Comedian and ventriloquist Jeff Dunham remembers when he first became interested in "muscle cars."
In 1994, Dunham had a production deal with Tony Danza's Katie Face Productions for a potential show. He was given a check for $80,000.
"I've never told this story, but I had this holding deal and I was paid that money just to sit there and do nothing for six months while waiting," Dunham said. "It was free money. So I wrote a check for a Dodge Viper. I was some stupid kid walking into the dealership with blue jeans and a T-shirt."
An addiction was born.
"Well, I'm smarter with my money today, but I became a huge fan of that type of vehicle," said Dunham, who is a fixture on Comedy Central and tours nationally. "Now me and my buddies are going to all these car shows."
Recently, Dunham teamed up with Mopar to help design a Challenger SRT8 for the Specialty Equipment Market Association show in Las Vegas.
Dunham, along with Alan Palmer, owner of Palmer's Customs, worked with SRT and Mopar on "Project Ultraviolet" to transform a manual-transmission Dodge Challenger SRT8 into a souped-up muscle car.
"A lot of guys are drawn to their youth when it comes to cars," Dunham said. "Those were the things that stuck in my head when we were working on it. The car community is so passionate. It's almost a sickness."
Dunham, who has a 1970 Plymouth Barracuda and a few other cars, said he wanted to slow down on buying more cars. But ...
"Then one of my idiot friends will send me something they saw on eBay and I'll go, 'Oh, man!'" Dunham said. "I know the car thing is a side interest, but it's really taken on a life of its own."