1973 dodge charger - Never Rusted Through Utah/Florida Car
- Location: Clermont, Florida, United States
- Condition: Used
- Make: Dodge
- Model: Charger
- Trim: SE Rallye
- Year: 1973
- Mileage: 97,000
- VIN: WH23M3G104435
- Color: Black
- Engine size: 400 ci Big Block
- Number of cylinders: 8
- Fuel: Gasoline
- Transmission: Manual
- Drive type: RWD
- Interior color: Black
- Vehicle Title: Clear
- Options: Leather Seats
1973 Dodge Charger SE Rallye overview
It drives great and is really fun to drive. The front end keeps its alignment (not surprising with as much work as we put into the front suspension). Over Thanksgiving we took it to the Turkey Rod & Run at Daytona Speedway to show it off. That was basically a two hour drive mixed between 75-80 MPH for an hour and a half on I-4, finished off with sitting in stop and go traffic around the speedway for half an hour. The car performed flawlessly. That was it's last time I actually drove it somewhere off my property and it is now January. The point is that the car drives great and is truly road-worthy, but we don't drive it much.
Originally a Utah car. We have over $30,000 in receipts for rebuild. Only about 10,000 miles put on it since the rebuild. Drives down highway at 80 miles per hour without shaking, pulling, or any other defects. Also, with the 5 speed manual, the car gets about 15-17 MPG at 70 MPH cruising.
This car has been driven carefully and not abused.
Here's the story: We bought this car off Ebay 4-5 years ago. It appeared to be all original, yellow with black rallye stripe, 400 Mag 2bbl engine, 727 torqueflite auto tranny. We drove it home from the parking lot where we met the car transporter and it ran pretty good. Over the next 4 years, we took it completely apart to clean, rebuild, and inspect. There were only two things that didn't come off the car; the rear axle/leaf springs and the dash board. Everything else came completely out and was rebuilt, replaced,or cleaned and reconditioned.
The engine block casting numbers showed that the engine was originally a 383 cubic inch from 1972. The machine shop bored the cylinders when reconditioning and made it a 400. The only difference between the 383 and 400 blocks was the bore. Both engines had same stroke and were the same wedge engines except for the bore. So, the 400 Magnum badge on the hood is in fact true.
The machine shop redid the heads with new valves and springs and all the usual procedures that a set of heads goes through at the shop. Also, since it had a forged crank in good shape, they just honed the journals, new pistons due to new bore, custom ground Erson cam, and so many little things that you'd just have to go over the shop receipt to see it (we have all receipts). The machine shop put the bottom end of engine back together leaving just some items on the top and accessories to install.
The engine compartment wiring harness and all wires are new. I also own a boat and know that wires can go bad over time (especially on a boat or old car), and they can be challenging to locate bad wires. So we just replaced the entire wiring harness under the hood to make sure we didn't have any problems. Even had new battery cables made up.
While the rear axle didn't come off the car, the rear end gears were completely replaced by Jungle Driveshafts (Leesburg, FL) with a limited slip 3:23 ratio gear set. Jungle Driveshafts also custom built the driveshaft and installed it along with the rear end. This was necessary because of the new Tremec 5 speed transmission.
The transmission kit came from Hurst Driveline Conversions, which specializes in changing from automatic to manual transmissions. The kit was the Tremec TKO 500 with Hurst Sidewinder Shifter and pistol grip (you can look it up online). It was over $5k for the parts. It came complete with the bell housing, new billet flywheel, performance pressure plate and clutch disc, hydraulic clutch, and even the super small high performance starter. The transmission shifts flawlessly. It was the thing that we were most concerned about when making the switch from auto to manual. We took every step to ensure that it shifted beautifully and it does just that. As the main mechanic said, "it shifts like butter."
Brakes are disk up front and drum in the rear. All redone. Car brakes great. Original calipers up front were in great shape, so we just replaced rotors, pads, etc. Rear drums were also in great shape so we just replaced pads etc.
The exhaust starts with a pair of Hedman ceramic coated shorty headers. The exhaust was custom made by S&G Exhaust in Minneola, FL. True dual 2.5" pipes all the way back.
Radiator is a Griffin Thermal Products brand all aluminum with dual electric fans and automatic electronic thermostat. This set up alone was over $1,200 in parts. J&D Automotive did the install.
As you should be able to understand by now, there was a lot of thought and care put into the drive train and mechanical soundness of this car.
