When I turned 16, I got my driver’s licence with my dad’s Dodge Colt. He was kind enough to let me drive it, but it was hardly the car I wanted to be seen driving in front of my friends. Then I spotted the ad that made my heart flutter: 1973 DODGE CHALLENGER 340, GOOD SHAPE, $2,300.
It was more than I could afford; my part-time job as a grocery clerk paid $3.25 per hour. Convincing my dad was another hurdle. “You don’t want that car—you’ll break your neck,” he said. “Besides, it’s probably a gas-guzzler.”
Eventually, I persuaded him to look at it with me. We walked into a poorly lit garage and were both disappointed. There was a nasty dent on the right-front fender, scrapes here and there, and it was covered with more dirt than my mom had in her garden. But the engine sounded great. We took it for a spin and thought it might be worth fixing. I kicked in $1,000 and my dad lent me the rest. (He really was the best.)
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Check out this AMA member’s first car
The bodywork and metallic gold paint turned out awesome. It also had a gold vinyl roof and white interior. The car came with high-performance Cragar S/S wheels, but it needed new shocks and exhaust. Every nickel I earned packing groceries went into that car: a new stereo, CB radio and the finest ’70s gold carpet. I must’ve used gallons of Armor All, shining everything up to cruise around Stony Plain. Was I broke? Yes. Was it worth it? Absolutely! Every minute of every mile.
AMA member Greg Turlock parted ways with his beloved Challenger in 1980 and now gets around Parkland County in his Honda CRV.
WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST?
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