Today’s VLOGROCKET is Jeff Berger’s sweet ’71 Dodge Challenger!

I’ve always considered convertible muscle cars to be “relaxed” cruisers. 

While a muscle car generally consists of horsepower, speed, aggression and ego, the convertible has all those things – but with its top down. 

And with that one thing, it chooses to chill and just enjoy the scenery. That’s why Jeff Berger is this week’s Ride of the Week.

Jeff originally reached out to me to do his dad’s amazing Jaguar (which we did), but when he mentioned that he had a ‘71 Dodge Challenger R/T Convertible, my grin turned into a shape resembling tight Japanese soup bowl. I knew at that point, that the only thing that could bring my lips back to their original shape was a ride in that red beast.

Like slick oil spewed from a James Bond car, I scooted down to Jeff’s pad on PCH to get a ride in that 340 4Barrel. Right off the bat, when he pulled the car out his garage, I knew that it was time for some muscle meditation. We were going to head north (with his girlfriend) and experience Pacific Coast Highway, top open. As a DJ manager and event promoter, I knew that Jeff’s excited personality was going to make for a good conversation.

“The car has all the original factory options except the 8-track player,” he revved. “Equipped with the 340cu in – 5573 cc – V8 – 4 bbl  275hp engine and weighs 3,210 pounds with a  110-inch wheelbase, 191.3 inches in length and 76.3 inches in width. It’s a big, heavy, sexy roaring beast.” 

That it was. We drooled through town and up the Pepperdine hill.

“I think we acquired the car in the mid ‘80s,” he said. “My father’s good friend from UCLA was the owner. At the time, the car had been sitting in a storage unit for years with approximately 390,000 miles. The vehicle was in amazing survivor condition and he had all the original manuals and service records.” 

So I asked Jeff to go on, eager to hear more as the wind whipped my red hair into an exploded slinky. 

“I’ve always been a fan of muscle cars,” he said. “Their shape, the stance and how they just look ‘fast’ standing still. And, of course, the sound of the engine when you fire it up.”

There’s something about a muscle car for sure. Your ability to launch off the line and send your guts into a “Nasa Holding Pattern.” But the elevated consciousness of the convertible says, “You can, but let’s cruise and just be a visual badass instead.” We did.

To Jeff, the best part of the car is either view from the front or the side. They both scream “sleek” and “get outta my way.”  And the Challenger’s “power bulge” hood with the R/T letters and cotter pins really emphasize those points. Like a bodybuilder walking up to you and saying, “Hey little man, have you seen my guns anywhere? Oh, there they are, attached to my elbows.”

Primarily for Jeff, this ‘71 is a “cruiser” for sunny Sunday drives up PCH or the Rock Store. And of course attending any Cars and Coffee events.

“I’ve been pulled over several times because police officers wanted to check out the car,” he continued as we drove back after the photo shoot. “After the initial ‘flashing red lights/heart in your throat’ moment subsided, it turned out that these were die-hard car guys and it was the first or second time they had the chance to get up close and personal with a vehicle like this.” 

The only cops on the planet that will literally stop you for coolness.  

And what does Jeff love most about our lil’ town of cars? 

“It’s a toss-up between the stunning views, the looks/smiles/thumbs up you get at the red lights and parking lots or the random conversations you engage in with all types of people and personalities of all ages,” he said.

Ah yes, we are all “Car People” struggling to tell stories of our rides, which is why this article is oh so important. 

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