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Kids Restore Dad’s 1970 Challenger R/T in Memory of Late Mother

There is something about cars that transcend transportation. Beyond their ability to get us from place to place, memories can end up attaching themselves to a set of wheels. Because of that, they become so much more. Something as simple as an automobile can house an entire lifetime of emotion. This is something that Richard Schmidt can attest to.

In 1968, Rich would be shipped to Vietnam where he would be broken up with after being engaged before leaving. At the time, it was a crushing blow. However, it would give way to something much better.

When Richard’s cousin caught wind of the news, she would hop to action, getting her friend to reach out to him via letter. If nothing else, she would serve as a penpal to take his mind off of his troubles. After writing back and forth, I guess one could say that they created a bond. They would finally meet when he got back from the war and they would be married two months later.

After returning, for Rich’s birthday, he would purchase a Dodge Challenger from the first year of production. At the time, the 1970 Challenger R/T was a feat to behold. From there, the car would create so many memories as the couple would cover lots of ground, traveling throughout the country.

Eventually, wear and tear would get the best of the car and it would be torn down. Richard had planned on restoring it but unfortunately, life wouldn’t allow it. As we see with many projects like this, the car would end up sitting for a long time. It was about forty years before it got any attention.

Before Rich and Kitty, his now-wife, could see the car come back together, Kitty had been diagnosed with breast cancer. Eventually, her family would lose her to the battle with cancer. Rich’s kids decided that the car needed to be restored. In an effort to surprise him, they would complete the restoration and unveil it to him. When all of the effort came to fruition, it was certainly a bit emotional. The video below takes us through the process before eventually, Rich is given the surprise of a lifetime.

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