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Here at MoparMax.com, we know how proud you are of your cars, not only restored cruisers, but racers or battered but cared for daily drivers. We know because we're constantly receiving letters and emails asking to feature this or that car in our magazine. When we saw Joe Huether's '72 Challenger, we knew we had to share it with everyone.
Like all good love stories, this one starts with a young man. An 18-year-old kid with $250 in his pocket staring at a 1972 Challenger. It was a 318 with a 904 automatic and console, sported a broken back window, a dent in the driver's side door, and was clad in ugly faded brown paint. And it was perfect.
The $250 bought the car and the work began. Out came the 318, out came the 904 and in went a 440 and a 727. The rear window and driver's door were replaced, the paint was refreshed, and a new black vinyl top went on. Renewed, the car looked good, sounded good, and it was fast. What more would an 18 year old want? For three years the car served as a daily driver, even taking Joe and his wife, Holly, to the hospital the day Joey, their first son, was born.
One day a coworker told Joe that he'd like to buy the car. "It's not for sale," was the response, even after repeated offers over the course of several months. Finally, this eager buyer made an offer not to be refused. For six years, Joe had been looking for a '77 Mustang Cobra for his wife. It was her dream car, but all of Joe's efforts had been for naught. What should happen that day though, but the persistent would-be buyer pulling up with that very car in blue and white? The deal was struck: a straight swap of cars.
It was, Joe would later decide, the worst trade of his life. Holly drove the car perhaps five times and then left it to sit in the driveway for over a year. Joe was devastated when he realized he'd traded away his beloved Challenger for a car his wife no longer had any interest in.
What else to do now but to try and get it back? Unfortunately, the car had already been resold, and once Joe was able to track down the newest owner, this interloper didn't want to sell the car and wasn't interested in the 'stang. Eventually Joe sold the Mustang for $1200 and embarked on a search for another Challenger. He'd occasionally see his old Challenger around town, and each time he'd stop the driver to try again to persuade the driver to sell, but all to no avail.
Joe had actually lost track of the car, until a friend called several years later to let him know that he'd seen the car for sale. Unfortunately, the fellow selling it had a reputation as someone who abused his cars, beating them to Hell and back. Still, hope springs eternal, and a quick telephone call revealed that, yes, the car was for sale. As quickly as Joe could grab a wad of cash, he was on his way, eager to be reunited.