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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

1973 Dodge Charger, High School Hot Rod Mystery: Part I

High school cool in a Dodge Charger, circa 1974.

Dude... What's that car? 
I (Ron) was looking through old high school annuals for parking lot scenes at my local library. I hit the lotto when I spotted a photo in Tarrant High School's 'Class of 1974' yearbook (near Birmingham, Al). So, I showed it to Jody and Anthony and Jason and anyone who would look. Wow! It shows a Dodge Charger with and an unusual roof option loaded with students. Jackpot! But now we have a mystery on our hands.
  
So, what is it?
I can tell you what it's not. It's not your standard run-of-the-mill, ho-hum, point A to point B car. This is a 1973 or 1974 Dodge Charger S.E with Rally Wheels and a weird roof. That super-sized hole in the vinyl top may have been dealer installed and not a factory option. What kind of horsepower was under the hood of that swinging Mopar? A thrifty 318 block with a two-barrel carburetor all the way to a mean 440 cubic inch engine with a thirsty Carter four barrel were possible. The photo was taken in 1973, so the dandy Dodge could be less than a year old if it was a '73 model or fresh off the truck if it’s a '74 model. It appears to be a light color, perhaps even the light yellow (Y2 Yellow) that Dodge offered. Somebody paid a lot of money for this baby.

Dude... Where's that car now?
So we declared to the world, “We must find this car!” Whose was it? A teacher? A student? And what the heck is going on with that cool roof? Buckets and console? Bench seat? What's it packing between the fenders? We must know! If it’s a four speed, we may drool.

Connecting the dots 
I don’t think it was a loan from a dealership. A dealer would often loan a school a parade-friendly car for advertising purposes. But, I don’t think that’s the case here. Why not? Well, mainly, if a Dodge, Chrysler, Plymouth dealer was to loan a car for a parade in 1973, it wouldn’t be that one. There was a host of cars that would better lend themselves to a parade. I’m talking big convertibles to hold lots of upperclassman. Then, I noticed a sticker in the window that I thought may be a parking sticker. I have since learned that Tarrant H.S did not use parking stickers. What next?

Search is on 
So, Sherlock Ron and Matlock Jody have been trying to get to the bottom of the '73-'74 high school mystery. We would like to find the one-time owner of this fine machine and find out about that roof. We want to know (maybe we don’t) the fate of this Charger. We want pictures from the 1970s and beyond of this car’s life. We want hope that its still in the family, however unlikely that is. We want a street race story. We want as many option details as the person can remember. Have you ever been interrogated by a couple of enthusiastic car guys?

We need your help
We have made little progress so far. If you know someone who went to Tarrant High School near Birmingham, Alabama in 1973-1974 and this picture rings any bells, e-mail us here at junkyardbull@gmail.com, otherwise stay tuned for hopefully an exciting part two!

Ron The Earth Roaming Car Guy