Onto the body:
All body panels came off. There was absolutely no rust through or even surface rust when we got it. (Thank you Utah!) That (being rust-free) was my most stringent criteria when looking for this type of car to begin with. I knew we could always upgrade mechanical things, but I didn't want to mess with rust. There is a little body repair on the passenger front fender just in front of wheel well and just around the rear passenger wheel well to repair damage due to a tire blow-out. All those spaces where you normally see evidence of rust and repair on these cars are perfectly clean on this one. Rear windows, fender wells, inside trunk, floor panels, rocker panels, underbody, etc,. All in great shape. Now the underbody has some areas where the undercoating has been knocked off that are rust colored because it was exposed metal and got wet, but nothing more than you'd see on any car.
The paint job is OK/acceptable, but not a show car paint job. There is a small run of clear coat on the right front fender. The paint has never been sanded. In some places you can see some orange peel. From 10 feet away, it looks perfect. Up real close, you can find blemishes. It was painted with each piece disassembled, with quality paint from FinishMaster Automotive and has 3 coats of black and 3 coats of clear. While in the process of prepping it for paint, we found the following: The passenger side front fender had a wrinkle in it that we didn't know about until it was getting sanded down and some bondo was revealed there. That wrinkle was in front of the wheel well on the front passenger fender. Behind the wheel well did not have any bondo, so I would conclude it was a little fender bender. I didn't even know it was there until it was sanded down and revealed the bondo. Worst case scenario, if you wanted to, you could always replace that fender. It wasn't a big deal to me and I couldn't notice it.
Doors close perfectly. All window glass is original.
Interior front seats are Cipher brand bucket seats that are faux leather with 4 point Cipher seat belts. Since this car was driven around quite regularly since the rebuild, and we are pretty safety conscious, we thought that 4 point harnesses might offset not having airbags...
Rear bench seats were re-upholstered to match the black and white combo of the front seats and new headliner also put in by Orlando Auto Upholstery shop in Orlando, FL. Carpet replaced. The dash is the same because it was and is in excellent shape. Dash has NO cracks or warping and is still supple.
There is not a heater core in the car right now because we were getting ready to put in air conditioning unit. More on A/C later. There is a unit included.
Have original build sheet from under the rear seat.
The front grille does have a working electric motor to open and close the headlight covers. There is a toggle switch on the dash which operates the grille covers. This grille is from a 1971 Charger, but was sitting in the back seat of this car when I bought it. It bolted right into place using the same 4 bolt holes on the frame.
I do have the front and rear window original chrome. It is in the trunk. Didn't put it back on so anyone can see that there is not, and has not been any rust in the window channels. Also have the original windshield washer reservoir and squirt motor in trunk.
Radio: Original Radio is installed, but not hooked up. The antenna mount is installed on the passenger side front fender, but there is NO antenna rod actually screwed into that mount. All it would need is the actual screw-in antenna. I had it, but just can't find it!!! There are 3 new 6"x9" 3-way speakers installed. Two in rear package tray (behind rear seat, in window sill) and one in the center of the dashboard by windshield. They are wired, but not hooked up to anything. Again, we were in process of putting in A/C and radio when it came time to sell her. The dash board has NOT been hacked-up to install a radio.Dash: There are two small holes in the dash that were not original: 1. Hole for choke cable, and 2. Hole for power grille light cover switch. Both look like they belong there.
I have the full Air Conditioning package for the car (condenser, compressor, evaporator, ducts, electrical relays, controls, etc.) It is still in the box. It is included with the car. I also have a side view mirror for the passenger side that is new from Year One Restorations. Also included. Invoice cost on the A/C package was nearly $1,500 and I just bought this past July. Includes everything needed.
All 4 tires/wheels are the same size to allow for rotation. There is a picture of the tread. All 4 tires are in excellent condition with virtually all the original tread intact.
This is just an abbreviated list of the new parts:
Edelbrock 750 CFM Performer CarbEdelbrock Performer aluminum intake manifoldEdelbrock manual fuel pump
Erson Camshaft (custom ground per specs of machine shop - I have the spec sheet)
ARP engine bolts (all of them are new)
17" Aluminium WheelsP245-50-17 Z-rated General tires (still look like new)5 Speed Manual Transmission -Tremec TKO 500 with Hurst Sidewinder Shifter
Pressure Plate & Clutch plate
Timing chain and cover
3.23:1 Limited Slip Rear DifferentialHedman Shorty Headers- Ceramic CoatedGriffin All Aluminum Raditatior with dual electric fans
Griffin Dual-Fan Electric Radiator Fans with Electronic Thermostat
Rebuilt power steering gearbox from Year One
Wiring harness for engine
New Power steering pump and chrome pulley
Front Disk Brakes, Rear Drum Brakes (all redone)All Front Suspension is all redone and tight. Ball joints, bushings, bearings, etc.New fuel tank (replaced just because we didn't want to risk running garbage through our new engine which might be in a 40+ year old gas tank.)