Don't Fear the Repo
On the way to Costco to get some petrol last night, I happened to pass the Citizen's Equity Federal Credit Union used vehicle sales lot in East Peoria. Around here, we call it the "CEFCU Repo Lot", since that's pretty much what it is. For folks that got in over their head with a vehicle loan, or life happened and they couldn't keep up...this is the boulevard of broken dreams. It appears that most people's dreams are 2008 Chevy Impalas or 2011 Mazda 3 sports.
My advice: Dream Bigger.
Occasionally I'll check out what they have behind the barbed wire in the off chance that it'll be some late model Shelby GT500 or SRT-10 pickup, but last night this Plum Crazy Purple 1974 Dodge Challenger was front and center. I pulled a u-turn and scampered back there to see what's what.
At first glance, the 1974 Challenger looks similar to the 1972 model, but this year's Hamtramck-built beauty featured a few additional safety features such as retractable seat belts and a seat belt ignition interlock that forced you to buckle up if you wanted to start the car. The federally-mandated 1973-spec 5 mph bumpers don't look too bad on this car. I'll admit Mopar did a better job of concealing these than GM or Ford.
Aftermarket Cragar wheels complete the 70's muscle car vibe and although the R/T striping package looks factory, it isn't. According to what I've found, there was no R/T offering that year, which means someone called Year One and ordered a set for an earlier car. It looks good on it, I'll admit that.
The window sticker notes the car has a 440 V-8 motor, which is a great powerplant. Sadly, its not original to the car. In 1974 Chrysler only sprang for two engine options: their 318 or 360 V-8. The result was a rather anemic large car. The 440 was added at some point to put this car on par with Kowalski's from Vanishing Point. The truth is, less than 20,000 of these cars sold in 1974. The shininess of the muscle car had worn off on the American public as the 'free ride' came to a screeching halt. Insurance companies clamped down on high horsepower, baby boomers had babies and needed a back seat, and gas started costing real money during that time. Chrysler brass axed the Dodge Challenger after this model year, only to return it in 2008 as a retro model. Blech.
Even if its sporting a non-original motor and stripes package, I still felt bad seeing it sit behind a prison fence. The poor thing just wants to be set free & party like its 1974. $13,000 is too rich for my blood, so I left with my hat in hand, feeling that a conjugal visit was in order. Credit unions allow those, don't they?
Call the governor, and ask for clemency for this Challenger.