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Arme & American Legends build 1969 Charger with a Modern Twist

The majority of high-end builds are vehicles designed for car shows or limited outings, but the challenge facing Tony Arme, of American Legends, was a customer who wanted a high-end build to drive daily. 

1969 Dodge Charger build by Tony Arme and American Legends

The result was a 1969 Dodge Charger that looks like a classic muscle car but drives like a modern vehicle, said Arme, who is competing in the virtual Builder Challenge powered by CTEK.

“The trim, emblem, and paint have all been refurbished. We did a really high-end restoration on the exterior, while on the interior we used better materials like sound deadeners and added upgrades like Bluetooth,” explained Arme. 

An 850-horsepower Hellcat engine was installed and the Charger’s chassis was rebuilt with more powerful brakes installed to handle the horsepower, said Arme. “The customer was looking for a high-performance car that still looks like a ‘69 Charger, but anybody could hop in and drive.”

“We knew out of the gate we weren’t painting or polishing the underside of the car because it’s not designed as a show car. This Charger is meant to be driven,” said Arme.

1969 Dodge Charger build by Tony Arme and American Legends

Cars have always been a part of Arme’s life. “We had a bunch of older cars growing up, and my dad always worked on everything. Nothing went to a shop, we just repaired things ourselves,” he said.

In high school, Arme convinced a neighbor to sell him an old 1968 Ford Mustang. “It had been sitting for years. My dad and I did everything - paint, interior, engine. Not many kids at school had a muscle car like that. It wasn’t the most reliable, but I had to take care of it, and I learned a lot.”

Arme took automotive classes in college before going to work at a shop. In 2017, Arme and his business partner, Charlie Sullens, decided to create American Legends.

1969 Dodge Charger build by Tony Arme and American Legends

“Our customers come to us for quality and reliability,” he said. American Legends’ also focuses on one-of-a-kind builds. “Every single build is different. We could do a dozen ‘69 Chargers and none of them would be the same.”

The vehicles might be unique, but one thing they have in common is CTEK battery chargers. “Over the years, we’ve seen so many batteries die, and once they’re dead, they’re nearly impossible to bring back. Maintenance is so critical,” said Arme.

At American Legends, they install CTEK chargers on the builds. “We’ve mounted the charger on board and hooked it to the battery directly. All the customer needs to do is plug it in and they’re done. With all the electronics on these builds, there’s a lot of parasitic draw on the battery. With a CTEK charger, it doesn’t matter if a customer is going to drive their car tomorrow or in three months, they know the battery will work,” explained Arme. 

In addition to creating custom builds, there’s a service shop portion of American Legends’ business. “We do a lot of service work including rewiring or upgrades,” said Arme, adding he encourages his customers to buy a CTEK charger. 

1969 Dodge Charger build by Tony Arme and American Legends

“From a business standpoint, the fewer cars coming back for issues that could be avoided (like a dead battery), the better it is for the customer, and the better it is for us. We’re not spending the time on the phone, ordering a battery, and having a car here for 3 days for something that will ultimately take 30 minutes to install. Instead, we can use that time to get other cars in the shop.”

In CTEK’s virtual Builder Challenge, Arme will showcase the 1969 Dodge Charger on social media alongside other CTEK sponsored builds. Fans will have a chance to vote on their favorite build here with the winning builder receiving a CTEK prize package. One lucky voter, drawn at random, will also receive a CTEK prize. Voting will be open Nov. 2-6. For more information, visit CTEK on Facebook or Instagram.


  • Tony Arme, of American Legends, in Phoenix, Ariz., has featured his builds at the annual SEMA Show in Las Vegas. American Legends specializes in all aspects of hot rods, muscle cars, and classic cars. For more information on Arme’s’ builds, visit him on Facebook at or on Instagram at @alhotrods. American Legends can be found at


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Bobbie DuMelle, Executive Vice President
CTEK North America
(312) 967-1430