Thursday, December 31, 2015

Cars in Yards: 1964 Plymouth Barracuda

This 1964 Barracudas came to Alabama from Delaware.

Barracuda on board. In my Valiant search for that “Little Surfer Girl”, I discovered a Barracuda instead. The auto industry tailors to many genres and cultures. Cultures within a culture are at times existing right under your surf board. So, if the year is 1964 and guys coast to coast have figured out that surfing nets a vast number of female introductions disproportionate to the rest of us regular car guys. Hauling babe-magnet boards became a must. But wait, those surf boards can get a little heavy, thus, the necessity of a vehicle. Oh no! The appropriate car for the surfer guy is not a car at all… it's a wagon! Station wagons are super cool to us now, but there were only a few cool exceptions way back then. If you were not at the beach, but seen riding or driving in a wagon, you may as well change your name to grandma. Oh no! Forget meeting girls in that. The stigma was real.

This ’64 Barracuda has been owned by the same family since new.

I got me a wagon and they call it a woody
  “But mom! I don’t want to drive your station wagon!” declared young men from Jersey to Baja. 
  Plymouth saves the day! How does this sound? “Hangers of the Ten… a sporty car, not super big, with awesome, unique, back glass, and a small trunk?” 
  “A small trunk?” the surfers reply. “That sounds almost perfect, but where will I put my surf board?” 

Equipped with a V8, push-button automatic, transmission and under dash air conditioning. 

If the real thing don’t do the trick. Better make up something quick 
  You didn’t let me finish, Curl Rider. The small trunk opens up, panels lay flat, seats fold for the purpose of… wait for it… for which to put in a surf board. That is what Plymouth had in mind for their new trim level of the Valiant. Let us call it something cool with an aquatic nomenclature. 
  The Corvette had already introduced the Sting Ray name in 1963 and even managed to compare themselves to sharks. Plymouth borrowed inspiration (notice the cool rear window) from the Vette. 
  What else is quick and dangerous that swims? See the fun facts below to learn how Barracuda actually got its name.

Passengers felt like they were under a heat lamp if they rode in the rear during hot, summer months.
Barracuda’s expansive wraparound rear glass was known for cooking rear passengers in the sun.
Burn, burn, burn to the wick – Ooooh Barracuda
  Here you go, Jan, Brian, and Dean, (no one specific, just common surfer names off the top of our heads) this is the car for you! The Barracuda could be had with a V8. Bucket seats were new, sporty, and cool. The better to prominently display your surfer girl. You could have a manual transmission if you liked shifting duties or how about the new “Push-Button” Torqueflight automatic transmission to free you of shifting, leaving you more control of the volume of your Beach Boys tunes and flexing for your surfer girl. Now that sounds good.

First gen Barracudas were built on Mopar A Body platform.
The performance and looks of first gen Barracudas didn’t strike fear into would-be racers.

Junkyard Life Hangs Ten
  Well, in theory we could. Because we found this! A 1964 Plymouth Barracuda still in the possession of the son of the original owner! This car was not a surfer mobile. It was his mother’s primary car. She bought it new two years before he was born. They didn’t so much travel in it, for that they had larger cars, such as a Plymouth Wagon. The Barracuda was used for hauling kids and groceries as well as a plethora of domestic taxiing. 
  No surf boards have been in this ’64 Barracuda, although the owner may let us sneak back and put a surf board in for photo opportunities (Editor’s Note: Ron! Drop the surf board idea, already! Sheesh. It doesn’t have one. Let it go.)  

Jody learns that the lug nuts can be accessed through the 1964 Barracuda hubcaps.

