The Dodge Company


I remember my first car a 1971 Dodge Challenger. She was metallic green with a white vinyl roof. A 340 four barrel pushing 275 horsepower mated to a slapstick 3 speed automatic and a positraction rear end. Which meant to my eager 18-year-old ears I could burn out both rear wheels at once.

I remember the guy who sold it to me bragging about how he would race it up the highway and do spin outs on icy roads. At the time this was a selling point. A more mature self would have translated that to "I beat the crap out of this car I hope you have a lot more money to spend".

But I was all emotion and the gleaming metallic paint job and rumbling engine destroyed all semblance of logic. In fact I was so green I bought the car 3 weeks before I passed my driver test. Need less to say I ended up spending a lot more then the $1000.00 to purchase the car.

It wasn't entirely the fault of the seller that I had to spend so much on repairing and maintaining the challenger. I did my fair share of burnouts, racing, and general beating of my poor car.

I remember my girlfriend's stepfather warning me he knew it I was squealing the tires at the end of the street every time I left. Then telling me I'd better stop this behavior or I wouldn't be taking her anywhere. Good thing he never heard about how I almost killed my girlfriend and I the first night I drove the car.

We were driving back from Alice Lake to the highway. The road to the highway gets really twisty just before the turn off. It was dark and raining and I was going a bit faster then I should have. I lost control just before entrance to the left turn lane.

The car spun a full 180 and the rear wheel smashed against the island and threw the back end of the car up on top. Just as the car was spinning a Greyhound bus came flying past. If I hadn't spun out we would have T-boned the bus driving past at around 70 MPH. For some reason my girlfriend never trusted me fully in the drivers seat afterwards.

That wasn't the last time my teenage bulletproof delusions took me close to the edge in my metallic green challenger. Somehow I managed not to injure others or myself. The car however didn't fair too well. On the outside it was immaculate.

The inside was another story. I ended up selling it a couple of years later for $1300.00. I met the buyer a while later and he told me that he hated me for selling him that car. Later I saw it for the last time. Someone had painted it a bright fire engine red. I wonder if it's still driving around somewhere or if it’s someone's washing machine. I hope it's the former.

This sudden rush of nostalgia came to me when I saw a picture of the new Challenger coming out in 2008. Since then I've been telling my wife that it's my mid life crisis car. I'm a lot safer driver now so she wouldn't have to worry about greyhound buses on rainy nights.

So all I'll need is the money (lottery ticket, inheritance, bag falling out of an armored truck) and then next year I'll sit in my Hemi Challenger, start up the engine and say to myself I remember my first car.

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