It was during a drive to his job at Mohegan Sun when freshman Anson Wang had a life-changing experience.
“I got only four hours sleep,” Wang says. “I was up, doing things continuously. I closed my eyes and swerved off the road into a tree.”
Wang, a senior exercise science major, walked away from the crash, but his car did not. The Chrysler 300 he had been driving was totaled and he was forced to drive his parents’ Toyota RAV4 for the time being.
Then, the RAV4 suddenly stopped running. It was nearing the cold winter months, and Wang was in need of a new ride—specifically with all-wheel drive that can handle the snow and slush of Connecticut roads. He went to his local dealership with his mind set on a Jeep.
After arriving at the dealership, however, Wang had his eyes set on another vehicle, his dream car: the 2017 Dodge Challenger. The deal got even better: the salesperson said they had a yellow, all-wheel drive, version of this Challenger in stock.
“It just clicked,” says Wang. “I took it for a spin, and then I said I want to get it. It can do the snow, it’s an all year vehicle.”
Wang subsequently bought the vehicle. To him, it was a no-brainer. He paid for it with help from tips he saved up as a blackjack dealer at Mohegan Sun.
He nicknamed the car the “yellow jacket” and its appearance speaks true to that name.
“I got yellow because [the dealership] was getting rid of all the previous years’ models,” says Wang.
Instead of getting a 2018 model that cost $6,000 more with no visible changes, Wang went with the previous year’s model.
According to autotrader.com, the manufacturer’s suggested retail price of the 2017 Dodge Challenger is valued between $26,000 and $63,000 at market rate. Its mileage ranges from 13 to 19 miles per gallon in the city, and 21 to 30 miles per gallon on highways.
Inside the vehicle, Wang keeps it clean. It is a two-door vehicle with seats clad in black leather, and the Dodge logo is branded on the wheel. Wang has a wide view through the driver’s seat, as well as a sunroof and comfortable seating.
Driving around Southern’s campus, Wang’s Challenger sticks out in the commuter lots and in the Wintergreen parking garage. Among the gray, blue, gold and red vehicles faculty, students and staff commute to campus with, Wang’s ride shakes up the status quo. Though, that does not make Wang’s ride any less prone to parking woes and tickets in New Haven.
Wang is a Southern local—he lives across from the Barack H. Obama Magnet University School on Fitch Street—and parks his Challenger on the street when he’s home.
When asked, Wang even lets some of his friends give the Challenger a test ride.
Besides the love for his Dodge Challenger, Wang enjoys going to the
gym and working out at Montanari Brothers in Hamden.
Wang shows his exercise routines and regiments on his Instagram (@ansonwang.97) and Facebook profiles. The Dodge Challenger even has a social media presence on Instagram (@fastasiann).
At the university, Wang is part of the exercise science club and plays as a flanker in the intramural rugby club.
A native of New London, Wang found a love of cars at a young age and has seen every “Fast and Furious” film. He is drawn less to the looks of his Dodge Challenger and any other sports car on the market, and more to the sound.
“I can’t tell when it happened. I just
got drawn toward it,” says Wang. “With a car, you can do anything to it, make it your own.”
Since this purchase, Wang has taken the Challenger on trips to Canada and upstate New York. He hopes to one day take the sports car on a trip to Florida.
“It’s a good car to drive in, so a lot of cool trips,” says Wang.
Electric cars are on the rise: Teslas are becoming more visible on the streets. Car companies like BMW, Chevrolet, and even Dodge are investing in electric vehicles.
Even though Wang sees his Dodge Challenger as an investment, he is not opposed to getting an electric version of a Dodge in the future. Wang says he has heard of some electric models having a greater horsepower than the gas powered counterparts.
“If I can switch [it] up and get a car that’s more energy efficient, and has more horsepower, I would definitely [get it],” says Wang.
In terms of working on the Challenger, Wang is not finished with making modifications to his car. He wants to increase the speed, which includes the installation of a supercharger and cosmetic upgrades, to make the vehicle look more “aggressive.” These include a wider body, increased lighting, and new wheels.
“I see myself using this car for a long time. I love this car,” says Wang. “So I take very good care of it. I service it when it needs to be.”
For those looking to buy a new car, Wang believes in buying a vehicle based on someone’s current financial situation.
“I bought the car because I could afford it,” says Wang. “But if I couldn’t afford it,
I would have gone for something cheaper.”
By Jason Edwards