Okay, Fine. We Don’t Even Hang Five
  Just because no one ever yelled “cowabunga” in this car does not make it less appealing to us. It has that cool push-button automatic. It has no console, but it does have an awesome red interior with bucket seats, and its equipped with under dash air conditioning and wears original white paint. The paint reminds us of pearly white sand on the beach (editor’s note: Watch it, Ron). The Barracuda even has all of its spinner-style hubcaps, and a 273-cu. inch V8. What this Barracuda lacked in horse power and cubic inches, it made up for in style. This Valiant had a lot of class for a Valiant. So much in fact, that Barracudas lost the Valiant badge after 1965. 
  The owner intends to restore the car to fun levels and not to concourse levels. A low buck cruiser with a high fun factor. He wants to drive it again and connect the past with the present. We understand and love the car just the way it is!

Ron Kidd
— Junkyard Life

Mopar was space age savvy with their push-button tranny.
Detail shot of 1964 Barracuda push-button Torqueflight automatic transmission controls.

Ron’s Barracuda (and surfing) Fun Facts:
  1. Despite the humble Valiant beginnings, the Barracuda evolved into one of the most feared beast of the muscle car era. 

  2. The most-feared name on the streets almost had a wimpy name. “Panda.” The executives said, “Yes” – but the designers said, “No.” Thank heavens they stood their ground. Barracuda is no panda.

  3. Plymouth dropped the “Barra” and simply called this monster a “Cuda’” during the Detroit horsepower wars of 1969-1970. The words “Hemi Cuda’” instill fear in our insurance agents and make our tire dealers smile.

  4. The most desirable ’Cuda would be the 1971 Hemi convertible. Set apart by its shark teeth like grill and front fender gills. With only 13 units built in that combo, don’t look for one at any reasonable price.

  5. The Pony Car Wars had officially kicked off in Detroit. We don’t usually think of the 1964 Barracuda as a Pony Car, but it was. And right there at the beginning too. Ford wasn’t worried. Even with the Mustang’s late 1964 introduction, they still outsold the daylights out of everyone. But what about the surf boards? 

  6. Surfer guys were often car guys too. Though the Beach Boys did not specifically mention a Barracuda; they do make reference to a Super Stock Dodge with a 413 lining up on the street with Brian Wilson’s 327 4-Speed Fuel Injected Corvette in their car guy rock favorite “Shut Down”. The song forever immortalized the most famous street race of all time.

  7. Our feature car was equipped with a 273 C.I.D V8 drinking from a 2-barrel carb. One more year model (1965) could have been had with a 4-barrel and would have been called “Commando”. 

This weathered Barracuda spent 50 years in the New England states before making a new in Alabama.

The Barracuda’s back glass had the distinction of being the largest ever produced in 1964. 

Lug nuts peek through the Barracuda’s hub caps.

Original, red, bucket seats are showing a bit of wear after 50-plus years.

1964-1966 Barracudas came in any style you liked, as long as it was fastback. 1967-1969 Barracudas were available in notchback, convertible, and fastnack models.
Go fast checkered flag hidden within in the V8 emblem on the 1964 Barracuda.

This weathered Barracuda spent 50 years in the New England states before landing in Alabama.
The ’64 Barracuda was based on the Valiant model. 1964 was the final year that a Valiant emblem appeared on a Barracuda.

Plymouth had a fierce debate over the naming of the Barracuda.

Passengers felt like they were under a heat lamp if they rode in the rear seat of a 1964 Barracuda during hot, summer months.

Know a junkyard that we need to visit? Tips for our projects? 
Send emails to Jody Potter at or Ron Kidd at

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

POCI 2015: All roads lead to Pontiacs

With nearly 9,000 members strong, the POCI car club had a strong showing at their 43rd annual car show at the Kentucky Expo Center..

Road trip! A journey to the 43rd Annual POCI (Pontiac Oakland Club International) Convention in Louisville, Kentucky, along with a detour to Indianapolis, turned into the ultimate Junkyard Life adventure! I didn’t really think that all of the stars would line up in our favor, but they did, somehow. The Junkyard Life crew planned on taking two cars to the huge Pontiac car show, along with a big truck to haul back any greasy goodies that we might find at swap meets or junkyards in our path.
  Anthony Powell prepared his 1979 Pontiac Grand Prix SJ, as I worked on my Colonnade-era Grand Prix, for what turned out to be a 1,000-mile round trip from Alabama to Indy via Louisville. We jammed for weeks on our Pontiacs to meet the July deadline. Working until the witching hour of the trip.
  Success! Well, almost.

