STEVE Nappy is a lifelong Mopar tragic. His early years were spent as one of those “damned Hey Charger kids” growing up on the Pentastar-blue streets of Adelaide. Steve’s love for the Chrysler product has remained steadfast and followed his working life throughout Australia; he currently spreads the Mopar gospel in Kalgoorlie, WA.
“My first defining car moment was in Raymond Terrace, NSW, around 1982,” Steve says. “I walked into Terrace Tyres and there was the show van Street Legal (SM, Sep ’14). I’d never seen so much chrome and the murals were amazing; as a kid it really blew me away. I’ll never forget that van. Later that year I went to my first-ever Rickshaws Hot Rod Show.”
It was 1984, Steve was 16 and licensed, and the paper was full of Monaros, XU-1s and R/Ts for under $3000! “My grandfather, Roy Masefield, was a huge inspiration for me,” Steve says. “He worked at Tonsley Park [Chrysler Australia] in test and development. We argued over what my first car should be, but I negotiated my way into a pov-pack Charger for $750. I took the win and drove it to school with my mates Brian and Darren.”
In 1999 Steve finally bought the car his gramps wouldn’t let him have – a genuine big-tank, Vitamin C, E38 R/T Charger. “I was living in country NSW and would tear along the back roads with the triple Webers at full noise; it was awesome! I sold the car when muscle car prices peaked; it was becoming too valuable to thrash and I was made an offer I couldn’t refuse.” Our more mature readers may recognise this car as the one featured in our Castrol Collection muscle car series (SM, June ’87).
This may just look like a knackered old Valiant ute, but as Steve explains, there’s more to it than meets the eye. “In 2004 I was chasing up a few old cars around the paddocks and ended up in an open shed with this. It was the first R/T prototype – a shortened VG Valiant ‘mule’ ute, intact with original engine and drivetrain. It’s hard to put words around that moment. She was no oil painting, but I was left shaking!”
“In 2002 I was researching a ’63 Plymouth known as Ramcharger,” Steve says. “It was a factory lightweight Super Stocker imported by Ash Marshall, and won the first Australian Drag Nationals in 1965.” It was the first competition drag car imported into the country, and has evolved as the sport has grown. Owned by Al James, it now wears the factory Coppertone colour and raced in Super Sedan for a number of years. “It’s a monster of a car and left a serious impression on me.”
With the Charger sold and Steve itching for something new, he decided to follow his Ramcharger dream and dabble with some US Mopar iron. “In 2009 I imported this ’63 Plymouth Sport Fury to get out of the shiny stuff; you know, just clock up a heap of street miles and do a little racing. Who would have thought that 426 cubes could be so much fun?”