CC hunting is a game of chance, but it can also be a game of patience. Among the parking areas and side streets familiar to me in the little corner of north Tokyo I now call home, there are a few cars under tarps that I know are worth keeping an eye on. Because someday, that tarp may well be off.
I found this one a long while back – probably the month we moved here, in January. I’ve already featured it in my Isuzu Bellett post. It’s located pretty close to where I live, and the size of the thing made it highly intriguing. Its American origin was 99% certain, in my mind. I often wondered what was under there – my top contender was a late ‘60s T-Bird, for some reason, but I would not have bet anything on it.
Back in Bangkok, there were a couple interesting mystery cars about that I never managed to uncover. And there are a few others in Tokyo as well, but this one was on the top of my list. And then, on a Sunday last month, it finally happened: the cover was off and I could finally (albeit quite briefly) shoot this mystery car. It was really worth the wait, as I expected.
I was very quick with the photos – someone was obviously in the middle of washing the Challenger, among other things. And sure enough, somebody came out to hang the laundry. I had almost the photos I wanted. Almost.
There isn’t anything I can say about this car that hasn’t been covered already. We’ve had a number of CC posts about these (links listed at the end) – including two this year already, so this is just a pure eye candy / fish out of water piece. Finding this in Tokyo is plain weird, though I suppose one should expect the unexpected here.
I did promise myself that I’d revisit Challenger alley to see if I could catch Big Blue here again. And I got lucky again, this time managing to score an interior shot – not a very good one, but better than nothing. The first encounter would have been a better opportunity, as the window was lowered. But I just hadn’t been quick or daring enough on that day.
Fuselage Mopars are the most interesting American cars of the period, in my view. But just read any CC post and comment section on a Fuselage, it’s incredible how divisive they are. Some people really love them, others utterly despise them – there is no middle ground, it seems.
I have no skin in this game, but from a purely design perspective, I’m glad these existed. They were the last flourish of the wacky ‘60s before creeping Broughamization and 5-mph bumpers ushered in the Malaise era.
Would I ever consider buying this? Not likely. Too big and too thirsty, for one thing. Also, the name “Challenger” is more associated with the space shuttle disaster than anything else, for my generation. I like a challenge, but I’m not too keen on a Challenger. Still, it was great to have seen one of these big brutes up close. Glad someone here likes high-performance Fuselage Mopars – and occasionally takes the cover off.
Curbside Classic: 1970 Dodge Challenger – Vanishing Paint, by David Saunders
Museum Classic: 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T SE – It’s Pink!, by Tom Klockau