Chrysler VJ Charger – Reader’s car of the week

Carmen Sammut’s VJ Charger (with a CL front) has an awesome old school vibe


CARMEN Sammut’s VJ Charger (with a CL front) has an awesome old school vibe. It was supposed to be a practice run for her husband’s ‘69 Dodge Charger build, but this pert little coupe turned out to be the family favourite.

This article on Carmen’s Charger was originally published in the June 2014 issue of Street Machine

Have you always had a thing for Chargers?

Not specifically, I’m more of a Holden girl. My husband Laurie wanted to build a ’69 Dodge Charger, but had been out of the car scene for a long time, so he thought he’d build the VJ for me as a practice run.

What did he start with?

It was an unfinished project, we bought it pretty much sight unseen from a handful of photos. It already had the flared guards on the rear. The car was far from finished, but it was rust free and a good price.

So it was a big build?

Yep! Laurie spent four years on it, doing pretty much everything himself in our garage, including the paint.

Chrysler Charger

What are the basic specs?

It’s just a warm Fireball 318, with a Mopar Performance cam and manifold, Holley carb and Pacemaker headers. The gearbox is a 727 TorqueFlite. The Cragar SS rims took a bit of messing around to get the right size, because we wanted to make sure we filled every inch of those rear flares with rubber. The interior is all leather, with Brock Commodore seats, a B&M shifter and a custom console.

Did Laurie get his Dodge Charger in the end?

The Valiant ended up taking so long that I suggested he take out a loan and buy his dream car already done up and then finish my car when time and money allowed. The only problem was that the Valiant turned out so much better than the Dodge! And it is such an easy car to drive that whenever we go out anywhere, we end up taking the Charger with us.

What events do you get to?

Pretty much anything, but my favourite is the Bright Rod Run. We’ve won a couple of trophies at Midstate Mopars in Bendigo, so that’s always nice.

What do your friends think about you owning a crazy old muscle car?

Most of them have known me since I was in high school, back when I’d steal my brother’s Holden jackets to wear on the weekends, so they always knew I had it in me.

First car?

A Sigma and I thought it flew.

Favourite driving song?

That’s a hard one, but if I’m on my own, probably something by Pink.

Chrysler Charger rear

What do you do for a crust?

I work in a hospital emergency department.

And what is your dream car?

We’re actually building my dream car right now, it’s an EH Holden wagon. Fingers crossed it will be ready for Bright this year.