Built With Speedway Motors: Shaun's '73 Charger
Old cars always have a story to tell, and we love hearing them. This is the first in a new series that we're calling "Customer Cars", where we let you tell your story. Below is the epic saga of Shaun's '73 Charger, told in his own words.
It began in the summer of 1990. I was 10 years old, flipping through the tv and came across this beautiful orange car with a flag on the roof and an 01 on the door. I was in love. Once I figured out what it was I just knew I would own one someday. I grew up loving the Dukes of Hazzard and the Dodge Charger.
Fast forward to 1999. I’m 19 years old and determined to find a 68-70 Dodge Charger. I look and look and look some more, but can’t find one in my price range. So I quit looking. I figured it was just always gonna be a dream. Well, one day I was on my way to work and grabbed a local paper. I saw an ad for a Dodge Charger for sale locally. Problem was, it said 1973 not 1968-1970. Not my dream car, but a Charger nonetheless. To me Charger meant muscle, so I went and checked it out. It was a numbers matching 318/904/8.25 bench seat column shift 2 door hard top. I was in awe when I first laid my eyes on it.
I went to the local bank and they gave me a loan to purchase my car. I was now the owner of a 1973 Dodge Charger and I was in love. It was loud, and to a 19 year old kid the little 318 seemed super-fast. I drove it daily for 2 years, then life happened and I had to sell it. I was sick with myself. My dream was gone.
I went on to own 4x4's and Mustangs, but nothing was near the same as my Charger. 12 years go by and I am now married to my soulmate and we have 3 amazing children, just living life. One day we were driving around lost looking for our oldest daughter at a friend’s house. We come to a 4 way stop and I’m checking traffic. I look left, right, and back left. Something to the right caught my eye. IT WAS MY CHARGER!
I knocked on the door and said "Hey that’s my car. Is it for sale?" The owner said yes, and I resolved to find a way to own it again. I explained my story with the car, and he allowed me to make payments. With my wife’s brilliance, we were able to fit the payments into our already tight budget.
I brought it home and when we made the final payment, he handed me the title. My name was still on it! It was never transferred. This car was meant to be. I knew I couldn’t fix it up because of family and budget, but it was mine. I didn’t care if it just sat, just owning it again was awesome. I started to join Mopar groups on Facebook and forums to see what I could squeeze in cheap.
Then, in November of 2014, I fell 20' at work. I spent 10 days in the ICU, 4 months in a hospital bed and a wheelchair at the house. I had shattered my femur and pelvis, fractured my wrist, elbow, and tail bone, and herniated 5 discs in my lower back. My dream was put on hold yet again. I now not only needed to take care of myself, but my family as well.
I was moved to workman’s comp and had just enough money to barely pay my bills and keep my family fed. But I was determined to not just sit in bed or the wheelchair and feel sorry for myself. I was going to do something. I was able to do little things from my wheelchair like rebuild the carburetor and, with the help of my amazing wife, even got the gas tank dropped and cleaned.
Then, people started noticing my accident on social media. A lot of amazing people stepped up from the forums and donated old parts that I would restore to use or sell to buy parts that I really needed. I even had help getting the complete dash and interior removed and brought into the living room. I went through the wiring and dyed the interior black thanks to the donation from SEM Products. I was given some old Chrysler cop car wheels, which was awesome because the car had 4 different wheels before.
It was ugly, and my wife told me if it was going to sit in the driveway, I needed to paint it. It was spray painted lime green and yellow, so I spray can primed it black. Then, while roaming through the Facebook group one day a guy offered to paint it for $800.00. I was interested, but I needed to save up the money. Then my mother surprised me and said she would pay to paint it for me!
I was in awe. The car was picked up by the painter, and as he worked we realized that it had more body damage than we thought. He blew through the budget and we still didn’t have any paint or clear coat. Back to the drawing board.
I explained what happened in a Facebook Mopar group called Directly Connected. One day I came home to a package on my front door. I opened it and it was my paint. There was a note and all it said was "You have been Directly Connected".
We finally got the car painted a year later. I’m on my second year of recovery and have been through 4 surgeries, learned to walk again and come out of a depression. I’m currently trying to piece together a 360 because the 318 on its last leg with 4 collapsed lifters on a 20 year old rebuild.
With determination, commitment, faith, and help ANYTHING can be done and dreams can come true. I never thought in a million years when I sold my first car that I would ever see it again. It has taken me years just to get it here with a lot of struggles, almost no money and tons of roadblocks. But I’ve never given up.
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