The car was deemed unsafe for travel. However, we learned that an overfilled tank can weep fuel from top of 40 year old tank.
Ron Kidd inspects a leaking fuel tank on his 1973 Pontiac Grand Prix – at 3 a.m. on departure day.

Puddle of petrol when its time to roll
  Day one, at zero dark thirty, started a little sad. Valencia, my 1973 Grand Prix SJ, decided that she didn’t want to go. Unfortunately, she has a leaking fuel tank that acts out when the tank is completely full. I learned this at 3 a.m. with a full tank of gas, at the exact time that we were scheduled to leave. We opted to not risk driving into unthinkable possibilities. The SJ Hindenburg was grounded. I alternated riding in the shotgun seat of Jody’s truck and Anthony’s GP. A rocky start, but later in the trip, the bad luck turned around.

Big plan gets bigger, better
  A week prior to the POCI trip, our phone rings and it is Junkyard Life affiliate and long-separated brother, Scott Scheel. Scott, president of the Indy Firebird club and coordinator of numerous Pontiac events, offers us the chance of a lifetime. We were invited to have lunch with legendary Pontiac designer Bill Porter before his POCI presentation. Us? With Bill Porter? The guy who basically penned the iconic 1968 GTO and the second generation Firebirds/Trans Ams that we are addicted to?
  That, sir, is a solid “Yes”. There was not enough yes-ness in the word “yes” to express the yes value of our yes. We had to get to Louisville, no matter what.

Junkyard Life was invited to lunch with Pontiac designers Bill Porter and David McIntosh.
Junkyard Life was invited to lunch with Pontiac designers, Bill Porter and David McIntosh. From left, Ron Kidd, David McIntosh, Bill Porter, and Anthony Powell discuss all things Pontiac.
Day 1: Lunch with Pontiac legends
  We arrived in Louisville without trouble, other than my driveway full of premium fuel back in Alabama. I would say that we walked directly into the hotel restaurant and Scott introduced us to Bill Porter. That sounds too easy, but it was exactly that.
  A very nice gentleman extended his hand, and said, “Hi, I’m Bill.” He was a humble, soft spoken man who spoke with us as equals. Hopefully, we appeared to be friends, and fellow enthusiast, not the giggling school girls that we felt like.
  During lunch with Bill Porter, we were introduced to former Pontiac/GM senior designer, David McIntosh, who was instrumental in the development of the 1978 Grand Prix.
  McIntosh discussed his design work on Pontiacs during a presentation that ended just before we arrived in Louisville. We had a lot to ask him for sure. (Still kicking ourselves for not leaving Alabama at 2 a.m. instead of 3:30 a.m.)
  To top it off, noted Pontiac Trans Am collector, and owner of more than 80 running T/As, Steve Hamilton, also shared our table for lunch. The planning wheels were already in motion for a trip to visit his collection in Indiana.
  We all ate and talked Pontiacs. It was a perfect trip and this was just the first hour after we arrived at the POCI show. Scott’s mother and Grandmother were also at the lunch. They signed papers to adopt us, then on we went to Bill Porter’s presentation as one big, happy, Pontiac family.

Automotive designer Bill Porter was instrumental in the development og the 1968 Pontiac GTO and 1970 Firebird.
Bill Porter, automotive designer with GM, was instrumental in the development of the 1968 Pontiac GTO and 1970 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am.

Pontiac cadavers
  Bill Porter’s detailed presentation was full of great Pontiac memories and facts. We learned a lot and the whole day just seemed surreal. It felt like we just walked into Pontiac Studios and were a part of history. 

