by Brian’s Dad, the Zone Customer Relations Manager
In early 1967, I was in the Pittsburgh office of the Dodge Division, working in Service & Parts as the zone customer relations manager. Some time prior, the bean counters in Detroit had decided that the position no longer justified a field car, and so I lost the car, as did the Customer Relations managers across the country.
To his credit, our zone sales manager (Service came under the Sales Division at that time) offered me the use of a Dodge A-100 van, used to train dealers in the art of reconditioning used cars, to get back and forth to work.
While he was on vacation, the assistant to the head of service in Detroit, Gordon Magyar, came to Pittsburgh to meet with the assistant sales manager, my boss, and me. He told us that it had been decided to once again allow the customer relations managers a field car. The assistant sales manager asked if there was something in writing confirming this. Gordon told him no, but that the directive came from Mr. John Riccardo’s office (CEO of Chrysler) and that if he needed verification, he could call. The assistant declined to call and gave me the keys to the Charger that had originally been shipped in for him. His name was on the invoice and the Monroney label [redacted by Allpar].
When the sales manager returned a week later, I attended the Monday morning staff meeting. When it came to my turn to report on my department, I told him about my getting a field car back. He asked the assistant if we had this in writing, and when the answer was “no,” he told me to park the car.
Following the meeting, I gave him the keys and returned to my office. I then called Gordon to advise him what had happened, just in case everything was not on the up-and-up. About an hour later I was called to the sales managers office and he asked if I had made any calls to Detroit that morning. Of course I admitted to calling Gordon. Seems that Gordon had reported to Riccardo’s office and someone from there had called the Sales manager. He was instructed to return the keys to me and I was to retain the field car. Needless to say the sales manager was quite upset over the entire matter, but in time things cooled down.
When the time came, Mr. Veit was given a new company car, and bought the Charger. He wrote:
Mom used it as her everyday transportation. Once, as a den mother, she took some Cub Scouts on a local tour to the Braun Baking company. When she arrived, the scouts refused to exit from the doors, instead climbing over the rear seats, through the open panel, and out of the trunk.
We took the Charger to California one summer. We folded down the rear panel and folded the right rear seat. By installing a large foam mattress, we had a usable bed where we could take naps while the other one drove. Wish no air conditioning, we drove with all of the windows down. While Mom was sleeping, I stopped at an Indian gas station somewhere in Arizona. The lady and two small kids came out, and the kids ran ahead to the car where they looked in on Mom, still asleep. They ran back to their mother and said something. She came to the side of the car, looked in at Mom, and asked, “Is she dead?”
Brian A. Veit
After completing her service as my father’s field car, the Charger became our family car until 1974, when my older brother reached eligible driving age. Faced with having to spend an additional $1,000 per month to insure a teenager, dad garaged the car and she became “Dad’s Project.” As I came of driving age in the late 70s, I would plead with my father for her immediate resurrection, but to no avail. For that insight I still thank my father (thanks, Dad).
Through numerous promotions and transfers from region to region, she remained ever dormant, resting comfortably in each new garage. She came full-circle when Dad retired and returned home to Pennsylvania, where she stayed until 1997, when I got the call.
He’d decided he was just too old to work on her, and wanting to respect the rightful pecking order, he first called my older brother, who declined the offer. Initially I too was hesitant to take her, because my meager mechanical abilities pale by comparison with that of my father and I wasn’t sure I could handle her. I even called a long-time friend and mechanic to ask if he was interested in her!
Shocked that I would even consider giving her up, he assured me she could be a manageable and reliable ride – and that he would be the one to make sure of it. John Nicles of J & M Auto in Royal Oak, MI is the only person to work on her since (thanks, John). He has been responsible for every facet of her resto-modification and is an integral part of the history of this car. We have been friends since 1979, and John still remembers admiring the car while she was still stored in my father’s garage, and undoubtedly relished the opportunity to help rekindle some history for a father and son. I needed no more convincing. I took ownership later that summer.
Apart from the usual mechanical hurdles of restoring a 30+ year old car (gaskets, rubber components, etc.) she required only body and paint, having suffered the ravages of year-round Pennsylvania living for the first 7 years of her life. The black vinyl top (“White Hat Special” - Package A) is still factory original. Only 2,065 of the 15,788 Chargers made in 1967 (about 7.5%) had factory installed vinyl tops.
Despite improvements made for reliability and performance, (custom dual exhaust with Heddman performance headers, H-pipe and Flowmasters, Edelbrock Performer 383 intake, Holley 750 4bbl carburetor, electronic ignition, original 22” radiator with custom 3rd core, original heads updated with hardened valves for unleaded fuel) she is still a 100% numbers-matching car. Anything replaced for the sake of increased performance or reliability has been safely put away for future restorative endeavors (original two-barrel Carter carburetor with manifold, exhaust “Y” connector, valve covers, and air cleaner).
She now runs on American Racing Wheels’ Torque Thrust Ds, but I still own the original factory wheels and deep-dish Dodge Division wheel covers (another White Hat Special feature) on a set of Coker bias-ply whitewall tires.
“DADZ 67” is now my daily driver from April through October (Michigan car) and has been on many road trips, including North to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula; South to Florida; West to Santa Monica along Route 66; and ultimately back East to Pennsylvania where my father still has visitation rights.
The Charger has had the distinct honor of participating in several “invitation only” events, including the “Eyes On Design” in Michigan, and the Willistead Classic in Windsor, Ontario and was chosen as the representative first-generation Charger for the 2006 Dodge Charger 40th Anniversary Celebration at the Tech Center in Auburn Hills, hosted by the Chrysler Employee Motorsports Association (CEMA) club.
Chrysler Historical (part of FCA now) provided the following computer-card replica and also decoded the VIN. They found that the car was a Charger, premium model series, with the 383 two-barrel, made in Dodge Main (Detroit). It was shipped on March 14, 1967, painted PP1 bright red in S6X trim. The Torqueflite was connected to a 3.23:1 axle; whitewall tires on 14-inch, 7.75 inch wide wheels were included. The car had power brakes, the console, lap belts, tinted windshield, manual right-hand mirror, undercoating with a hood insulator pad, a full horn ring, and variable speed wipers.
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