Charles Scott's 1972 Dodge Challenger
(from Volume 19, Issue 224)

It all started for Charles E. Scott as a 16 year old, seeing Dodge Challengers for the first time. He always said that he would own one of those someday. Charles’ love for these cars only intensified as the years passed, though he never thought he would have to wait 38 years to get one. Through a marriage and three boys, his dream car stayed on the back burner.

As they say, timing is everything. Prior to finding his car, Charles purchased two oil paintings for $10.00 each. They hung on his patio for years, only to find out they were two Florida Highwayman paintings, and both had significant value. An art collector offered him a very fair price, at the same time he found his 1972 Dodge Challenger Rally. Not only did these paintings pave the way to buy the car, but also put it right into the body shop.

To try and save as much money as possible Charles completely stripped the car of everything, every wire, nut and bolt. The car was then turned over to a friend of his, Karl McGinn, who did what Charles calls “a work of art” with the paint job, applying the Inferno Fire Mist color sourced from a 2007 Dodge Magnum. In fact this paint job earned him the Best Paint award at Beach Blast 16 hosted by Mike Kelly’s Cruise News in Cocoa Beach, almost three years ago.

After Karl finished his magic on the paint the car was brought back home, where Charles completed it himself. He had never attempted to do anything like this before, but figured it would be a learning experience. So piece by piece the car started coming together. That included an original style interior, a set of chrome Foose rims wrapped in BFGoodrich T/A tires.

All parts are original to this car with the exception of the engine and transmission. While this Challenger was under construction Charles was approached by a friend who said he had the perfect engine for the car, and that Charles’ wife needed to buy it for him for Christmas. The engine is the original engine out of the orange and black Challenger in the movie “2 Fast 2 Furious”. Needless to say, he got Charles’ attention. It seems the original owner of the 2 Fast 2 Furious car was a resident of Port St. Lucie, Florida. His name was Tommy, and he was best friends with a guy named Don Sivalia of Ft. Pierce, Florida, who built the Challenger for Tommy. After changing the 340 engine in some very nice ways, it was put back into Tommy’s Challenger. About 6,000 miles later Tommy wanted a Hemi. Don then pulled the 340 and dropped in a Hemi, then the two of them took the car to Moroso to try it out. While there, the movie studio was also there looking for orange and black Challengers. They bugged Tommy all day until they agreed on a price. Sadly, not too long after Tommy parted with his Challenger he took sick and passed away. His wife put everything he had in his garage for sale. That is how Charles acquired this very nice engine.

So back to Charles’ Challenger. Like stated, everything is original to the car. The original stainless was polished to like new, the seats were reupholstered in Charles’ living room, he rewired the dash on his patio table, and the list goes on. While looking for some parts, someone at a car show asked if he knew “Mopar” Don Savalia. Charles didn’t, so he was given his number. When Charles called Don he told him to come over to his shop and look around. When doing this Charles saw a bunch of pictures of this orange and black Challenger, and asked if it was his. Don then told the story above, about Tommy, brought out all the newspaper articles about him building the 2 Fast 2 Furious Challenger. Then Charles told him that engine now sits in his car. He almost fell over. He had wondered what happened to the engine after Tommy died. That day started a great friendship with a great guy, and his wife Laura. Charles promised him when his car was ready to be started he would bring it to Don to do the honors. When that day arrived Don checked a few things, then told Charles to try and start it. It started like it was running an hour ago. It is back in a Challenger where it belongs. Maybe not as famous as its original home, but it is to Charles, and that’s all that matters.

The engine is a 340 four barrel with a 727 automatic transmission. Changes that were added are variable duration lifters, gapless rings, and a nice 292 duration 508 lift 108 center line cam that just makes this engine sound like it is eating the asphalt under its tires. Nothing has been done to this engine since Don built it years ago. Charles has changed nothing, since he wanted to preserve the look of this engine when it was first put in to Tommy’s Challenger.

It may have been about four decades coming, but Charles finally got the Challenger he had been dreaming of since he was 16 years old. Everyone who sees it agrees that it came out great, and was worth the wait. The dream is now a reality, and Charles is cruising with an ear-to-ear grin every time he slides behind the wheel. CN