THE CAR AND ITS OWNER
1974 Dodge Charger SE 440 owned by Thomas and Victoria Friday
WHAT MAKES IT INTERESTING
The Charger is probably best-known for its screen roles as the chase car in the 1968 feature film “Bullitt” and as the “General Lee” in the 1979-85 TV series “The Dukes of Hazzard.” Since their launch as coupes in 1966 and through their current production as four-door sedans, Chargers have been popular for their muscle-car stance and available power to match. “The ’74 SE was the top-of-the-line offering and came with many option packages,” Victoria Friday says of her ride. “The most distinctive feature is the slotted quarter windows. The 1974 model year was the end of the third generation and really the end of the true muscle car era. It was no longer considered a performance car, but a personal luxury car.” Nevertheless, her coupe was faster off the line than a contemporary Chevrolet Corvette. It was delivered with a 275-horsepower, 440-cubic-inch V-8 engine (known on the order sheet as the “U code”) that could take it to 60 miles per hour in 7.4 seconds and through the quarter mile in 15.2.
HOW LONG HE’S OWNED IT
WHERE HE FOUND IT
Victoria’s father, Thomas, bought it new from a Central Islip dealer. He drove it until 1987 and then parked it in his garage for almost three decades. Victoria had the car restored at a Bohemia shop and the Fridays are now taking it on the local show circuit.
“Being in the garage since 1987,” she says, “it had a few rust spots, including the hood, holes in the floor board and two fenders. The restoration process took eight months to complete, with a fully rebuilt engine painted with its original color, and a rebuilt transmission.” The body, she adds, was “stripped down to the metal with a new original paint color code (‘Lucerne Blue Metallic’) and a bubble hood. Ninety percent of the interior is all original and in great condition. It has new brakes and new fuel lines. The list is endless.”
TIPS FOR OWNERS
“Don't just let your car sit,” she advises. “Try your best to give it life. It may be expensive, but it’s all worth it in the end.”
She estimates the Dodge is worth $45,000. Less than 31,000 SE models were made. Production figures for “U code” versions are unknown, although aficionados consider them rare.
THE BOTTOM LINE
“You just don't see many muscle cars anymore like this Charger,” she says, “especially with this engine combo and the rare ‘U code.’”