Everyone had a favorite car, and if you've got a photo of yours taken before 1980, I'll be glad to include it here.

That's me standing behind my 1970 Dodge Challenger around September of that year.

Becky Wilson, daughter of the local Dodge dealer, drove it to school during her senior year and I fell in love with it.  The racing stripes, the front hood pins, orange paint, dual exhaust.  What's not to love? Forget about the fact that a girl drove it.  

I was driving a 1966 Mustang passed down to me by my sister (another girl's car!) who was at college and wasn't allowed to have her own car.  (!?)  I somehow convinced my dad that, with all the big bucks he paid me the previous summer painting his gas stations, plus all the money I promised to earn the following summer, he could well afford to trade the 'Stang for the Chal.

A few days later, Daddy came driving up the hilltop to our house in the Chal, stunned at how easily the "383 Magnum" engine took the incline. "I didn't know it had that much horsepower," were his words as he gave me the keys.  (Note to self circa 1970:  never allow your future children to drive a high-powered death-mobile.)

A year or so later, Malcolm Thomas told Daddy he couldn't find an insurance company that would cover me driving the Chal, so I bid farewell to my teenager's dream car and started driving an Oldsmobile. Major bummer!

Major bummer #2 is realizing how much a mint condition 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T brings at a Barrett-Jackson auction!

Reflecting back on the Chal, I must have looked like a spoiled brat to other kids at CHS, but Fortuna's wheel never stops spinning.  Decades later, I'm a high school teacher in Alpharetta driving my dinky Ford Escort past the student parking lot full of Porsches, BMWs, and Mustang GTs.  And that's Major Bummer #3!

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Copyright 2010 Greg W. McCollum.  All rights reserved.