This 2012 Dodge Charger's Story Will Amaze You
My name is Will Yarborough from Lexington, NC. My story begins much like any other love story. I thought that I had found the love of my life. She was the girl of my dreams. She was beautiful. She was smart. She was so sweet. She was perfect. I guess the best of all was that she was mine. Well, at least that is what I thought. This girl was my first date EVER. Call it nostalgia, or call it fate, but somehow and someway we had found ourselves back with each other after nearly 20 years. We had both been married and divorced twice, had children, and had our own lives.
Like most couples, our love grew and grew. I decided after 2 1/2 years that I knew this was the woman with whom I wanted to spend the remainder of my life. I searched and searched for the perfect ring. After months of searching, I finally settled on the perfect example of the symbolism of my love. It was big, shiny, and eternal. Just like the love I had in my heart for this amazing woman. To be more specific, it was a 3 Carat future heirloom that she had also seen and jokingly said, "That is the one that you better buy me." It was so hard trying to save money and keep it a secret from her, but I knew somehow I had to. After seeing that ring, and the look in her eyes, it couldn't be anything less. It would go on to cost me nearly $12K. I know that sounds absurd, but remember this girl was "IT" for me.
After I had purchased the ring, I had to come up with the perfect proposal. While visiting San Diego for work, I met a local artist named Stephanie Clair. She was displaying at an art exhibit outside of the convention center, and when I seen the painting, it hit me... PARIS. It was a beautiful depiction of a couple toasting wine glasses in front of the famed Eiffel Tower. They were sitting at a small bistro sized table with a bottle sitting in the forefront of the image. After speaking with Mrs. Clair and her husband, I placed a deposit on the picture. Now was the time to plan the perfect proposal.
I decided that I would ask the question of my life to the love of my life that Christmas. Like I said earlier, we had both been divorced twice, and here I was....positive that she was "THE ONE". I proceeded to book and pay for 4 round trip tickets to Paris, France. You may ask yourself, "Why did he buy 4?" This is where the story gets amazing. I purchased our 2 tickets, and 2 tickets for the Clair couple. I was planning to kneel down, take my love's hand, and ask her to be my bride. While doing so, I was going to have Mrs. Clair paint the date on the earlier mentioned wine bottle in her painting. When my fiancé to be said yes, then I would have Mrs. Clair present the painting to her with our engagement date now painted for everyone to see for eternity.
I now felt that I had the perfect woman, the perfect ring, and the perfect proposal.
This is where the story takes an abrupt turn. I began hearing rumors of another guy. I approached her, and ask why people would say these things. She tried her best to convince me that everything was still great between us, and denied any wrong doings. As the next couple months ticked away, more and more "rumors" began to surface. The trust was diminishing, and the passion was fading quickly. I tried to convince myself that people were just jealous of our relationship, and they just wanted to break our bond. I began to experience jealousy unlike anything I had ever seen. Some would say unhealthy jealousy. Between the infidelity rumors, the attitude I received when asking for the truth, and my own jealousy, the inevitable was just around the corner. Eventually, my love was overtaken by rage and despair. I knew that I had to end this now turmoil of a relationship. I decided to walk away from everything that was so perfect just 2 months earlier. This decision was quickly confirmed when she admitted that all of the rumors were true. Needless to say, I was DEVESTATED.
After a lot of soul searching, I realized that it was not my fault that this had happened. I spoke with a counselor, and with her help, I was ready to accept that the love of my life simply wasn't who I thought she was. However, I still had 4 tickets to Paris, and a very expensive paper weight.
While she and I were together, we decided to buy a Jeep Wrangler 4 Door. I had wanted to purchase one since I first laid eyes on them. After looking into the purchase, we decided it would be best to finance the Jeep in her name since she had a better credit score, and qualified for the best possible APR. I traded my 2007 Dodge Charger for this manly beast. I was so excited about this purchase. Nothing like riding around with the wind in my hair, and my baby doll by my side. While going through this purchasing decision, I caught my first glimpse of the Dodge Charger's at the dealership. WOW, what a beauty this automobile was. However, I was determined that the Jeep was the one for me. When the split occurred, the Jeep was just a reminder of a diminished love. Every month I had to pay a payment for a Jeep that would never be mine, and see the constant reminder of her name each month. I would never get over her if I had to continually be reminded of her month after month. With a smile on my face, and the satisfaction of causing her financial destruction, I drove straight to my previous residence to hand over the keys to "her" Jeep. It was bittersweet to say the least, but I did feel like I got just a small amount of revenge for having my heart destroyed by this woman.
