From Beginning to Now
I first saw this car in the spring of 1998, when I was a senior in high school, and we (auto mechanics class) took a trip to a local community college. The car was sitting in the shop of the auto paint/body class. The car was gold... but the engine bay was already painted black and was being prepared for the exterior to be painted as well. I found out that it belonged to the shop teacher.
After I graduated high school, I went to the same community college, just at a different location... where I took all of my academic classes... then decided to take the Auto Paint/Body course, where I saw the Charger a couple years before. By this point, the car was complete and my shop teacher would occasionally drive it to school... and would rotate with the other cars in his collection.
With my shop teacher, everything was for sale. After graduating in the spring of 2002, and getting a job at the body shop where I still work today, I kept working on my other projects. But I starting thinking about the ‘66 Charger that he had. I asked if he would be willing to sell it. He gave me a price and I bought the car in the spring of 2004. After taking possession of the car, I changed a few things here and there, but kept it pretty much how it was. I drove the car everywhere! On nice days, I would take it to work... take it to church... take it to the grocery store... when I was bored at my apartment, I’d go driving just to get out. I wouldn’t hesitate to drive it to car shows that were 3-4 hours away. The only problem it ever gave me was a flat tire 20 minutes from home on the way back from a car show that was 3 hours away. My girlfriend (at the time, now my wife) enjoyed taking the car everywhere we went.
In the fall of 2006, I sold the car in order to have some money to buy a ring for my wife... and to have a little bit of money to find ourselves a house. She didn’t know the real reason that I sold the car... but after finding out, she wished that I wouldn’t have done it. The car left Mississippi and went up to Connecticut. That guy kept it for just a short time before Selling it to a guy in New York. Then that guy sold it to another guy on Long Island, NY.
In Dec. 2009 I was at home casually browsing Chargers on Craigslist. I wasn’t really looking to buy amounting, just seeing what was out there. Then I stumbled on an ad for a ‘66 in NY. It looked just like my car, except this car had black interior, and mine had tan interior... but everything else was exactly like my old car. The ad even said that the car came from the south a few years back. So I called the guy and told him that I thought it could be my old car. I asked if he had the VIN on hand. He walked out to the garage and called it out... sure enough, it was my old car! Thankfully, I kept the registration paperwork from when I first bought it. So we worked a deal and I sent a transporter to pick it up and bring it home.
The car arrived with a punctured fuel tank and a ripped muffler (happened during transport) so that was the first thing I needed to replace. I noticed that the car suffered a few scratches, dings, and rust bubbles during its short time in the north east. It didn’t matter... I was just glad to get the car back. But it wasn’t all bad... while spending time up north, the front end was rebuilt, the car got all new brakes, they ditched the 8 1/4 rear end in favor of an 8 3/4 with 3.73 gears, they replaced the tan interior with black interior, it got a new windshield, rebuilt the trans, and completely went through the engine. All for $2500 more than what I sold it for. I call it fair enough.
The first NY owner did all the work, and from what I understood, he would occasionally run it through the 1/8 mile. So when it arrived, it was fun having a little bit more of a hot rod, compared to the mild 360 that it was running before... but this also made the car less reliable and more of a hassle to keep running as it should. This car LOVES to driven wide open... but absolutely hates to sit in any kind of stop/go traffic. Trust me, it’s a blast to punch it... but I also always enjoyed cruising in it. I love the sound of the .590 lift cam thumping along... but it isn’t very practical.
So now my goal is to tone it back a notch... still leaving it pretty healthy... but more reliable. I may knock the cam down a little bit. The intake/heads/exhaust really flow well, so I can’t knock it back too much. I want to go with the Holley Sniper Stealth EFI, HyperSpark distributor and ignition control. And I’d also like to switch it over to an overdrive transmission setup. And ever since my wife first rode in the car, she’s always wished that it at A/C... so I may try adding that as well.