Reader’s Ride: Chris Gibbany’s 1974 Charger

Written by on September 21, 2016

My name is Chris and I was a Chevy addict. Three years ago that changed when I admitted to my husband Gabe that I wanted a Mopar. Thinking that this might end in divorce, I was happy to hear that he wanted one, too! I set a goal to own a Mopar by the time I turned 41. The car I had dreamed about for years was a Dodge Challenger. On July 1, 2013, I sold my 1981 Corvette and we drove 10 hours to purchase a 1973 Challenger that was painted Panther Pink. When we got there, the car was in such poor shape for the huge asking price that we walked away.

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That sent me into a month-long depression, as all of the other Challengers I found were out of my price range. I decided that I had to open up to the possibilities of other Mopars if I was going to meet my deadline. Gabe had spotted a 1974 Charger listed on Craigslist that he referred to as a “hidden gem.” When we arrived, I saw potential in the car. My paint and bodyman Jim Crabb agreed to work on it for me. The car had been painted white and had a vinyl top that had completely rusted the roof, a blown tire had destroyed the driver’s rear quarter-panel, and it had velour seats. I knew that I could build a nice car with the money I made from selling the Corvette, so just two days before my birthday I decided to “settle” on this Charger.

Besides the roof skin, the car was very solid. Once we got it home, we discovered it had Hotchkis front and rear sway bars, Hedman headers, a 2 1/2-inch dual exhaust system, stainless brake hoses, Mopar performance cam, Crane gold roller rockers, and a quick-ratio steering box. It was a complete running and driving car with a 360 small-block, 727 automatic transmission, and an 8 3/4 3.23-gear Sure Grip posi.

My goal was to build a true 1970s-era car that resembled a fullsize Hot Wheels car. I was originally going to have the car painted Plum Crazy but decided to go with Green Go. I just love the retro styling from the 1970s: skinnier wheels up front, white-letter tires, splash guards/mudflaps, spoilers, and lots of eye appeal. When my painter did a complete color change, I also had him spray the dash and console top plate green, which really ties the car together. I put American Racing Outlaw wheels on, wrapped them in Cooper Cobra tires, and then added rear splash guards.

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Gabe reupholstered my front seats with new covers from Legendary. I purchased the Rallye side stripes, hood stencil, rear Go-Wing, and a front spoiler, which gives the car its Hot Wheels stance. Jim Davis from Davis Upholstery put the new vinyl top on, and we painted all trim pieces black including the opera windows. I had the “Super Charger” emblems custom made by Givan Mack, who owns Alpha Emblems. My goal is to eventually add a supercharger to my Super Charger!

I just had my blue Chevy Bowtie tattoo covered up with a Mopar tattoo. I am officially all Mopar; in 2014 I shocked everyone when I sold my 1978 Z/28 after 23 years (appeared in Readers’ Rides, Dec. 2015) and purchased a 1973 Rallye Challenger. While my original goal was to own a Corvette before I turned 30, I ended up owning three of them before I turned 29. I bought my first Vette, a 1981, on minimum wage, and I have now turned that investment into a supersweet 1974 Dodge Charger. Most people don’t like the third-generation (1971-1974) Chargers, but I have built a car that grabs people’s attention.

Source: hotrod.com

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