Quickly, I noticed, I don't have a car. This wasn't a huge deal, because I traveled a lot for work, and just using a rental for my brief moments at home would suffice. My thoughts started to surface, and I soon had my eye on that beautiful Dodge Charger. I made the decision that I had to have it. I was also in a perfect financial situation to make my next purchase. However, I needed a substantial down payment to get my payments into a range that I was comfortable paying. Even after deciding to purchase a V6 over the HEMI V8 that I so longed for. I made the decision to part with the "not so perfect after all" ring that was taking up space in a safety deposit box. I luckily got the manager of the store to refund my entire purchase price, and I knew exactly what I was going to buy with what felt like a lottery winning amount of money.
I decided to place $6K down payment on my new 2012 Dodge Charger SE model. It may only be a V6, but it was MY V6. I used the other $6K to pay off my half of some other debt that we had racked up as a couple, and to make my first mod purchase for my ride.
My first purchases were a new set of 22 inch Chrome Dub Drone 5 wheels and tinted windows. I had both of these done within 72 hours of my initial purchase. I quickly decided that my lonely Kicker 15 inch subs sitting in my spare room would fit nicely in my new cars trunk. I had no intention of going any further with mods for my car. I was now happy with the look and sound of this black beauty.
The ultimate machine would have been the SRT model, but I bought mine for 1/2 the price of the flagship model that Ralph Gilles (Manager of SRT brand) had placed his efforts into producing. I was never a performance guy anyway. I like it, don't get me wrong, but it was never really my thing. Since I was a kid, I was always about the looks. I may not have wanted or cared about going 160 MPH, but I did LOVE the way the SRT differentiated itself from the rest of its little siblings. With the gorgeous front end flowing outward at the bottom looking as though it was ready to chew up and spit out any and all competition. The side skirts that seemed to pull your eyes across the scalloped body lines, and down to the ground. I remember looking at this masterpiece as a beautiful work of art, much like a gorgeous super model. I knew that I wanted that look. Like I already said, I've always been all about the looks. You may say form over function was my thing. I began seeking that look immediately.
After weeks of researching, I found Mikey and Lisa at Speedlogix, and made the first call that would changed the way my show car began to take shape. When I got the total price from Mikey, I started saving for my next major purchase. Obviously, it took some time to save the money, and get my baby her new facelift. After months of saving, and selling some things that were just taking up space in my life, I finally had saved enough to make it happen. Without hesitation, I was on the phone with Speedlogix, and my SRT body kit was ordered. Luckily I had a friend who could paint and do body work, so I had the body kit shipped directly to Shane Barney in my hometown of Lexington, NC. Once it finally arrived, after what felt like a year to me, I was quickly disappointed. Shane informed me that the rear bumper had holes cut in it for the SRT back up sensors. I decided to have him paint it anyway, and I would figure all that out later. I just would keep the SE rear bumper until I could make that decision. Shane did an amazing job, and when I went to pick up my baby, I fell in love with her all over again.
I was now on cloud 9, and showing my baby's new look off to everyone that I could. I was the proud owner of the sexiest car on the road. Then, I began hanging out with a great friend of mine who is also a Mopar guy. Todd Labonte has a Commemorative Edition Dodge Viper SRT truck, and it is GORGEOUS. He had the looks and the performance. Like I said earlier, I'm not all about the speed, but driving his truck does get me just alota (that's my made up word.) bit excited. His trucks beauty is a joint effort of his imagination, the performance skills of Tony Sawyer, and the hydro graphic mastermind of Tony's wife Joanne Sawyer. They are the owners of JTS Venom Performance in Denver, NC. I decided to send my car to a couple shows, and Todd, Tony, and Joanne welcomed me into their group with open arms. We did a couple shows together, and I felt like I wanted to move on to another level, so I approached Joanne about hydrodipping some pieces under my hood. I decided to go with a mopar blue color and a snake skin pattern. Joanne created another masterpiece that will later become my favorite mod. Everyone, everywhere, and at every show, people tell me how awesome my engine bay looks.
I started leaning towards a tiny bit if performance, but what could I do to a V6? The only thing I could think of was a CAI, so K&N it was. No particular reason, except it was fairly inexpensive and available on Amazon.
