Caitlin Moran
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Check Out the Dodge Challenger That Possibly Saved Dale Earnhardt’s Career

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Dale Earnhardt Dodge Challenger Silhouette

This Dodge Challenger-bodied kit car might be the exact car Dale Earnhardt tested, reminding him of his love of racing

A lot of popular celebrities and all-star athletes have interesting “Coming of Age” stories. There are some that overcame huge obstacles to get where they are today; others that just happened to be in the right place at the right time. Then there’s Dale Earnhardt’s story.

Word has it, before Earnhardt became the racing legend he is today, he was on the brink of quitting the industry. Then, in 1974, he had the opportunity to test a factory-built kit car Chrysler was working on. And the rest is racing history.

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The type of kit car he tested was later dubbed “Saturday Night Specials” by Petty Enterprises, which is owned by Richard Petty for the folks not in the know. These kit cars could come in a variety of configurations, including fully assembled or in pieces, so the owner can do as he or she pleases. They also came in a variety of body shapes, including a Dart, a Valiant Scamp, and a Duster. There was at least one prototype that was built with a Dodge Challenger exterior, though—and this was the prototype Earnhardt tested, keeping him in the racing game.

Now, it’s possible the one car that kept Earnhardt in the racing game might be going up for auction.

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Mecum is auctioning off the Challenger-bodied Saturday Night Special this month. Because no one is 100% sure it is the car Earnhardt tested, the pre-auction estimate is a bit on the lower side, coming in between $40,000 and $80,000. If this does happen to be the car that saved Earnhardt’s career, then paying that pretty penny would be a serious steal.

PHOTOS: See More Pictures of this Special Dodge Challenger

News Source: Yahoo! Autos

Photos via Mecum Auctions

A born-and-raised Jersey girl, Caitlin Moran has somehow found herself settled in Edinburgh, Scotland. When she’s not spending her days trying to remember which side of the road to drive on, Caitlin enjoys getting down and nerdy with English. She continues to combine her love of writing with her love of cars for The News Wheel, while also learning more about the European car market—including the fact that the Seat brand is pronounced “se-at” not “seat” as you might think. See more articles by Caitlin.