Automotive designer Bill Porter shared highlights from a 40-year career at GM.
Bill Porter, former Chief of GM’s Advanced Design Studio, covered his design career and the many high profile, working relationships, which included Harley Earl, Bill Mitchell and John DeLorean.

  Quote of the day, from Porter to us, “Thank you guys for taking care of my cadavers.” After speaking to a throng of POCI attendees, Porter signed some of my Pontiac advertising. My walls at home will be a little more special with those framed mementos.
  Thank you, Bill. We will never forget that day.

Bill Porter poses with Ron Kidd and his Bill Porter signed 1968 Pontiac GTO adverstisement.
Ron Kidd is all smiles as he poses with his autographed 1968 Pontiac advertisement, courtesy of Bill Porter.
Show time
  High octane fun continued outside the POCI convention hotel, as we strolled among several Safari Wagons, GTOs, Firebirds, Grand Prixs, Grandville’s, LeMans, and so much more. There was also a Pontiac swap meet, and this was only the first day. What else can compare to this?

Scott Scheel, president of the Indy Firebird club, loaded Kidd his car for the 2015 POCI weekend.
Ron Kidd behind the wheel of a 1973 Pontiac Firebird Formula.

Dinner and a Firebird
  Remember the mention of my bad luck resulting in my not driving my 1973 Grand Prix? Well, that night our brother, Scott Scheel, shows up for dinner in a beautiful, Admiralty Blue 1973 Firebird Formula. Scott felt bad that my ’73 didn’t make the trip, so he offered, almost insisted, that “The Admiral” be my mode of transportation for the next 24 hours. 
  I wondered how he managed that, because he drove to Louisville from his home in Indianapolis in a beautiful 1974 Grand Prix SJ. It was hard to drive a classic Formula and feel bad that my Grand Prix didn’t make it. I survived!

Bill Porter felt that functional twin scoops used on the Formula hood were better suited to the Trans Am, instead of the backward-facing shaker hood scoop.
Bill Porter knew that functional twin scoops, used on the Formula hood, were proven to work, and better suited to the Trans Am, instead of the backward-facing shaker hood scoop that Pontiac used on the T/As.

Drag racing Ponchos  
  I don’t even remember which night we went to the Ohio Valley Dragway and enjoyed a night of racing. There were a few different classes. The staging lanes were heavy on Pontiacs due to the POCI show. I prefer heads-up to anything. It must have been the first night, because a local racer, driving a 1973 LeMans, noticed that we were with the large Pontiac contingent. He told us about a 1977 Grand Prix in a salvage yard back in Louisville. Naturally, that was our first stop the next day.

Pontiacs could be fuond all over Kentucky, included the nearest drag strip, during the 2015 POCI show.
Pontiacs could be found all over Kentucky, including the nearest drag strip, during the 2015 POCI show. This 1957 Chieftain gasser carries the Pontiac banner proudly.

The ’57 Poncho bests the ’67 Firebird at the line.
Pontiacs racing, 30 miles south of the POCI show in Louisville, at the Ohio Valley Dragway. The ’57 Poncho bests the ’67 Firebird at the line.

Day 2: Pontiac in a junkyard
  Day two began when the salvage yard opened. The Junkyard Life crew, consisting of Anthony, Scott, Jody, and myself, had a Grand time. So to speak. Scott actually went home with some of that Grand time. The Starlight Black ’77 GP had a few parts that Scott couldn’t leave without. 

Junkyard Life In our best "Grease" pose.
Junkyard Life in our best "Grease" pose. Left to right, Jody Potter, Ron Kidd (waving), Scott Scheel, and Anthony Powell.

SRI has a pull your own parts yard with several older vehicles.
The 1977 Pontiac Grand Prix donated its roof to a recent parts puller. The SRI yard had several older vehicles in stock.