As I continued looking online at "new" Charger mods, I found one with air ride suspension. It was laid out, and all that I could think was, "my super model would look amazing lower." The price of air bags was waaay out of my budget, so I decided a lowering spring would have to suffice. Being that JTS was a performance shop, I quickly approached Tony and asked for his expert advice. With one conversation, my BellTech springs were ordered and on their way. Luckily I have a friend like Todd who know how to wrench. With his help, my baby had her atmosphere relaxed 2 1/2 inches. Man....she was beautiful. Loved the look once again, but I got her just a bit too low. Now, I guess it was time to find a solution to my tires rubbing my fenders. I asked for help online, and with the help of another friend (Shawn Lyon) I found a company out of Raleigh who would not only roll my fender, but provide their services at my house. Pro Fenders Fender Rolling stopped all of the rubbing, and did it with outstanding customer service.
I then found a car online that I though WOW....that is awesome for a show car. Some may say it is played out, and it may not be their thing. To each their own, but when I seen The Modfather's Charger, it inspired me to follow in his footsteps. He had the what I am pretty sure was the first new style Charger with all 4 vertical doors. (Some call them lambo doors.). I though what a great look for a show car. Once again, the research began. I looked at all manufacturers, and after reading reviews over and over, and talking to Mark (The Modfather), I decided on the 4 door kit from VDI (Vertical Doors Inc). Without haste, the kits were ordered and on their way to a recommended installer in Gastonia, NC from the VDI website. While we were waiting on the door kit to arrive, I once again turned to Tony Sawyer for another mod. He is an authorized dealer for Oracle Lighting. So again, with the help of Todd Labonte, the blue halo's for my headlights and fog lights were installed. It took Todd, his girlfriend Christina Wallace, and I almost 17 hours to install the lights. It was a pain in the ass, but it sure turned out pretty.
Now, my new hinges had arrived, and off to Gastonia my baby went. After spending 2 weeks there, my doors now would raise to the sky. It looked awesome. I was now the 2nd new body Charger with all 4 vertical doors. (That I knew of anyway.). My satisfaction was beyond words, but that was short lived. Later that night, I discovered that there was a flaw in the design. You apparently can't open the rear doors at all unless the front doors are already opened. I found this out the hard way. Needless to say, the rear doors hit the front doors, and I had my first ever boo boo on my baby. After I called the original installer (I will keep his name private to save his reputation) he said, "don't worry, I should have told you, we will fix it.". I will save you some unnecessary reading by saying that this guy simply didn't provide the customer service that I have been so used to receiving from all other vendors that I have had involved in my baby's build. I was extremely dissatisfied with his craftsmanship, so I decided to take my concerns directly to VDI. I booked a flight to California, and drove straight to VDI headquarters. After speaking to a sales rep, he decided that my concerns should be handled by one of the owners personally. I then met Louie, and expressed my negative experience to him. He was very apologetic, and quickly made me and my Charger his #1 priority. He hastily found another local company who would fix the mistakes if the original installer. Little did I know that I would find one of the best assets to the automobile customizing scene that existed. Louie introduced me to Kyle Sicard, Owner of S.L. Customs on Mooresville, NC. Louie not only introduced us, but agreed to pay for Kyle's guys to fix my baby and get her the way she should have been to begin with. I should mention that the door issue does still exist, and after the problems from the first recommended VDI installer, I had to completely repaint my entire car. I decided to go with a sating black with gloss accents, and once again I turned to Shane Barney for this.
S.L. Customs has become my "go to" guys. Their isn't anything that these guys can't do. Once my doors were fixed, and I had the show look that I was searching for, I was ready for something that would blow everyone's mind. I felt like Kyle had created my dream car. At this point, my friends have all said, "You spend more money on that car than you would a wife." I would laugh this statement off. We all joked and joked about it. But when I got to thinking about it, they were RIGHT.
My chrome wheels were now starting to tarnish, and polish just wasn't cutting it anymore. I had to do something to fix the problem, but I loved the look of my Dub's. Kyle and I discussed it, and we decided that we should stick with the black and blue theme. Also, my ride quality was starting to suffer. The lowering springs were beginning to take a toll on my control arms, shocks, and my entire suspension system. It was starting to ride really rough. I decided that I would replace the bumpy springs with a fresh new air ride system. With all of these new mods in mind, my go to guy was ready. Kyle and his guys once again provided the look I wanted. With their expertise, my drab wheels now had a fresh new look after painting them gloss black with blue accents, and my suspension was resurrected with a new AirLift V2 Digital air ride system.
I can't begin to thank everyone enough who has helped me with this build along the way. I have made some great friendships along the way, and look forward to the many people that I will meet in the show world over the life of my Dodge Charger.
In conclusion, with the circumstances of my devastating break up, and the return of the perfect engagement ring, my cars name has come to life. I guess my friends were on to something, and right all along.
Written by Will Yarborough
Photo by Brad Baughman