1973 Dodge Charger 318 from North America

Summary:

Dependable, comfortable performance and style

Faults:

When I bought this car, it was in essence little more than a rolling chassis. The original 318 had been replaced by a junk 360, and I subsequently replaced that with an overhauled 318 from my '71 Barracuda when I installed a 340 in it. However, I have put 90,000 miles on my overhaul job, so it has held up well.

The A904 Torqueflite transmission was damaged when I bought the car, and on cold mornings it had trouble going into reverse and would slip on the 2-3 shift. Even so, I drove it like that for over 30,000 miles and it held up. I finally had the transmission rebuilt around 2003.

I have owned this car for so long, since 1987, that most things have been replaced or repaired at one time or another, with the possible exception of the rear differential. I have replaced the ball joints, steering gearbox, starter, radiator, driveshaft, brake rotors, brake cylinders, gas tank sending unit, starter relay, and voltage regulator (3 times -- it eats them on average every 30,000 miles).

After owning the car for almost 20 years, I took it to the body shop as a reward for faithful service in 2005. It was stripped to bare metal, dents removed/filled, repainted, new vinyl top, new chrome accents. It finally looked as good as it deserved to.

General Comments:

Despite the laundry list of repairs, this has been a great car, and has taken me to every important place I ever had to go. When I bought it, I was only 19 and found it in California in beater condition. I installed the overhauled 318 and drove it like that for 30,000 miles with no problems, up until 2001. During that time, it took me to college and graduate school, and was a good, dependable car that cost me no money on upkeep. The 30,000 miles in 14 years meant that some years it sat in a shed, and other years I drove it several thousand miles.

After 2001 when I had a good job, that is when all the repairs started because I could finally indulge my desire to make the car as nice as I always wanted it to be. I also began driving it a lot more, putting 60,000 miles on it between 2001 and 2012. In the mid-2000s I was taking it on a 1,000-mile road trip every summer and putting 7-8,000 miles per year on it. This car has been to the Atlantic coast, Pacific coast, the Canadian border, Mexican border, and every place in between.

This car has been dependable and comfortable, turns heads everywhere it goes, and makes you happy to see it.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 16th April, 2013