran appeared at the Detroit International Auto Show in 1969 and that’s where the card owner’s mother obtained the card and the autograph. Where Fran or the car is hasn’t been determined, but who knows what could be found with the power of the Internet?