Finger-licking food 
  After a 2-hour junkyard jaunt, the crew zipped back to the hotel for the Grand Prix Chapter of Pontiac Oakland Club meeting. A meeting sounds boring, but they were talking about Grand Prixs and road trips. I actually became a club member and look forward to hanging with these guys in the future. We joined them for “The Road Warrior” cruise with several Pontiacs to Claudia Sanders Dinner House in Shelbyville, Kentucky. Founded by Colonel Harland Sander, of KFC fame, and his wife, the beautiful, equestrian-themed restaurant has wonderful food in a southern setting.

The big black 1966 Pontiac could not be missed with flawless paint and picturesque setting.
A 1966 Pontiac Grand Prix, part of the POCI Road Warriors cruise, found a parking spot in front of Claudia Sanders Dinner House in Shelbyville, Kentucky.

 Day 3 - Part I: Really big show
  Day three found us at the Kentucky Exposition Center knee deep in nice Pontiacs. The cars did not disappoint. Incredible survivors and concours restorations covered the place. Rare combos and every Pontiac imaginable was represented.
  Our cameras were on overload. I heard some complaints that the lighting was “too good,” or perhaps created a reflective state that made it difficult to photograph cars without spots. I loved it. It created an “autorama” effect in our photos that I appreciated.
  Day three only got better. It was time to head home, right? Or… or, we could go further north into Indiana for more Pontiac fun?

A beautiful Candy Apple red 1957 Pontiac wagon takes the floor at POCI show.
Big Pontiacs, small Pontiacs and everything in between could be found at the 2015 POCI show in Louisville. Above, a 1957 Pontiac wagon commands attention.
Two Judge convertibles in black paint, one featuring a white top, one with a black top.
Two 1969 Pontiac GTO Judge convertibles, both in black. One features a white top, the other a black top.

Day 3 - Part II: Trans Am epicenter
  Thanks to Scott Scheel, Junkyard Life was invited to tour the Steve Hamilton’s private Firebird/Trans Am collection. Since I was the stowaway without wheels in Louisville, I got to ride with Scott in one of my dream cars… his 1974 Grand Prix SJ with a 455 and a tachometer. Good stuff.
  Steve Hamilton got bit by a Bird a long time ago, and he never got over it. He has the largest Bird’s nest we have ever seen. We all own Firebirds. We all own more than one Bird. But, if you put all of our Birds together, it would not amount to a fraction of this collection.
  Despite our drooling problems, Hamilton let our motley crew into his Bird’s nest with cameras. I can’t begin to describe the next two hours. Formulas, Trans Ams, Birds with birds on the hood, Birds without birds on their hood, 4-speeds, 5-speeds, 6-speeds, Super Duties. All our favorite editions, Honeycombs , Snowflakes, they were all present. We really couldn’t believe our eyes.

Hamilton has a very large collection of running Pontiac Trans Ams, possibly the largest in the world.
Steve Hamilton, third from right, has a very large collection of running Pontiac Trans Ams, possibly the largest in the world. Hamilton graciously gave us a first-class tour. Details will soon be featured on the site.

So many combos

  As luck would have it, Jody is debating what color combo to go with on his 1970 Formula 400, and this Firebird overload didn’t help. He wanted them all. Imagine mentioning a color combination and Mr. Hamilton pointing to one. I am experiencing some degree of writer’s block trying to even tell you my favorite. That is impossible. I would have to go top ten. Only, that is impossible too. I have a poster of the 1976 Goldenrod Yellow Formula advertisement. Hamilton had an actual ’76 W-50 Formula in yellow. He wins!
  This was yet another experience that we will never forget. A heartfelt “Thank You” goes out, from us, to Mr. Hamilton. We regained our composure enough after the Trans Am tour to realize that we had pushed dinner late into in the evening. We were lucky to find a restaurant still open, and lucky that Mr. Hamilton joined us for more Pontiac conversation. A great time indeed!

Dinosaur toys were discovered during our latest junkyard trek.
Junkyard brothers unite in Louisville at the pull-your-own parts yard. Powell, Kidd, Scheel, and Potter.

