My (orange) ’71 Charger R/T

This car was originally a nicely loaded 440 4-bbl, but when I bought it, there was a replacement 440 6-pack engine in it.


V6X 26 END
  N41 N96 R11 V08 V21
C16 C55 J45 J78 J81 M21
EV2  U  A01 A36 A45 B11
EV2 D6X9 TX9 910 036908
E86 D32 WS23 U1G 112111

ENGINE S/N: 1A188862

The car was Hemi Orange, black interior, automatic trans, 3.55 Sure Grip, Air Grabber, front chin spolier, rear Go-Wing. It had been repainted once but they did not put the side stripes back on. However, they did tape off the black hood treatment. The paint on the Air Grabber door was badly lacquer checked and I would later strip it down and repaint it. It had 65,000 miles when I acquired it on 9-16-89. I traded my ’69 Charger R/T plus $2500 cash for it.

I didn’t drive it much when I was in Virginia. I took it to only 1 car show, at the 75-80 Dragway.

When I moved to Idaho, I left it parked in a friend’s garage; then 6 months later, I flew back and drove the car cross-country. On that trip, I had specifically wanted to stop by Jerry Junnemann’s “Wheels N Spokes” museum in Hays, Kansas. I left Virginia on a Friday evening and by Sunday afternoon I was making good time across Kansas. I considered stopping in Hays (which was about 12 miles ahead) and I also thought that if I kept driving, I could make it to Denver by midnight; but there still was no way I could make it to work in Twin Falls by Monday morning. What to do, what to do….. Then the engine died and I drifted to the side of the road. I looked at the dash and said “OK, I see which way YOU’RE voting“. The fuel gauge showed 1/2 tank so I got out, popped the hood, and checked for spark at the coil. Nothing. I removed the distributor cap, cranked the engine over by inserting the key into the starter relay, and the problem was obvious – the points had no gap. Having no tools with me, I had to get creative. Using one of the hood pin clips as a lever and the other clip as a steady rest, I was able to bend the point arm just enough to make a gap. It wasn’t pretty, but the engine started. “OK, you win; we’re spending the night“. I limped the car into town and spotted a K-Mart. I ran inside and luckily they had a set of Mopar points, which I bought along with a straight screwdriver. Out in the parking lot, I started installing the points when I saw the store turn off the lights, indicating they were closing up for the day. It was then that I realized I had not bought a feeler gauge set. Hmmmm, time to get creative again. I remembered that paper was about 0.004″ thick, so I folded the receipt twice making the MacGuyver version of a 0.016” feeler gauge. With the points set and the car running great, I found a cheap hotel for the night, found a pizza joint up the street, took a shower, and got a good night’s sleep. The following morning I stopped by the museum and spent 3 hours pouring over the cars they had on display. The guy that was running the front desk said Jerry was out of town and he was nice enough to pull back some of the display chains so I could get better pictures. He also popped a few hoods for me. We talked about Mopars and I pointed out my car in the parking lot. He walked me through their body shop, pointing out the cars that were in progress. Then we went out back and he pointed out their private 2 acre junkyard, which they used for parts on cars in the shop. Then he pointed out a large metal building and said it was full of very cool Mopars just waiting their turn in the shop. It was like visiting the Mopar holy land. I left at 11 AM and I drove like mad, making it home to Twin Falls at 3:30 AM.

I drove it to only 1 car show in Idaho. I had registered it for the “Stock” class but the show judges tried to put me in the “Modified” class because of the intake & carb change. I protested, so they refunded my entrance fee and said I would not be judged. Everyone I talked to that day said I would have easily gotten 2nd place if I was still in the “Stock” class.

I sold the car in 1993 through a consignment store in Boise, Idaho with 68,000 miles. Before selling the car, I removed the 6 pack setup and installed the correct 4 bbl unit that the car was supposed to have. The 6-pack unit was destined to go on my ’70 Road Runner, but that’s another story…..


About hemibill

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