A True Dodge Owner from Down Under

 

By now, most of you guys have read at least one or two of the user-submitted stories we’ve been sharing about your histories as Dodge fans. One of the most interesting submissions we received didn’t even come from this country, but from the other side of the globe entirely. This is the story of a genuine Dodge guy living in Sydney, Australia, and you may be surprised how similar his story sounds to the ones you’ve been hearing from over here.

 

Daniel “charger dan” Andrew claims he’s been a Dodge nut since the day he was born, and credits his two Mopar-obsessed uncles for the inspiration. Apparently, one of them even had a yard so crowded with Mopar muscle that the grass couldn’t even be mowed, so it’s safe to say these guys were indeed enthusiasts.

 

Some of Daniel’s earliest memories involved him tearing around the neighborhoods with his uncles, and he vividly remembers the occasional burnouts they’d pull off. At the ripe young age of 8, Daniel had already learned more about these cars than most local mechanics, solely from sitting around the campfire listening to his uncles talk about their cars for hours on end.

 

Now 28 years old, he has already owned quite an impressive array of cars. While he never really had easy access to the exact same vehicles found here, there was usually the Aussie equivalent. Many of them were pretty impressive too, often involving some combination of small-block goodness, classic looks and frequently less weight than their counterparts seen here. Daniel’s favorite was the Valiant Charger, and he wasted no time choosing it for his first car.

 

In fact, he still kicks himself to this day for selling that first car. It was a 1973 VJ 770 Valiant Charger 340, and he claims it was one of just two made in Arctic White (something he only recently found out, and certainly isn’t helping his sellers’ remorse). After that came a VG Convertible, white with a 245 HEMI six-cylinder. He says this was actually a great car for cruising, but it wasn’t long before he moved onto his third Mopar, a VG Valiant Pacer. This four-door packed a gutsy 265 HEMI, and Daniel claims it could rip down the 1/4 mile in just 12.2 seconds. That’s a screaming fast sedan, no matter how you cut it. The last car he owned before his current ride was an AP5 Safari Wagon, a Canadian import with a 318 stuffed under the hood, which he says was another great beach-cruising car.

 

Now, he hasn’t strayed far from this path for his current car, a ’76 VK 770 318 Chrysler Charger that he’s nicknamed “THE REAP3R” (we’re guessing that’s probably also on the license plate). After a series of unfortunate mishaps with the car early on, he decided it was time to realize his life-long dream, and began turning it into a full-blown project car.

 

He says the build is at about 70% completion and is still lacking an engine, but he’s been going at it for four years now. Its fan page has provided Daniel with great feedback and amazing assistance from people all around the world, whether it’s help with sourcing some parts or even funding the project. He says he was shocked by how many great people are out there just willing to help, and that he’s forever grateful to all of them. Although it’s not finished yet, he’s confident it’s now turning into something very special.

 

In the meantime, Daniel’s doing what he can to help the growing Mopar scene down under. He’s never missed a single All Chrysler Day event and he recently participated in last year’s two-day Mopar Rumble Car Show, commenting that it had a very promising turnout for its very first year. He says the Mopar guys down under are really a tight-knit group (which is why he named his ever-growing Facebook group the Mopar Family), and that everyone involved treats each other like family. This community keeps him busy around the clock, with a never-ending influx of emails in his inbox and a phone ringing off the hook. Still, he shouldn’t be too surprised that he’s viewed as the local expert – after all, he’s even got a Dodge tattoo on his arm!

 

At the end of the day, though, he says he still feels like he’s a Dodge kid born in the wrong country, and he’s begging us to send some extra love down under whenever we can. Well, we’re listening, Dan. Is anyone else here reading from Australia? Tell us in the comments below what you’d like to see from us down there, and we’ll do what we can.

 


  • CJ

    Dan – That’s a nice lookin’ Charger and a sweet tatoo.  Good luck with the rest of your resto.

  • http://www.diecastcrazy.com Moparbob

    EXCELLENT!

  • moparmum

    Hey guys I’m Charger Dans mum I am so very proud him he has created a huge Mopar family on facebook and he does answer every single message. I love that he has this passion his daughter even has a Chrysler name and one of her first words were “dad said charger” and Mopar lol
    The family are all wonderful people and they have supported Dan from the beginning . Keep up the good work Dan you are proof that there are good people out there. X

  • SUBLIME

    I just cannot get used to the driver being in the passenger seat.  It looks strange.  Now if it were parked on the other side of the street, then it would look right.  Cool cars…thanks for sharing your passion with us. Mopars rule no matter where you live.

  • Jodie

    I agree with you Charger Dan’s Mum, he’s a legend and is keeping the MOPAR legend alive.  Don’t know how he keeps up with all on FB.  If he’s ever in the Taree/Forster area, he knows to look us up.  Congrats Dan on your story and HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

  • con

    way to go Danny always thought you”d get the religion out better than anyone i know bud..!!!
    Cheers mate, COSTA

  • Mike

    Top work Dan! This guy is quite possibly the most dedicated MOPAR guy in Australia and i can’t wait until my hardtop is finished and i drive 3000km across the country to meet him!

  • Colin

    Yes Dan is the Man !! When I first read his Facebook page I thought he was over the top but after meeting him (and transporting The REap3er to its new country home) he is just a passionate Mopar Guy ! He lives & breathes Mopar and is one of the nicest guys you will ever meet. Cant wait to see The Reap3r tearing up the road in the near future ! Go Dan !!!!

  • Niomi

    haha good on ya mate :)
    cant wait to meet this car of yours!
    be seeing ya soon, to pick up tey another val haha

  • Peta J

    Nice to see an Aussie bloke getting a mention! Dan would probably bleed engine oil!