End of the road
  Day three ended at Scott’s house where we partied as much as four exhausted Pontiac nuts could. I slept in a room with over 2000 LP records. Beneath me was Scott’s vast Pontiac collection. It was Ron Kidd overload. I wondered if I had died, and if this is what Heaven would be like?
  The next day we headed back to Alabama wondering if we just dreamed that whole weekend? Thank you, Scott. We had a great time and look forward to next year. We double dog dare you to try to top that!

Ron Kidd
—Junkyard Life


McIntosh led the design of the down-sized Grand Prix design in 1978.
Former GM designer, David McIntosh, left, gets a closer look at Anthony Powell’s 1979 Grand Prix. McIntosh’s designs were featured on the Grand Prix redesign in 1978.

POCI show wouldnt have been the same without the comraderie of junkyard friends.
POCI road trip characters grabbing BBQ in Louisville at Mark’s Feed Store Bar-B-Q. (left-to-right) Potter, Kidd, Scheel, Powell, and Hamilton.
The 2015 POCI show road trip wouldn’t have been the same without the camaraderie of junkyard friends. Get out there, enjoy, and do something!

Know a junkyard that we need to visit? Tips for our projects? 
Send emails to Jody Potter at or Ron Kidd at

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

1973 Dodge Charger: Designs on a Mopar dream that hits the muscle car heart strings

Black and white 340 equipped 1973 Dodge Charger has been customized with 1972 model hideaway headlights.

Dodge my heart. When someone says, “Coke bottle,” they usually mean a popular bottle of carbonated soda synonymous with dining and refreshment. They don’t intend to make me think of Dodge Chargers, when they say that, because they didn’t say the word “design,” although that is what I hear in my head…
  ”Coke bottle design.” 
  I am not sure if that was even a Mopar-condoned phrase? However, it was dangerously close to encroaching on copyright infringement.

Dirty, barn fresh cars look cool, especially Mopars painted black.
This black and white 1973 go-getter was an oddly optioned 340 engine car with the bulged hood I love so much.

340 engine option, console DOdge Charger.
The 340 engine, with bucket seats and a console, was a step above the standard 318 and column shift base model. I find it odd that this Charger had the options, but was not an S.E. I actually made an offer on this one, so keep your fingers and toes crossed for me! I want this Dodge Charger car.

Shaped like a dream
  Maybe, it is my own fault for spreading the phrase like a mantra of sorts? Having purposefully not done any research on the origin, I wish to throw this out there as food-for-car-guy-thought. I bet the first time anyone stood behind the new for 1968 Dodge Charger and saw the lines and curves of that body, the phrase was born. Parenthetically, I do believe it was more than that. I think using the Coke’s packaging as an adjective was a nice way of putting it. This was downright curvy like Jeannie’s bottle. Really more like Jeannie herself. What attracts us to the lines of that car? What makes women envious of Dodge’s design victory of 1968? Put it together, people. Come on. 
  Okay, I will say it. The 1968 Dodge Charger… she’s kinda hot. 

In the blood
  My grandfather was a Dodge guy. He bought a 1974 Charger S.E off the showroom floor. But, it wasn’t all his idea. My grandmother had to have the car. It wasn’t a four door. She didn’t care. It didn’t get great fuel mileage. She didn’t care. It did however have a V-8, strikingly red paint and a black vinyl top. For that, she cared. So, then along came me... and I cared too. That is why I have a soft spot for this era Charger 1971-to-1974. I love them. The “Coke bottle” inspiration, from the 1968-1970 models, remains.

This 1973 Charger caught me off guard. If you are thinking 1972 model because of the hidden head lamp option. We are both right! It is a 1973 Charger with 1972 issue head lights!

Make room for a Mopar
  On a recent photo shoot we found the Mopar stash of a lifetime. I could not help but burn up my camera and part of Jody’s. Why do we do this to each other? I knew I wasn’t looking for another project to take residence here at the Junkyard Life shop, or at our Top Secret Undisclosed Storage Facility. We have plenty of things to do! Including, find a place for a few Chargers that I wanted:

This banana-flavored 1974 Charger was probably an OSHA approved color. You cannot claim to not have seen this one coming. This one, although still not an S.E, was a great find.

