Thursday, October 27, 2011

One of 2, 1971 Charger R/T was a Charlotte Motor Speedway pace car

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.

When looking into a restoration, Steve was told 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.

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.

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!

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