  • derek

    Awesome Dan cant wait to see the Reaper going!!!!!!!!!

  • Tom

    As far as I know, Dodge no longer sells the Charger in Australia.  It would be interesting if they could sell the 2011 Charger their again and maybe even build one to spec for the V8 Super Car series.  That’s a series they should bring to the USA by the way as I personally find it more interesting than NASCAR.

  • Wayne Mopar May

    I recently had the pleasure of meeting this bloke, he does more for the aussie mopar community than anyone i know of . The R3aper is a star down here and we all are following this build! Great story on a great bloke, The mopar family is growing down under and its good to see the homeland is aware of us cheers

  • Maurice Rich

    Charger Dan is friends with all the Mopar enthusiasts here in Oz & an absolute star at promoting the Pentastar power.

    If you want to see a few very interesting examples of Aussie Chrysler engineering, track down Jason & Jed Sladden – you’ll find a nice ’65 AP5, a very nice ’69 VF 2-door coupe, & one of the mate’s has a very nice ’72 Plymouth Cuda

  • chargerdan

    hey guys,thankyou so much for all your kind words,u can imagine how it felt waking up on my birthday and seeing this,thankyou so much to DODGE for doing this for me,as a masive dodge fan,i feel inspired to push harder towards my goals and am so happy i got this chance to say thankyou to all my mopar brothers and sisters worldwide,as well as meet and tell the new mopar family a little about one mopar mans past and present…we are a dedicated bunch and all us aussie dodge fans await your arrival….thank you again for this,i am on a crusade and have been for years,its more then skin deep,its to the bone…..and i take every situation and grab it by the horns,long live DODGE and keep up the awesome modern musclecars you have created,this new generation is so exciting to watch,ralph gilles is definetly the man for the job,thanks to all involved in the mopar family and keep an eye out for CHARGERDAN CREATIONS, coming to you soon,1 of a kind artwork created on your dodge,and i only do mopars,thats the best thing;}thankyou to all involved!:}

  • Kate

    I love the story. I know chargerdan and very similar story. I grew up in a Chrysler family. Have a dodge that is a 1964 model Phoenix known as a polara in the USA.mum bought her dodge in 1978.she started the Dodge club and The All Chrysler Day in Sydney. I Learnt to drive in it. Would love to see more chrysler products especially the new right hand drive challenger or charger.want one and so do many of my friends.

  • BrentonGoode

    Always nice to hear about other Mopar lovers out there like myself.

  • Magenta

    I’m ChargerDans partner, and I am so proud of him!.
    I’ve known Dan since we were teenagers, and he has always had Valients!. I remember perving on him when he had his E55 Charger, lol..
    I am so happy Dodge has done this article on him, it makes him happy to know his work is being payed off..
    I really hope the R3aper is on the road soon, I miss seeing Dan in his car, and I miss seeing him rip it up!.
    Congratulations babe :)

    And Dodge, please send more New Challengers and new Cudas over.. Thanks :)

  • Richard Morgan

    congrats to u dan and your family for puting up with the busy lifestyle, your mopar family was much needed for tech info and just a good yarn and perv on others rides, keep up the good work MOPAR 4 EVA

  • Chargerdyl

    hey guys im chargerdans son dylan and the Reap3r is the best car in the world!!!!!            
    ps hed better have a reason he didnt put me in the information thing

  • chargerdan

    hey guys,thanks for all the nice comments,and dylan,you know dad loves you;}
    i had to stay on topic,and i did first right a novel,as there is so many people to thank,but we had to break it down to a short bio,you dylan are one of the people that have possesed me to keep moving forward with the charger,i cant wait to drive up and pick you up on the first long drive,now thats what memories are made of;}
    P.S….i love you nickname ”chargerdyl”,its good to know im doing something right,all the best son,see you very soon,cant wait!~:}

  • STEVE SMITS

    Hmm where did my comment go!
    Great Job Dan!

  • Chargerdyl

    hey dad do you know you always make spelling MISTAKES LOL

  • chargerdan

    not sure what happened steve,cheers for taking the extra time to write back,cheers;}

  • chargerdan

    this isnt about gramma,as im not the best with it, this is about the mopar family, and all Dodge cars worldwide, im sure no one cares about the spelling mistakes, and can feel the enthusiasm all the way from Australia;}
    how bout ringing your dad so we can talk and have a mopar chat!:}

  • chargerdan

    to all that have commented,what would be your dream modern dodge automobile that you would love to come to Australia shores…?
    mabye a  2011 Dodge Challenger,or mabye the 2011 Dodge Charger,what ever your Dodge flavour,please post your comments below.

    me personally,ide love to see a black 2011 392ci Dodge Charger hit these shores,but would have to have the new green with envy challengers wheels,black on black with black interior!!!….that would be so amazing!
    Dodge need to come to oz in a big way,to take on these ford and holden cars, and show us all what a real car is made of;}

    DODGE//    MODERN MOPAR PERFECTED!!!;}
    [I][O][[[[[I]]]]][O][I]
         CHARGERDAN

  • http://myworld.ebay.com/ultra.reef Earl

    Great work Dan, keep it up!  Very inspiring to all Mopar owners worldwide.

  • rick patterson

    congrats on the article dan well done . I’ve said it before i’ll say it again i would really like to see the dodge charger , challenger , and the durango lets hope dodge pays attention and starts selling thier good products and take the crap they sell at the moment back

  • costa

    WoW ,,,, Good on ya Danny mate,,,, always knew you had the heart of a pentastar! now you proved me wright mate !! I guess the ride in the Pacer that night actually paid off!! And good on ya Dodge for recognising that the mopar community is a world occerance and not just an American thing
    Bring the charger and challenger out here and then you will see the success. 
    MOPAR OR NO CAR