It Made Sense To Me

To whom it may concern:

In 1969 I purchased my first car.  It was a brand new 1969 Dodge Charger R/T  SE.  Blue with black leather interior, black vinyl roof.  383 four-barrel with posi-traction.  8-track stero am/fm radio.  Power windows.  Purchased it at Lynnway Dodge for $3305.  Fantastic car!

Now the ’69 Charger is not the car that Steve McQueen chases in BULLITT.  That was a ’68.  The ’69 is what the Dukes had down in Hazzard.  The Dukes car was orange colored, a color you could not get from the factory.  Go figure.  I have heard that they wrecked a lot of cars during that show, but there are still a few around.  I have one.

No, not the one I bought in 1969.  I wish.  No, that one is long gone.  This 1969 Charger that I have now I purchased in 1992 from a couple of guys in Derry – policemen at the time if memory serves – who bought it from a kid who was just racing it at local tracks.  They bought it to restore it, but had not yet begun to, and it needed lots of work.  It was a mess.  They decided to sell it when they had the chance to pick up either a Challenger or a Barracuda, I forget, which interested them more.  So I bought it – and it wasn’t cheap – with the intent that I would restore it.  That was 1992.  The project still goes on.

The car just had primer so it needed a new paint job.  The interior seats were vinyl, ripped and filthy.  The rug was thread-bare, door panels tattered, dash instruments useless.  Headliner held chipmunk nests.  The engine fired up and ran pretty good, but needed work.  Total exhaust system needed.  Transmission worked, but would fail in two years.  Body was in pretty good shape.  Brakes were non-existent.

I had the car towed to a car repair shop in North Londonderry near where my business was located.  I knew this was going to be a long, expensive project, but I didn’t really care.  I just wanted to drive that car.  That was the thing.  Just drive the car.

So I pondered what I should do first with my limited resources.  The car really needed to be painted.  I mean, who drives around in a car that just has primer on it?  But if I put my money into a paint job I still would not be able to drive it.  I thought about a whole new interior.  Red rug, white upholstery and door panels.  White headliner.  Looking good!  But I still would not be able to drive it.  It would be nice to have all the gauges working properly, but certainly did not need them to drive the car around town.  The exhaust sytem would need to be done eventually, but the high performance 340 with headers in the car was loud even with a good exhaust, so what was a little more noise?

The decision on what to do first was really a no-brainer.  The brakes.  With the brakes done, I could drive the car.  So that’s what I did.  $970 later, with a whole new brake system front to back, I drove the car home.  And during that Summer of ’92 drove it around a little bit.  And as the years have gone by, the car has gotten a new exhaust system, 2 re-built transmissions, a new rug, headliner and interior, which I will replace this year.  8-track tape and speakers.  Bright red paint, which I may change to blue this year.  It’s a money pit, but I love to drive it.  And it still runs pretty good.

I think that is the way with all projects.  There are always different ways to do things, but if you know what your real needs are you should know what the first step will be.


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