I imagine the Yellow (Y1 or is it lime?) Charger with a few subtle flat black pin stripes to break up the lime a little.

This 1972 Charger was really in the weeds. I declared this point. “Boys, I’m going in!” So I did. I Indiana Jonesed my way to what I think may have been a Rallye Charger.

I bled a little to get this ’72 interior photo. But, it paid off when I discovered the bucket seats and console package. Score!

Remember that Junkyard Life story where we found a yearbook photo of a Charger S.E from a Birmingham area high school and wondered about the availability of the giant sunroof? Well, we found one! This 1973 or 1974 Charger answered roll call today. Check this out... an S.E (note the slotted side glass) and a... wait for it...

Gigantic Sunroof! Thank you, Dodge! I bet this car was amazing fun and I hope it will be a fun ride again, someday soon.

A Rallye stripe adorned one of the many Dodge Chargers in the brush.

Climbing over and through thick patches of thorns was required to get a closer look at most of the Mopars.

This 1969 Dodge Charger sports a luggage rack, a factory option I celebrate now. Why? Because the rack was a factory equipment and people hated them, thus removing them or not paying money for them, in the first place. Luggage racks were a family-car-thing-oriented-option that many felt did not belong on a Charger. So, if it was uncool then, Junkyard Life loves them now. Don’t even get us started on station wagons. With this “Coke bottle design” (there is that phrase again) it is hard to imagine anything on a 1969 Charger that is uncool. This picture does not properly convey the lines and contours of this body. Wow.

Dodge dreaming
Thanks for reading along on our Charger fantasy. Hopefully, these complete examples will be back on the road again soon. If I have anything to do with it, that black 1973 Charger will be mine. Oh yes. Mine! Did you ever imagine the JYL guys in a Mopar? Well, we have been fantasizing about it all day!

Ron Kidd
— Junkyard Life

Ron Kidd’s Dodge Charger Fun Facts: 
  1. The first Chargers introduced in 1966 are rumored to be an answer to the “pony” car craze. The mucho sales dominating Ford Mustang was offered in a popular Fastback body style. A Mustang is a wild fast horse. What could outrun or at least outclass a Mustang? Another horse of higher reform and pedigree perhaps? Something royal, and powerful, usually ridden by knights? The embodiment of literary equestrian transportation*? The fine Arab Chargerhence, the Dodge Charger was born.
  2. Chargers were introduced as “leaders in the Dodge rebellion” I say mainly because the designers were fraught with doubting Thomases telling them the fastback design was not going to work with the public. Oh, they were so wrong. 
  3. “Look at it from where you may, you won't find an ungainly or awkward aspect — proof of the Dodge Charger's superiority in styling." — Motor Trend, January 1966. (One of many Charger facts found on
  4. Ron’s Grandmother overheard some stuffy, affluent woman saying the name of her car, and from that point forward, she would only say the words, “Charger,” by slightly turning her head, half-closing her eyes and mocking the woman. “Chaaarjah”
  5. Dodge continued the Charger nameplate for a few years with a body style change for 1975. They were basically a Chrysler Cordoba with Charger emblems. They did, however, have a time period of weird interiors adorned with shag carpet and plaid upholstery. Things went from bad to worse. Carroll Shelby attempted to wake up the nameplate during the mid 1980’s. He built a way cool Dodge Daytona Shelby version with stripes and a high winding 2.2 litre 4-cylinder engine. Fun, yes, but many argued it should not have been dubbed with the sacred Charger nomenclature.

* Editor’s note: Never before have we used the phrase, “The embodiment of literary equestrian transportation,” and we probably never will again. At least, I hope we don’t.

Know a junkyard that we need to visit? Tips for our projects? 
Send emails to Jody Potter at or Ron Kidd at