One of the Many "star cars" Expected at the '71 Charger Anniversary Event
This 1971 white Dodge Charger 440 4-barrel is heavily laden with options--sunroof (only 33 Charger R/Ts were equipped with sunroofs that year and only three of those were white), 727, power windows, buckets, console, hideaway headlights and, get this--headlight washers. The car was ordered with 14-inch steelies, Goodyear Polyglas G70-14s and no wheel covers (as per the build sheet). Oddly enough, first owner did not opt for air conditioning. To the second owner, Steve, who bought at age 17 in 1971, this Charger was just a car and it became a daily driver. He kept the car stock with the exception of adding an aftermarket A/C system, Keystone mags (but he saved the original rims) and a Bonsonic 8-Track player Oh yeah, he did add louder mufflers but they came off after a couple of year when he finally had enough of those. Steve registered the car in his dad’s name until he was 25 for a break on insurance. After driving it daily until 1978 and logging more than 105,000 miles, Steve parked the car.
Despite several offers to purchase the car, Steve happily kept it in storage. In 2010, Steve wanted to put the car back on the road. A friend of Steve’s told him about a Mopar restoration shop--Creations by Gemza—located about 3 miles from his house. They had heard about this Charger and were anxious to see it. Steve drove the car over and talked about a possible restoration.
Upon inspection, the Gemzas realized that the Charger was a piece of Mopar history and essentially an unmolested survivor. Steve learned that this was one of two identical '71 Chargers purchased by the owner of Charlotte Motor Speedway, Richard Howard, to promote national NASCAR cup races. Howard bought the cars in February ‘71, lettered them and he and some of his employees drove them thither and yon as rolling billboards to promote the races. The World 600 ran on May 30th (the National 500 ran on October 10th) with Bobby Allison taking the checkered, followed by Donnie Allison, Pete Hamilton, Richard Petty, Fred Lorenzen and Buddy Baker in that order.
The Gemzas bolted back on the original rims and wanted to re-letter the car back to its pace car trim, but there was no reference material to go by. Tim Wellborn, noted collector of 1971 Hemi and 6-pack Chargers, among other cars, plus a ton of memorabilia, saved the day. He had an original program for the 1971 World 600 race, plus a sales brochure with several color photo of the pace car lettered, and he sent copies to the Gemza shop.
Steve will be showing this amazing Charger at Mopar events including the Charger reunion at Tim Wellborne’s Musclecar Museum in Alexander City, AL this October. The car should be quite a hit!