Author Topic: Restoration of an origonal owner 73 Challenger Rallye  (Read 168527 times)

Offline burdar

  • Sr. Resident
  • ******
  • Posts: 5927
Restoration of an origonal owner 73 Challenger Rallye
« on: August 18, 2009 - 10:51:43 pm »
Well, just like the title says, I'm restoring an origonal owner Rallye Challenger.  My dad ordered the car in August 72 from Thien Motors in Clarence, Iowa.

In the early 70's dad said that he saw the movie Vanishing Point and instantly wanted a Challenger.  When the time came to get a new vehicle, he looked at Challengers but didn't see one on the lot that he liked.  Not really wanting to order a car, he went to an Olds dealer and drove a 72 Cutlass.  Luckily, common sence prevailed and he went back to the Dodge dealer and ordered a Challenger.

What he ordered was a 73 Rallye in JA5(dark silver metalic).  Since the car was meant for daily transportation,(and the fact that he was only 21 and my grandfather didn't think big engines were nessesary)he opted for the standard 318 instead of the 340.

When the car was delivered to the dealer, they saw that there were a few problems with the car.  For one thing, one of the side marker lights was broken.  However the biggest thing was, the car came with front fender louvers and side strobe stripes that the dealer(and my father) didn't know the car would come with.  They didn't realize that by ordering the A57 Rallye package, the car would automatically get the louvers/stripes.  Dad said that he didn't want to have to pay for those items so...the dealership took a few bucks off the price of the car.

Dad was co-owner of a construction company and used the car to go from job site to job site.  He put over 30,000 miles on the car within the first year.  The car served as his work car up until the mid eighties when the car was parked in the garage.  It stayed there until the mid 90's when I became old enough to drive. 

Here are a couple pictures of when the car was new.  The first pic was taken outside my grandparents house. The second pic is of my uncle washing the car before my parents wedding in 1975.




 



« Last Edit: June 07, 2011 - 03:41:41 pm by burdar »




Offline 67vertman

  • Sr. Resident
  • ******
  • Posts: 5126
  • Member since 9-23-2005
Re: Restoration of an origonal owner 73 Challenger Rallye
« Reply #1 on: August 18, 2009 - 11:16:38 pm »
Very cool! and a great story to boot.  :2thumbs:




Ron - Born and raised in Southern California

I got the 1970 Cuda, but still need the hot blonde to ride shotgun!

First car -1969 Road Runner 383 4sp

Current ride - 1970 Barracuda 440-6 4 sp Dana 60  (4:10)

Offline farmertan

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 705
Re: Restoration of an origonal owner 73 Challenger Rallye
« Reply #2 on: August 18, 2009 - 11:19:29 pm »
That is a cool story and I love pics from back in the day, got any more?
73 340 4sp 2nd owner since 85    brett

Offline Bullitt-

  • Permanent Resident
  • *******
  • Posts: 12167
  • Better Things To Come Member Since 2/16/06
Re: Restoration of an origonal owner 73 Challenger Rallye
« Reply #3 on: August 18, 2009 - 11:26:56 pm »
   OOO...Best looking Challey I've seen in quite a while  :thumbsup:




« Last Edit: August 18, 2009 - 11:29:02 pm by Bullitt- »
Wade  73 Rallye 340..'77 Millennium Falcon...13 R/T Classic   Huntsville, AL
Screwed by Photobucket!

Offline ashley_j

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 148
Re: Restoration of an origonal owner 73 Challenger Rallye
« Reply #4 on: August 18, 2009 - 11:30:35 pm »
Awesome!!!!!!!!!!!! Good Luck!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Restoring my '73 was the best experience I have ever had working on any car. Make sure to keep us updated.   :popcorn:       

One piece of advice I will give.  :2cents:   Take plenty of pics during the process. I thought I had taken enough.... but I was very, very, very, very mistaken.

Enough is never enough.

Jeff
 :wavingflag:
2009 Dodge Charger 3.5 (Son's Ride)
2008 PT Cruiser Turbo (Mom's Hotrod)
2006 Grand Caravan SXT (you'd be surprised)
1973 Dodge Challenger (383ci w/425HP)

NEVER FORGET!!!!!!!!!!!!

