The 1970s was one of the best eras of racing. Drivers and teams were just starting to really figure things out, and the regulators hadn’t completely taken over the sport. Pair that with the fact that the cars of the time were some of the coolest ever made, and we get pretty wrapped up in watching vintage race flicks and clips. When we ran across a throwback episode of Americarna that featured an untouched race car of the 1970s, we had to share!
Jim Vandiver is known as being one of the hardest working independent drivers in NASCAR. His Winston Cup career spanned 16 years, even though he had very limited sponsorship. During that time, Vandiver raced two cars, and ended up in the 1974 Dodge HEMI Charger most of the time during the NASCAR Cup circuit. Jim’s best finish in the car was 8th place at Charlotte in May of 1974. Vandiver had many good experiences behind the wheel of this big and bad Dodge.
Fast forward a little from that time, and rewind back over 20 years from now, Marvin Hughes personally bought the Dodge race car that was piloted by Jim Vandiver for so many years. Marvin Hughes is a man who always wears a Dodge hat, and has cared well for the stock car over the years.
Hughes decided to let the car live out its life in its stock car form. He even offers that he’s “not sure why” he had bought it in the first place, we’ve all been there, maybe not with a professional race car, but with something. Regardless, it’s a true rarity because of how well it has been kept over the years. It’s a vintage race car that could pass as a show car any day.
In modern years, the 1974 Dodge Charger stock car looks like it traveled through a time capsule to get here. It’s in the same exact shape that it was when it was dominating the track so long ago. It still packs the same HEMI engine that hasn’t had any trouble starting after all these years. The engine even has the restrictor plate that was required of the HEMI engines at the time. As a fun side note, the car was actually used in the movie Greased Lightening with Richard Pryor.
This car is now owned by Ray Evernham, and Jim Vandiver passed away last summer. Evernham is an avid collector who has done great things for preserving historical cars, so it’s in great hands with Ray.
Elizabeth is hardcore horsepower enthusiast with unmatched intensity for making things faster and louder. She wakes up for power and performance and only sleeps to charge up for the next project that’s heading to the track. From autocross to drag racing, Elizabeth is there with you, so stay tuned for her unique perspective on horsepower news, builds, tech info, and installs — with her, it’ll never be boring!