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How's this for a scary combination?  Chicago veterans Bud Roche and Don Mattison acquired both surviving Dodge Chargers and adapted the early-Hemi, high-gear-only approach from their Guzler fuel dragster to these essentially-stock sedans.  Both cars supposedly crashed in 1965. The ex-Jim Johnson ride was reportedly totaled at Cordova. Hasty roof repairs evident in the ex-Jimmy Nix survivor indicate that it, too, got upside down. This 1965 John Lacko shot is one of only two we uncovered from the Guzler days. Which Charger it is remains a mystery.  (www.HotRodNostalgia.com photo ©John Lacko)

This writer’s research has determined that the last appearances by the touring Chargers occurred in the Midwest in 1965, as the Guzler Chargers — on nitro!  Earlier that year Chicago-based columnist Ben Brown had this to say in the March 5, 1965, edition of Drag World:

“... the car(s) receiving the most attention around here are a pair of ’64 Dodges now residing at the well-know Guzler garage at 89th and Richmond in Evergreen Park.  To put it bluntly, Bud Roche and Don Mattison of Guzler fame went and bought both Dodge Chargers!

“Roche spent some 50 minutes via AT&T the other night explaining the complex procedure they went through in purchasing the Dodge Chargers, and his tale reads like an Ian Fleming novel.  Nonetheless, they have ’em and as soon as they return from Bakersfield, work gets underway into converting both cars to supercharged-fuel Hemi power.  One of Bud’s statements was very timely when he said, ‘Now when we call a track operator and say we would like to make three passes on his asphalt with our fueler and they tell us that, ‘Sorry, we’re only booking Super Stocks for the moment,’ we in turn can tell ’em, ‘Hey, we got just the car for you.’  Look for the new ‘Guzler Chargers’ in the not-too-distant future.”  

Tom Jones suspected only that this was some former factory race car when he first saw it, in a garage only 30 miles from his Madison, Wis., home. Eight years later, in 1988, Tom finally made the deal -- for $2500! Its aluminum front end was long gone, the rear pan had been bent and punctured to accommodate bumpers, and the parachute opening had been filled in with bondo. The only surviving hints to its one-off heritage were two blue roof stripes beneath the peeling white paint and the chrome roll bar.  (Photo courtesy Tom Jones)

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