JULY 2021: 1973 CHARGER—IT’S WITHIN FOUR YEARS OF A GOLDEN ANNIVERSARY

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Some guys get rid of a car within a few years, so they essentially drive nearly new cars forever.

Other guys tend to keep their cars for more than a few more years and then they sell because the car is essentially miled-out.

Then there are the guys who hang on to their cars so long they celebrate a golden anniversary with them—this Charger is four years away from that milestone with its owner.

JERRY SUTHERLAND

Bill Harr was looking for a good used car back in 1975 when he spotted a 1973 Charger on a dealer’s lot. He was twenty at the time and this car looked like a great replacement for his first car—a ’65 Chevy. The mid-70s were hard on muscle cars for resale value, but this Charger came with a far more modest 318 cubic inch LA V-8 under the hood.

The Charger had an honest 20,000 miles on it, so Bill knew it had many more years left if he looked after it. He almost traded it in for a ’76 GMC, but he wasn’t impressed with the offers for his Charger, so he kept it. The car kept its role as a daily driver—primarily with Bill’s new bride behind the wheel because he had the GMC.

The roles did switch eventually when Bill’s wife became pregnant and she couldn’t quite squeeze behind the wheel of the Charger, so she drove his GMC pickup. The car did retire from daily driver status, but prior to that it served many roles—including a guest role as a star car (along with a ’74 Charger SE) in Bill’s sister’s wedding.

The early exit from an active role as a family car, plus a garage, really saved this Charger from a typical future as a rusty old car from the 70s. The car didn’t see many miles over the years because Bill admitted he “didn’t drive it much—just fairly short trips”.

Bill decided to treat his old car buddy to an upgrade a few years ago. He said there “was only a little rust after all that time”, so the cosmetic side of the project was relatively easy. Bill also did a little work on the front seats, but other than that, the Charger is essentially the same car he bought 46 years ago.

Bill runs a seven-day-a-week family business, so he admits that’s why the car still has only 70,000 miles on it. He’d love to drive it more, but his business takes a lot of his time so his runs are really short—he put only 20 miles on it last year.The bulletproof 318 and the equally strong Torqueflite transmission required nothing during the restoration process.  The only thing he hasn’t checked off the list is a repair on the factory air conditioning, but the rest of the car is 100% intact.  

 

He has taken the Charger to a few shows over the years—including a major Mopar meet. He said that was back in the 90s so the Charger “wasn’t a big deal at the time” but he said it has much more of an impact on people now. In fact, one guy pestered Bill to sell it but he said there’s no price on it because “it’s priceless”.

The other factor is his son and daughter. They grew up with the Charger and it’s a huge part of their lives, but neither one has a garage so it’s going to stay in Bill’s garage.     

Jerry Sutherland

By: Jerry Sutherland

Jerry Sutherland is a veteran automotive writer with a primary focus on the collector car hobby. His work has been published in many outlets and publications, including the National Post, Calgary Herald, Edmonton Journal, Ottawa Citizen, Montreal Gazette, Saskatoon StarPhoenix, Regina Leader-Post,  Vancouver Sun and The Truth About Cars. He is also a regular contributor to Auto Roundup Publications.

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