Driving ambition

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car enthusiast

His love for a TV show from the 1980s led Dr Andrew James of Creative Dental Haus in Geelong, Victoria, to purchase a 1973 Dodge Charger. 

“My love of cars was instilled into me by my father. Growing up, he always had different cars, including a 1969 Mustang. From the first time I watched The Dukes of Hazzard, I wanted a car just like that. As an adult, I chased it for ages and eventually found a 1973 Dodge Charger for sale in Miami. I purchased it and had it shipped to Australia.

“Once it was delivered, I discovered it had suffered the brunt of Miami’s high rainfall, hurricanes and cyclones. The original owner had left it standing in his backyard and the car was full of rust. It took around nine months of solid work to get it roadworthy. 

“My Charger is left-hand drive but under Victorian law, if a vehicle is older than 30 years, you don’t have to convert it to right-hand drive. It took a few months to get used to driving it. At traffic lights, you’re right next to the driver beside you. It’s a big car that’s 6.4 metres long. I can’t close my garage door because she sticks out too far.

“I’m a member of the Geelong Car and Bike Club and we have two big car shows each year. There’s Chryslers on the Murray in Albury Wodonga that has 800 to 1000 cars on display. Chryslers on the Bay in Geelong is a smaller show but lots of fun.

“Dodge Chargers are famous for drag racing and it pulls away from a standing start like a rocket. If you’ve still got your foot down after 50 metres, it can be hard to handle. I’m very careful when it rains and the roads are wet.

“There’s ongoing maintenance with the Charger and my only issue is trying to keep everything authentic. So far, I’ve managed to keep it all original, including the mag wheels. This is what makes owning a classic car so expensive; I import everything from Detroit.

“There’s a great community around these types of cars and I’ve made many close friends. We’re all into the same thing and at the shows, all we talk about is our cars and how much it bloody costs to keep them going.

“My Charger has a 440 engine and when you roll down the windows and cruise down the coast, it feels fantastic. It drinks petrol though. I usually have three full jerry cans in the boot but I don’t mind. The joy and happiness I get from my 1973 Dodge Charger is beyond price.” 

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