Car dreams. We all have them, remembering the ones that got away and envisioning the ones we want to finish. For Tom Cannon, the one that got away was a '72 Challenger Rallye with a 340/four-speed combo he bought at age 17. The Northeast cancer had already reached the frame on this E-Body, and the car regrettably headed down the proverbial road of life. Some time later, Tom got a call from a friend, Moe Keyes, who knew of a '72 Charger Rallye for sale. The B-Body wasn't quite the replacement for the Challenger he had been looking for, but that was before he saw the interior with its unique color combination and a Hurst Pistol Grip coming through the OEM floorboard on the big-block machine. He didn't just want the car, he had to have it now.
Unfortunately, like many of us, Tom didn't have enough long green to take the Charger home. What he did have was a boss who was truly one in a million and who literally was willing to help out his employees any way he could. Knowing that Tom was good for the money, the boss co-signed the loan papers, and on January 1, 1992, the Dodge was on its way to a new owner. Though already a clean machine, a $1,000 award that Tom had earned in high school was soon put to good use-fixing up this car to be the stuff of which dreams are made.
First on the agenda was a set of Six-Pack carbs and an intake to give the machine the power to match its looks; these were acquired at the Mopar Nats. The '72 440 block was handed over to Doug Myers Machine in Skippack, Pennsylvania, for an .030 overbore and other needed machine work. Tom then assembled the short-block himself, using the stock rods and crankshaft while building up the compression with forged 10.5:1 pistons. A pair of freshened 906 heads were given the nod to meter in fuel from the Six Pack outfit. Basically stock with a little cam and compression, the car was made to be a restified version of the impossibly rare '72 Six-Pack cars.
The original 833 four-speed still handles the shifting chores, sending the power to the Sure Grip 8 3/4 rear with 4.10 gears. For rolling stock, the Charger uses 15x7 Mopar Rallye wheels wrapped with G60-15 Polyglas tires. The Tawny Gold paint was on the car when he purchased it, but it has received some touch-up work over the years. Other additions include the Ramcharger Fresh-Air hood option and the replacement of the trunk lid, necessitated when some idiot stole the Go-wing off the back of the car in an event parking area some years ago.
By chasing parts and carefully maintaining the car's stock appearance, the Charger turns heads wherever it goes. It stood out in the sea of machinery at last year's Northeast Hemi Owners' Association meet in Delaware despite the more "notorious" machinery present.
The interior of the Charger is also in as-purchased condition, with the factory Rallye dash monitoring the engine's vitals and a factory AM/FM radio and speakers handling the tunes. Last year, Tom replaced the carpet, and the two-tone vinyl bucket/bench/armrest combination seats were custom upholstered by Legendary Auto Interiors in Ember Gold with brown inserts. It's breathtaking with that Pistol Grip snaking from the floor.
Knowing the way most employee benefit programs have worked for us, we've got to admit we're a little jealous of Tom's good fortune.