Joy Curran’s passion for muscle cars goes back to when she was just a little girl. “My dad tells people that it started when I was about six years old. I always loved being around muscle cars and hands down my favorite are Mopars,” says Joy. When she was growing up (and to this day), Joy’s dad always had several cars at a time which included numerous Mopars such as a Coronet 500, Road Runner, Satellite, Demon, Dart and a Belvedere. He also owned various GM products such as an El Camino, Corvette, Camaro, Chevelle, Nova, Trans Am and a GTO; the list goes on.
Growing up, Joy’s dad’s friends always dropped by their house with their muscle cars and of course, that was where she wanted to be; in the garage listening and watching them work on the cars. Joy recalls, “I think about it now and realize how lucky I am; I drove around in some really rare muscle cars over the years. Whenever his friends dropped by, they all knew how much I loved the cars and of course I would ask them to take me for a quick cruise. My dad would tell them, “don’t be afraid to punch it, she isn’t happy unless you do!”
She continues to say, “My true love of Mopars definitely comes from my mom’s brother (my Uncle Richie) who I was very close to growing up. I will always miss him. He was tragically taken away from all of us way too young. When he would visit on weekends, we’d always go for a cruise. He would tell me about his 1967 Hemi 4-speed Coronet R/T. It was black with a black vinyl top and white interior! We would talk about what kind of car I would want when I grew up. Of course, I would tell him I wanted a Hemi and I wanted him to teach me how to drive a 4-speed.”
Over the years, Joy and her dad created many memories of attending local car shows, drag races at Raceway Park and swap meets together, further growing her passion for muscle cars. “The best times for me was spending a day sitting with his car and listening to the conversations when people stopped by. Of course, my favorite part was looking at all the cars and hearing about their history,” shares Joy.
She continues to say, “I think my dad enjoyed quizzing me, he would ask me, “Joy, what kind of car is that?”. I typically knew the year, make and model. I recall my mom telling me when I was much older that I was never interested in dolls, instead I had Hot Wheels cars and a race track. I even had a dirt bike and a 10 hp go-cart, before a 10-speed bike.”
Fast forwarding to age 16, Joy was working part-time and saving her money dreaming that one day she would be able to own her own Mopar. While her dad always asked her kind of car she wanted, Joy was pretty sure he knew the answer already; her heart was set on a Mopar E-Body. Joy says, “It didn’t matter if it was a ‘Cuda or a Challenger. I knew that was not going to be an easy find, especially with the funds that I had, but I still asked.” With the help of her dad, Joy purchased her first car, a Go Mango 1970 Challenger with matching orange interior. Under the hood was a 318 small block with an automatic transmission; the perfect first Mopar for a teenager.
“I was on cloud-nine; the definitely car needed some TLC but it was still an E-body! Unfortunately, like most people, I wish I still had my first car. While my passion for cars has always been a big part of my personality, it had to be placed on a hold for a while as life happened and took over,” recalls Joy. When the time came to start looking for another car, her husband asked her what her dream car was. Without hesitating, Joy stuck with the motto “Go Big or Go Home” and told her husband she wanted a ’70 AAR ‘Cuda.
After a long year of searching and several road trips looking at several ‘Cudas and AARs, Joy and her husband were extremely lucky to be introduced to “Hemi Joe” through their friend Rich Gengo (we did a feature on his ’71 ‘Cuda last year!) who just so happened to own an original AAR ‘Cuda. It turns out Joe had owned the AAR for 35 years, was the 2nd owner and had fully restored the car around 2002 over a three-year period.
“I will never forget the day I met him. I remember when he took me for a test drive; I absolutely fell in love with the car and made it mine right then and there! shares Joy. Joy’s AAR still retains it’s numbers matching 340 Six-Barrel and A833 Pistol Grip 4-speed manual transmission. It rolled off the assembly painted FF4 Lime Green Metallic with matching green bucket seat interior (Joy likes her color matched E-Bodies!) and optioned with the A01 Light Package, A53 Trans Am Package (meaning it’s a real AAR), A62 Rallye Instrument Cluster Package, power brakes and a center console.
Joy tells us, “The last few years have been so much fun. I’ve enjoyed so many car shows and cruise nights. I’ve met so many great people, many who are now great friends of ours and all share the same passion for Mopar muscle. There is just something about taking my car out on a nice day, even if for just for a short cruise; you are driving along, no music, just rowing through the gears, that smell of the gas fumes; there is no way you can wipe the smile off my face. Anyone who really knows me, knows how much the car means to me.”