I didn't have a number 340 painted on the side but THIS is the color and look of my Baby. The finish was a dark metal flake green that would look black or navy in some light. It didn't have a 340 engine it was a hopped up 318 V6. On my only outing as a street racer I blew away a Pontiac Bonneville on a short drag. He ran out of road before he could overtake me. The Bonny had a bigger engine, it didn't have my hop.
It was the most reliable car I have ever owned. Although one of the most unlucky. While it never failed to start, it attracted more than it's share of unusual problems. My parking space was next to this big old tree that lost a huge limb one hot humid August night. We'd just gotten home from visiting friends, walked into the house and weren't home more than 5 minutes when we heard this horrendous crash. Walked out front to see what it was and didn't see a thing. A neighbor came running out of her house to tell me my car was wrecked. She was right, that huge limb was standing upright in my trunk on top of the spare tire well. Held steady by the side porch roof which was also damaged. Not a breath of air stirring anywhere and a tree drops it's biggest limb into my car. Figure that one out.
I remember how devastated I was and the police officer trying to keep me from falling apart. He never knew how close he came to getting slapped upside the head when he told me he wasn't sure how to write the report. How does one report that a tree attacked a car anyway?
My insurance covered it and a couple of years later Baby lost her gas tank while I was sitting in the parking lot at Hancock Airport in Syracuse. It was strapped under the spare tire well, which probably was damaged when the tree limb fell into it. A couple more winters of snow and road salt did it in. We used a tire iron wedged across the spare tire well and wrapped a chain around it and the gas tank to drive home. The friends sitting in the back seat, who were the reason we were there to start out with, probably prayed all the way home. My mechanic, the wild and wooly Mike found a tank and mounted it to the frame since there was nothing left of the spare tire well when it rotted out.
The following year it was totaled while my then husband was driving home from a meeting. He was T-boned at 55 mph. Both cars were traveling at that speed. The driver of the other car ran a stop sign. That accident was the end of my car. In a way, it was also the end of my marriage. During tests made necessary by his injuries, it was discovered that he had inoperable cancer of the brain.
There were times in the next few months when I would have killed to have that car back. She had been my refuge when my world was falling apart. I could just hop in, turn the key and purr on down the road. Today's cars handle better than she did, but nothing will ever equal the feeling of piloting a muscle car like the 74 Duster with the pedal to the metal on the open highway. It's a high you just can't duplicate. One I will never have the pleasure of again.