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While roaming around a local car show in Largo, Florida, I happened by this orange-ish 1970 Dodge Charger R/T. I knew for sure the car was a 1970 model because of the distinctive, wrap around front bumper and the solid, non-divided grille. At first glance I saw nothing really extraordinary about this particular car; it did sport the optional, longitudinal striping, and the scallops on the hood were painted a satin black. “Just another old Mopar,” I thought to myself as I walked by, but after tracking down the owner and spending a few minutes with him and his oddly colored Charger R/T, I found my first impression was anything but correct.
Paul Bischofs from Palm Harbor, Florida, is one of the most personable people you will ever have the opportunity to meet. A retired Air Force veteran of 24 plus years, Bischofs is more than willing to sit down and talk about his Charger. Although he doesn’t readily admit to it, Bischofs is a lifelong gear head, and recalls his younger days growing up around Saint Petersburg, Fla., and Washington D.C.
“I guess you could say I was brought up almost everywhere,” Bischofs laughs. “My dad was in the Air Force so we moved around a lot.”
Regardless of where Bischofs and his family were located, he remembers his dad as always having a car of some sort.
“Dad had everything from an old Plymouth station wagon to a Lamborghini, and I was constantly around cars,” Bischofs stated. Unknowingly at the time, his dad exposing him to a variety of automobiles at a young age planted a seed deep inside Bischofs character that is undoubtedly the primary reason he is in love with the mechanical wonder known as the automobile. Nearing his eighteenth birthday, Bischofs’ dad bought his son a 1973 Plymouth Duster as his first car. “I think my real addiction to the automobile came when Dad bought me that Duster,” Bishofs smiles.
Bischofs’ Duster was by no means what might be considered the typical American muscle car of that era. The car was a standard Duster with a 225 cid inline six-cylinder motor and automatic transmission.
“My high school buddies were always after me to do things to the engine -- you got to soup it up, you got to make it faster -- and I guess I might have considered that, but I’m not very, shall we say, mechanically inclined,” Bischofs laughed. Bischofs Duster did only one thing for his addiction to the automobile, particularly, Mopar products, and that was to strengthen his need for speed.
Shortly thereafter, Bischofs followed in his father’s footsteps and embarked on a 24½ year career in the Air Force. As expected, Bischofs has been around the world during his tenure with the United States Air Force, but like his dad did before him, he always had a car no matter where he ended up.
“I think it all goes back to my High School days and that old Duster,” Bischofs offered. When all the other high school boys were out searching for girls, Bischofs and his posse were at the drag strip every Friday night, they would scour used car lots looking under the hoods of countless cars just to see what motor was in it.