Offline farmertan

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 705
Re: Restoration of an origonal owner 73 Challenger Rallye
« Reply #5 on: August 18, 2009 - 11:36:13 pm »
   OOO...Best looking Challey I've seen in quite a while  :thumbsup:
Liar, you were out in the garage 10min ago staring at your twin to this car, come on admit it. :smilielol:
73 340 4sp 2nd owner since 85    brett

Offline Street_Challenged73

  • Sr. Resident
  • ******
  • Posts: 8826
  • '73 FC-7 Challenger..Member since October 20, 2002
    • My '73 Challenger Restoration Page
Re: Restoration of an origonal owner 73 Challenger Rallye
« Reply #6 on: August 19, 2009 - 12:29:19 am »
That's a very cool history you have with the car. :cheers:  The restoration of it will be worth that much more to you, too. :2thumbs:  Be sure to keep us updated as the project progresses. :thumbsup:
1973 Dodge Challenger......................The ongoing project. (00/----\00)
1991 Dodge Stealth R/T Twin-Turbo....The sunny day cruiser (RTBoost)
1990 Toyota Celica GT Liftback...........The new daily & winter driver.
All-American Muscle: 'Cudas and Challengers...Still the Elite and always will be.

                                                                                             
                 
Street_Challenged73 from Wisconsin

Offline Bullitt-

  • Permanent Resident
  • *******
  • Posts: 12167
  • Better Things To Come Member Since 2/16/06
Re: Restoration of an origonal owner 73 Challenger Rallye
« Reply #7 on: August 19, 2009 - 02:07:48 am »
   OOO...Best looking Challey I've seen in quite a while  :thumbsup:
Liar, you were out in the garage 10min ago staring at your twin to this car, come on admit it. :smilielol:
Yea but it's been 30 years since mine looked as good as burdur's pics. 
Wade  73 Rallye 340..'77 Millennium Falcon...13 R/T Classic   Huntsville, AL
Screwed by Photobucket!

Offline burdar

  • Sr. Resident
  • ******
  • Posts: 5927
Re: Restoration of an origonal owner 73 Challenger Rallye
« Reply #8 on: August 19, 2009 - 11:01:35 am »
Thanks for the words of encouragment.  You don't realize how long I've wanted to restore this car.  It may not be what some people consider very collectable(being a 73 and just a 318) but I grew up riding in this car.  Dad used to steer the car with just one fingure in the steering wheel spokes.  I remember watching him from the passengers seat and thinking that was the coolest thing in the world.

A lot has been going on with the car in the last year.  It will take a while to show all the pictures and get everyone caught up.  I already wish I had taken more pictures.  I wasn't very organised during the disassembly process so putting this thing back together is going to be a challenge.

In the mid 90's, the car had been sitting in the garage for close to ten years.  I turned 16 in 94 and really wanted to get it on the road.  Dad and I started by having the starter rebuilt and buying a new battery.  When the car still wouldn't turn over, we installed a new neutal saftey switch and it fired right off.(with some new gas of coarse)

Next the car went to the exhaust shop.(where I would later start my first job)  The axle pipe and muffler were replaced and new RWL tires were installed.  I was so excited to have RWL tires.  Nothing was more uncool than the whitewalls that were origonally on the car.  The funny thing is that I'm probably going to put the whitewalls back on it when its done. :lol: The rear springs were very tired, so a new leaf was added to each side to get the back end up a little.  The brakes were also replaced and the carb was rebuilt.  A hole was found in the float causing the car to flood itself.  Dad always said that he had to put the car in neutral at stoplights or it would die.  Who knows how long he drove it like that.

When we got it back we took a few pictures of it.  Here is what it looked like in the mid 90's.  You can see that the quarters are junk but a lot more rust was hiding underneith.  Iowa winters suck.

 

 
« Last Edit: November 25, 2011 - 09:55:50 am by burdar »

Offline 426HEMI

  • Sr. Resident
  • ******
  • Posts: 5187
  • My M46 Barracuda! Member Since:October 01, 2005
Re: Restoration of an origonal owner 73 Challenger Rallye
« Reply #9 on: August 19, 2009 - 11:51:16 am »
 :2thumbs:  Looks good in the pics.  Sounds like you have a real good story behind it.  Guess my son will write some when he gets my Barracuada.  I have had it for several years and now collecting parts for the restoration.  Gordon
Got a pretty good start on my M46 optioned Barracuda restoration but now it is on hold till I can gather more funds.  Still need a few parts for it.  SIU Graduate 75 AAS Automotive Tech, 94 BS Advanced Tech Studies, 1997 MSED Workforce Education and Development

1970 M46 Barracuda
1998 Dodge Darango

Gordon

Offline burdar

  • Sr. Resident
  • ******
  • Posts: 5927
Re: Restoration of an origonal owner 73 Challenger Rallye
« Reply #10 on: August 19, 2009 - 02:37:26 pm »
Quote
Looks good in the pics.

The pics are deceiving.  There was a lot of rust.  To be honest, it probably would have been a parts car for anyone else but me.




