The 911 T was the most stripped-down model in the range, and arguably the most pleasurable experience because of it. No excessive luxuries or functionality to take away from a pure driving experience. Read more about this maximally minimalist Porsche and go behinds the scenes during the making of this film at http://petro.li/911TGallery Drive Tastefully® Discover more at http://Petrolicious.com
This week we take a fully-flexed ride in Bromley Howser’s beloved 1969 Dodge Charger packing HEMI power and a four-speed through the Mojave Desert just outside of Colton, California.
Growing up in the golden era of American motoring, Bromley always cherished the muscle cars of his youth—like the numbers-matching piano black ’63 split-window Corvette Sting Ray in his garage, of which he says, “I had a little model, a little gas-powered RC [Sting Ray] car. I suppose when you get older, you want the real thing.” The Howser garage also houses a custom 1970 Chevelle packing a 454 under its hood, which he says is, “Good for taking the edge off.” We believe him.
But the highlighter-colored Charger featured in this film came into his ownership under less than ideal circumstances. One day, while out riding his motorcycle, Bromley was hit head-on by a fleeing motorist who left him wiped out in the middle of the street with a broken back.
The road to recovery was long and painful. Able to smile about the incident now, Bromley recounts, “I was laying in the hospital bed and my girlfriend asked me if I would give up the motorcycle, which I said, ‘Yeah, probably… if I could get a HEMI Charger.’” Sounds like a fair tradeoff, no?
He soon started looking for a project to build and found a listing for two classic Chargers in Denver up for grabs. One body was sitting dormant in a field with its engine parts spread rather unceremoniously across the seller’s garage floor. Hesitant, in fear of getting in over his head, Bromley looked through the parts thoroughly only to discover that “the car was every bit of what the fellow was representing. It was all 100 percent there.”
After rebuilding the entire car using casting books as reference, Bromley discovered not only was the car complete, but it remained entirely as it would have been in ‘69 with the exception of the fuel pump and alternator, making the car “as close to original as you can get.”
Now wearing his preferred 1970 Charger year color, Sublime Green, it might not be correct to his model year by the purists, but that doesn’t bother Bromley one bit. “It’s a different color than the car was originally—some people might say I shouldn’t have done that—but I built it to drive it and enjoy it and I love the color.” Amen to that. So, if you find yourself in San Bernardino county, keep an eye out for Bromley and his Sublime Green Mopar Machine: you can’t miss it.
“You picture, back in ’69, the guy that got in here, i mean, he had the coat and tie, thin cigarette in his mouth and driving this luxurious thing—to him, it was a Bentley of the time,” says Emin Kureghian. “Today, I get in, slam the door shut, turn it on, step on the gas; it’s not going anywhere and I have a laugh.”
“They were pretty generic cars, there wasn’t much to it,” he says. He’s right: the car here sports a carbureted 4-cylinder engine, automatic transmission, skinny 14-inch wheels and tall tires, all a far cry from what BMW offers its customers today. Acquired at a charity auction after being in long-term storage, the car is unrestored but has been cleaned up and turned into a fine driver.
Designed in-house by BMW, its spec sheet isn’t what matters: “It’s kind of a hybrid between the 02 and the newer coupes. It’s got lines from both—if you take a good look, you can see both sides of the story.”
“The fact that it pulled [BMW] out of a sales slump is really something, like a whole new generation…almost like the E30 of its generation.”
If Emin restores the car, it’ll be taken back to its original color, but for the time being, he’s just driving it tastefully, safe in the knowledge he’s been able to keep a part of history alive.
“I’m part of the cause, so to speak—to me, it’s home.”
Marcus Anghel of Anghel Restorations stops by the garage to show Jay their client’s newly restored 1969 Ford Mustang Boss 429.