360ci 1973 Chrysler Valiant Charger XL – Reader’s Car

Paula Scarso is a passionate revhead who’s keen to up the number of women in the car scene

Photographers: Greg Forster

MELBOURNE’S Paula Scarso is a passionate revhead who’s keen to up the number of women in the car scene. To make it happen, she’s created the Northern Gal Facebook page to bring together her local car community and offer monthly cruises for their chrome-bumpered and classic rides.

What’s the Northern Gal story?

I’d rock up to car events and find that a lot of the wives and girlfriends were at home – some weren’t even asked to come along! So now I encourage women with cars, or get them interested in cars. It’s amazing how many more females are now in the scene and with their own rides. Northern Gal has become a community, and it’s all free. Everyone tells me that they love the events as there’s no idiots and no egos. We’ve also just run the Northern Gal outdoor show on the Sunday of the Victorian Hot Rod Show, while inside we displayed five female-owned cars – a sample from the 30-strong all-female Northern Gal car show held at Federation Square in October.

What’s your background?

My dad and uncle had a paint and panel shop for about 40 years; we even lived out the back of the first garage they had in North Coburg. I’d always help out in the shop, so now cars are in my blood. Six years ago I restored my ’74 TA22 Celica. I stripped it apart and rubbed it back, Dad did the rust repair and my uncle resprayed it. I still have it and love it, but my husband Vinnie suggested I also needed to “buy a car with balls”.

And that’s the Charger?

Yup! I wanted an Aussie muscle car, and when I saw the ’73 XL Charger I knew it was the one. I’ve always loved the arse-end on ’em. I bought it from an older guy who was an ex-drag racer and had built the motor in it.

What’s under the bonnet then?

It’s a worked 360ci with a solid cam – it had run mid-11s in another car. Behind is a 904 Torqueflite with 3000 stall, and a nine-inch running 3.4s. It’s dynoed at 300rwhp. I’ve bolted on fatter tyres and dumped it a little to give it a better stance; there’s a lot of little tweaks that add my signature to it.

And the vibrant hue’s a recent addition?

It was white, so I had a friend’s panel shop spray it Magenta and add the XL stripes. Next, I’ll tidy up the engine bay. It’s a real head-turner now and everyone knows it; it’s my trademark.

What’s next?

I want to learn how drag race in the Charger; I just need the guts to do it! As for Northern Gal, that just keeps growing. I’ve been running it for about four years and we’re now at over 6000 likes and more than that in followers. Though my favourite moments are when little girls chat to me at cruises and become inspired – there’s a lot of hope for the next generation.