Rusted Muscle

Owners Name and Surname: Vuil Van Zyl

Year: 1967 Dodge Charger

Photos by Jason Clifton

Vuil Van Zyl has had his fair share of Muscle cars over the years. “I have always had a soft spot for vintage cars and one cannot argue with the smooth lines of classic cars. They just don’t build them the way they used to. The cars of today have no soul. Take a look at the rear of a car for arguments sake – hips for days and days. Unfortunately, there is not a lot of thought put into the cars designed today”.

Vuil saw the Charger advertised by Kobus and Sons in Joburg on the internet and has always liked the look of the big hipped B body Chryslers. At the time the car was a little overpriced and the first-generation Chargers are not quite as desirable as the second gen so he scrolled past this particular car. A couple of months later, a friend of his alerted him to the fact that the price had dropped and well…..the rest is history. Vuil called the guys up and snatched the Charger up. Soon it was on a truck on its way to Cape Town.

The body work and rust were pretty much the same as can be seen in the pics. There are two rust holes in the quarter panels that Vuil will get to at some stage. The only body panel that was imported and replaced is the rear light panel. There was no bodywork done on the car as according to Vuil’s own experiences and opinion, he feels that all the local guys are not experienced enough, and he has been disappointed too many times in the past. He has yet to find someone who actually stands up to the quality of work they promise versus what is actually delivered. When it came to the paintwork, he has the same attitude and left the car as is. He had already decided he loved how the body looked and that a new paint job would just take away character.  

The car still has its original chassis and there are no modifications. The front and rear suspension are also still original. The shocks were replaced with new KYB ones all round and all the worn out tie rods/bushes/ rubbers were replaced. He decided to leave the suspension standard as the car was bought as a cruiser/daily driver and therefore, no extensive modifications were necessary. Besides, he reckons that Chrysler did a pretty good job when building the car. The brakes were upgraded to discs on the front prior to him purchasing the car but were sub-standard and a bit of a “hack job” had been performed during this upgrade. The calipers came loose after the car had been driven just 5km and this was a bit of a hairy experience. Vuil pulled this work apart and replaced everything that was required to make the vehicle safe once again. 

The motor is a stock Chrysler 318 and the gearbox is a stock Torque Flite 727. It pushes out around 250 hp. The intake is an Edelbrock 4 barrel and the carb is an Edelbrock 650 cfm 4 barrel. 

When it came to the interior, Vuil decided to keep the kitsch red velvet as he considers it cool and therefore, it will remain that way. 

We asked him if there are any interesting features on the interior and he mentioned that the rear seats fold down to allow access to the trunk which in turn, allow for a huge amount of additional space. Another nice touch are the two individual seats in the back with their own little centre console. The gauges are stock and once again, he did not see any reason why he would mess with something that fits into the interior so perfectly. There are Sun Pro gauges so that he can keep an eye on the cars vitals as well as a rev counter. 

The car came with old school cyclone wheels with 255 rubber up front and 295 on the rear which do cause a bit of a clearance issue. He was pretty keen to keep the wheels on the car but when the 255 wheels were fitted to the back, the tyres were a little narrow as the rims had been widened quite considerably so they just fitted an old set of steel wheels that he had lying around. This is just for the time being whilst the final decision is made re the wheels. The front runs 235/15 and the rear 255/15.

The plan with regards to this car is and will always be to drive it. He never plans on painting it and we have to agree as we think it looks so cool just the way it is. Besides, it alleviates all the stress of applying an expensive paint job just to have it damaged when the car is parked while you are out and about. Vuil mentions that the problem surrounding these types of vehicles these days is that people don’t want to drive them – the owners are worried that they may get damaged or maybe even melt in the rain! His attitude is that they should be enjoyed, driven and loved. We have to agree that this is definitely a great way to look at it. At least the public get to enjoy this one of a kind Charger.