I drove the car in High School a little, putting about 3000 miles on it.  Right now the car shows 96,000 miles.

Now comes the time when I made the biggest mistake with the car.  I was still in High School and really had no concept of what a restoration entailed.  I went around to the different body shops in my home town asking for estimates.  Most places just laughed and said the car would need more work than they wanted to get involved with.  When I couldn't find anyone in town, I remembered an old farm that always had old cars out front.  There was a small sign by the road that said John Handcock Autobody.(that really wasn't his name but I really don't want to say what it really was)  I drove up to the shop and talked to the owner.  He sounded interested in the work and was in the middle of working on a 71 Chevelle. 

My dad and I met with him a few times and agreed to have him replace the quarters and trunk extensions.  The trunk floor was in decent shape but had rust right above the rear spring shackles.  The rear frame rails also had rust showing by the shackle area.  "John" said that he would patch the holes in the trunk and "fix" the rear framerails.  What was to be a 3 month job turned out to be a 2 year ordeal.

Shortly after the car went to the bodyshop...and I use the term bodyshop very very lightly...I was telling a few guys in school about it and they started laughing.  They said that I really shouldn't have taken it to that guy.  I didn't know how right they really were.

After more than a year of excuses, dad and I went to talk to him in person.  This whole time, we hadn't been allowed to see the car.  "John" said the car wasn't at his place but in a neighboring town.(in storage)   When we arrived, he locked himself in his shop and wouldn't come out.   I don't think I've ever seen my dad soo mad in my life.  The next day dad called the county sherrif and had him go have a talk with "John."

"John" said that he didn't know what the problem was..."The car is right here in my garage."

Months later...after even more excuses...he called and said it was done so we picked up the car and brought it home.  We didn't even look it over until we got it into the garage.  At that point we just wanted it HOME.
« Last Edit: August 21, 2009 - 01:46:26 pm by burdar »

Offline burdar

  • Sr. Resident
  • ******
  • Posts: 5927
Re: Restoration of an origonal owner 73 Challenger Rallye
« Reply #11 on: August 19, 2009 - 02:51:05 pm »
Well, this is what I found when I looked it over.




I had purchased a cheap dual exhaust valence that had been in a slight accident.  It was to be straightened and installed with the new quarters.  The valence was NOT touched.  It was welded to the quarters and filling in with a lot of bondo.



The trunk floor was butchered.  It looked like the guy had spent a total of 5 minutes installing his wonderful "patches."





Take a look at the great job that was done with the rear frame rails.





Finally, you can see that he did his very best at installing the quarter skins.  Pretty seamless isn't it.  We weren't even told about the rusted out rocker panels underneith the skins.  I found that out myself when I stuck my hand down inside that area later on.


I guess it was my fault for not researching things beter.  Live and learn I guess.  The only things that were installed onto the car that would later be saved were the trunk extensions and the outer wheelhousings.
« Last Edit: August 20, 2009 - 12:02:28 pm by burdar »

Offline burdar

  • Sr. Resident
  • ******
  • Posts: 5927
Re: Restoration of an origonal owner 73 Challenger Rallye
« Reply #12 on: August 20, 2009 - 12:34:53 pm »
We got the car back in early 97 and I started taking it apart right away.  The engine/trans was removed first.


The firewall components were next...along with all the wiring.  You can see from the pics that the front fenders are junk and there is a lot of rust on the inner fenders.  Iowa winters suck.
   



The bumpers, headlight surround and front fenders came off next.


I really didn't like what I saw once the fenders were removed.  Both rocker panels were toast.  The area right below the lower door hinges was even rusted out.


Oh...did I mension that salty Iowa winters suck!!!

Offline Bullitt-

  • Permanent Resident
  • *******
  • Posts: 12167
  • Better Things To Come Member Since 2/16/06
Re: Restoration of an origonal owner 73 Challenger Rallye
« Reply #13 on: August 20, 2009 - 06:11:18 pm »
burdar...let me guess.  you paid old John some money up front? heard this story too many times.
Wade  73 Rallye 340..'77 Millennium Falcon...13 R/T Classic   Huntsville, AL
Screwed by Photobucket!

Offline e-tek

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 356
  • My website: http://edanneberg.googlepages.com/home
    • E-Tek Resto's
Re: Restoration of an origonal owner 73 Challenger Rallye
« Reply #14 on: August 20, 2009 - 10:07:47 pm »
I swear I've read this post before, months ago...but the dates are current....

You're lucky they guy didn't slap a mechanics lein on it and have it towed back to his place!!!

Looks like you're on your way to righting the wrongs. Just take it slow and do one part at a time. You'll get there!! I just finished my 74 318 - took 3.5 years!