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These Mad Lads Built a 1973 Dodge Challenger in Their NYC Apartment Building
New York City is about the least hospitable environment for performance car enthusiasm anywhere in America.

These Mad Lads Built a 1973 Dodge Challenger in Their NYC Apartment Building

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Despite the endless tolls, pothole-riddled roads, and police hiding at every corner, some DIY gurus brave the cramped environment and limited road resources to make something genuinely special. Say hello to Mike Edwards, a one-time Brooklyn apartment renter and builder of a fully custom 1973 Dodge Challenger.

But this isn't just any 73 "Chally," it dons the same front fascia as the iconic 1970 model from three years prior. Mike's roommate in Brooklyn back was the professional drifter and Hot Rod Magazine vlogger Tony Angelo, first moving in back in 2010.

As it happens, Mike was Tony's Crew Chief in professional drifting competitions at this time. He's also made appearances alongside Angelo on HOTROD Garage on YouTube. In 2016, Mike found a stripped-down 1973 Challenger on Craigslist, which Tony then helped bring on a trailer back Brooklyn first, then to a restoration shop in New Jersey.

As it stood, the car was little more than a rolling chassis with various bits and pieces painted with primer, while others were left with bare metal. Under the hood at that time sat a 360 (5.9-liter) cubic inch V8 in non-running condition. Despite its condition on first impression, the fresh set of chrome wheels and radial tires must have been enough to convince Tony and Mike this was a car worth saving.

"Somewhere around $6 grand" was enough to take the car back to the New York Metro area. After its stint in a body shop, the Mike slaved for hours and hours in the cramped basement garage where the Challenger sat. A trip up to Albany, the New York State capital, netted him a 383 cubic inch (6.27-liter) Chrysler B-series motor he reckons is probably a 1964 model.

As Mike recalls, it took him having to dig the engine out from the side of a ditch in Albany to get the engine home. Once there, even more work began to get the engine and drivetrain ready for its new home. A vast photographic collection of his escapades in this basement garage serve as a time capsule to the blood, sweat, and tears Mike and Tony put in every nut and bolt on this car.

Anyone who knows anything about classic Challengers knows the 1970 model year was the most sought-after front end of any model. So when a local offered to trade his 1973 front end for his 1970 edition, Mike could only assume that person was out of their mind. To this day, Mike feels he basically robbed that person. But no crime was committed here, clearly, just the trade of the century.

Flipping through the gallery of old photographs transports us right to the very moments where this one of a kind custom classic car transformed from a sad-looking hunk of steel to a certified mean ride built in a place where speed is punishable with a fine and not paying bridge tolls will result in more havoc than you could possibly imagine.

All these years later, the car sits in a climate-controlled garage on his parent's private property in Ohio. While Tony was on one of his endless road trips and adventures, he took the opportunity to take a look at this beast. The flood of memories the two begin sifting through is palpable through the computer screen as they reminisce. The hood stood open the whole time open, revealing the ditch salvaged engine for all to see.

These days, the interior is finished to the point that it reflects the stellar look on the outside. Seeing Tony taking it out for a spin was more than a bundle of fun, especially when we get to hear the 383 engine roar. Be sure to take a look at the gallery above for more photos from this build. Check back for more custom car profiles right here on autoevolution.

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