Friday, July 1, 2011

40 Years Later, the Dodge Challenger Marks a Milestone for Iowa Couple

40 Years Later, The Dodge Challenger Marks A Milestone for Iowa Couple

Hendersonville, North Carolina – You can see the pilot light of memory flicker in Judy Houdesheldt’s eyes when she shows us pictures of Betsy.

“I was driving a 1970 Chrysler LeBaron,” she explains while flipping through a photo album filled with shots of Betsy – her 1971 Dodge Challenger.  “But it was gold and boxy.  I felt like I was driving an old lady car.”

She needed to upgrade. You see, Judy had big plans for this car:

“I got her because I wanted to meet a man,” she admits with cheeky enthusiasm and a wry smile.

On July 1st, 1971, Judy took ownership of a brand new 1971 Dodge Challenger which she special ordered from a dealership in Iowa City, Iowa.  And she got exactly what she wanted:

A little over a month later, she met Chuck Houdesheldt.  They celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary next June.

For the Houdesheldt’s, Betsy has been like a member of the family.  They have dozens of pictures of her neatly organized in a scrapbook, along with all of her original paperwork.  Betsy has been shown at a number of car events, and recently placed 3rd at a show called Mopar on the Mississippi.  With their anniversary approaching, the Houdesheldt’s decided Betty needed a new companion.

That search brought them 800 miles through 6 states to Egolf Dodge, Jeep, Chrysler and RAM in Hendersonville, North Carolina.

And that’s where they first laid eyes on Ditto.

“The dealership where I ordered Betsy is still there, but has changed ownership,” Judy explains.  We visited them last year and told them we wanted to get a new 2011 just like her.  We could have ordered it, but we risked not getting it by July 1st.  The dealer inquired about a similar vehicle, but we couldn’t find one in our area.  We searched all over the country and found one in Hendersonville, NC.  We got out the atlas and realized we could drive down there and get it.”

The Houdesheldt’s sent pictures of Betsy to Egolf of Hendersonville and when Egolf said they could customize their new 2011 Challenger to look exactly like Betsy, they drove from Iowa in their trade-in to pick up Betsy’s new companion.  With Egolf of Hendersonville celebrating their 40 year anniversary a mere weeks after Betty and Chuck, everything that transpired seemed like fate.

“We put a lot of faith and trust in this process, and we were beyond thrilled with the experience.  Our salesperson Brandon Lance bent over backwards to make sure we got everything we wanted and needed.” 

Judy and Chuck joke that they would someday like to sell their twin Challengers to Jay Leno, one of the world’s foremost car aficionados.  But of course, there’s still a lot of enjoyment to be had once they take Ditto, the newest member of their family, back to Iowa.

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