Latest NewsLocalPolitics

‘It’s the curse of the ’67 Charger’: Has this Toronto family’s car jinxed the Maple Leafs? –

David Angelis in his dad's 1967 Dodge Charger at the Wrenchspinner AutoPro garage at Kipling Ave. in Toronto, June 29, 2021. The car has been in the family since it was built.

By Rob FergusonQueen’s Park Bureau

Sat., July 3, 20214 min. read

It was born in Leafs blue and white during a playoff run and delivered from Detroit on May 13, 1967 — five days after the victory parade for the Toronto Maple Leafs’ 13th Stanley Cup.

A 21-year-old Dave Angelis of Toronto had scraped together a deposit and ordered the first generation Dodge Charger fastback with its trademark four bucket seats that February, convinced a middling Leafs team would pull it off that year in the last season of the Original Six.

And they did. George Armstrong, scoring the winning goal on Montreal’s empty net with 47 seconds left, with Dave Keon, Red Kelly, Frank Mahovlich and another hall-of-famer whose name adorns a chain of doughnut shops.

But since?

“It’s the curse of the ‘67 Charger,” says the owner’s son, David Angelis, breaking into a sheepish smile.

His dad paid $3,941 for the car, a family mainstay ever since with more than 400,000 miles on the odometer. It was in the Wrenchspinner garage on Kipling Ave. for a few upgrades this week. Notably, a new ignition system.

Is that a hint or what, Leafs?

David Angelis, left, and his mother Theresa Angelis, pose in front of their family's 1967 Dodge Charger. The car has been a daily driver, a wedding ride, and on many family trips.

With the Montreal Canadiens making it to the Stanley Cup final after rebounding from a 3-1 series deficit to crown the Leafs first-round-exit champions, the Angelis family decided it’s time to break their jinx.

They want the Leafs to channel some muscle, like their Charger’s 383 cubic-inch V8 with a four-barrel carb. Gas mileage be damned. Roll those power windows down — air conditioning was $900 extra and sapped horsepower. Crank that AM radio.

So the ownership has just been transferred to “mom,” Theresa Angelis, widow of Dave. He died of cancer last year and is remembered by many in classic car circles for his collection and volunteering at Milton’s Game On charity ball hockey tournament for children’s mental health.

“The curse didn’t begin right away. After 10 years of the Leafs not winning, he started saying ‘they haven’t won since I bought the car,’” says Theresa, sporting a T-shirt with a tiny Leafs logo over the heart.

Her husband mused about selling. The joke became that a rich fan might pay a million to break the curse.

“I remember as a kid, I wanted to have the Leafs win but I didn’t want to put it up for sale,” recalls David.

A wedding photo of the Dave and Theresa Angelis with their 1967 Dodge Charger.

Born in London, Ont., three years after that last Stanley Cup, David rode home from the hospital in that car. One day, its front fender was side-swiped.

“Talk about the curse!” adds David, a developer.

While this all sounds like fodder for a Tragically Hip song, it is musician and hockey author Dave Bidini of Rheostatics fame who best addressed this season’s angst with a lament on CBC Radio’s Day 6.

“Loving the Leafs is hard,” Bidini intoned.

“Not everyone can cheer for the cursed and celebrate the blighted. Not everyone can stand and watch as you’re let down again and again, season after season, harder each time.”



It’s been 54 years since that lastStanley Cup.

A look inside the Angelis family's 1967 Dodge Charger. Bucket seats, hidden headlights and a full-length centre console that extended to the back seats set the car apart.

By pure coincidence, the week that Angelis Sr. picked up his beloved Charger, crooner Engelbert Humperdinck topped the 1050 CHUM charts with this tune:

“Please release me, let me go. For I don’t love you anymore. To waste our lives would be a sin. Release me and let me love again.”

But the Angelis family is sticking with the Leafs and the symbolic Charger brimming with priceless sentimental value.

It’s been a daily driver, Dave and Theresa’s wedding ride, and on many family trips with the rear seats folded flat for snoozing.

“I’ve had my whole life with this car. It makes me feel like the Leafs are part of our extended family,” says David, ever hopeful for the team.

Dave Angelis of Toronto paid $3,941 for the car in 1967.

“You can’t give up. The old adage is that losers are those who fall down and stay down. You either win or you learn, and it’s a long learning curve. We’re getting there.”

At the Wrenchspinner garage, owner and mechanic Mark Sach-Anderson (full disclosure: he has been servicing my car for 10 years) says he’s happy to keep the Charger going for as long as it takes for the Leafs to become champions again. Or longer.

“It’s nice to know there are so many memories with this,” he adds, noting it’s a welcome change of pace to work on a historic vehicle — a model that went on to become a NASCAR icon and played a starring role in the Dukes of Hazzard in its revised 1969 iteration.

“This one gets me out of the box. It makes me think and research.”

The Charger came with a 383 cubic-inch V8 with a four-barrel carburetor. At the time it was purchases, air conditioning was $900 extra.

Dodge historian Brandt Rosenbusch of parent company Stellantis North America says the four bucket seats weren’t the only feature that set the 1967 Charger apart — there were hidden headlights and a full-length centre console that extended to the back seats, with a fold-down barrier into the trunk to boost cargo space.

A fastback with a hatchback sold with the slogan “Join the Dodge rebellion.”

“They advertised you could haul odd-shaped things. It was very versatile,” Rosenbusch adds from his Detroit office with a view to the site of the old Dodge main plant where the Charger was built.

“Usually with muscle cars, it’s not what you can carry, it’s how fast you can go. But at the time the muscle era was in its infancy and the manufacturers were seeing where they could place their vehicles and what kind of market they had.”

Just the ride for a 21-year-old Leafs fan and future father of three. Still raring to go on that ticker tape parade from the rink to City Hall.