Author Topic: RK Motors Restoring The Last HEMI: 1971 Dodge Charger R/T  (Read 10735 times)

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usmusclecars

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RK Motors Restoring The Last HEMI: 1971 Dodge Charger R/T
« on: June 05, 2012, 08:03:50 AM »
Some sort of hemispherical combustion chamber--heavily modified, updated, and optimized for its particular role, of course--can be found in any number of cars, from many brands; they've been used in an array of engines almost since the dawn of the automobile. But in the heyday of the muscle car Chrysler's marketing team made the HEMI engine something truly special, and its legend carries value even today. This is the story of the restoration of the last one built, a 426 HEMI in a 1971 Dodge Charger R/T.

The restoration is currently underway at RK Motors, to be finished out in "better-than-new condition" in time for the Mega Mopar Show at Virginia Motorsports Park, to be held September 22-23. That's a pretty tight deadline once you see what RK Motors has to work with. It's a raw, rusty, dilapidated bit of historic muscle hardware.

But despite the rough cosmetic condition, the Last HEMI was functional even when dropped off at the shop, and, as the video above attests, still capable of hellacious burnouts and plenty of noise.

Lest you think this particular Charger R/T might not be the real deal, a pair of broadcast sheets and a fender tag give support to the car's claim as the last HEMI car built by Chrysler, anywhere. It was originally built to special order placed by Glavic Dodge for a customer in Wickliffe, Ohio--and order placed after the HEMI was discontinued. But two weeks later, Chrysler contacted the customer, and it was built, leaving the factory at Lynch Road on June 18, 1971.

From there, it began a decade-long ride through obscurity, eventually being spotted in a garage by the current owner, Joe Angelucci, though it would take nearly 15 more years before Angelucci could get his hands on it. Now, Angelucci wants to wipe off the prodigious patina and take it back to its original glory.

RK Motors will be documenting the restoration throughout the process, so be sure to check back for new videos as the team gets their hands dirty and cleans the car up to the owner's exacting standards--using nothing but NOS parts, with no aftermarket or reproduction bits at all, if possible.


[youtube]1YJdz_l6Ht0[/youtube]
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69DirtyRat

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RK Motors Restoring The Last HEMI: 1971 Dodge Charger R/T
« Reply #1 on: June 05, 2012, 11:20:42 PM »
i didnt even know they put Hemi's in the 71 charger?
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1959 Cadillac Fleetwood 75 Limo 390ci 325hp
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usmusclecars

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RK Motors Restoring The Last HEMI: 1971 Dodge Charger R/T
« Reply #2 on: June 06, 2012, 06:23:41 AM »
They certainly did:


Few would have imagined such a fate. American automakers had been pushing power and big engines for nearly two decades. Now, by 1971, Detroit was reducing the power.

Chrysler was holding out, though. One of the last items anyone would have expected on the 1971 Dodge Charger option sheet was the 426 Hemi V-8, but there it was. It wasn’t intensely promoted, to be sure, but it was there.

Granted, not many folks ticked the Hemi option: just 85 Chargers were built with it in ’71. But if not many Hemis were delivered, that didn’t mean the Hemi didn’t still deliver. As had been the case since its 1964 debut as a race engine, the Hemi was rated at 425 horsepower and had 490 pounds/feet of available torque. MoPar kept the compression high, too, at 10.2:1.

The legendary engine would fade from the lineup after this year, but the Charger that was its last home was a radically new Chrysler intermediate with an elongated “Coke bottle” shape and a semi-fastback roofline. Wheelbase for once was down, to 115, two inches shorter than the 1970 version. If the Hemi was evidence that Chrysler was holding onto the performance era, the slant-six cylinder engine that came standard in the base ’71 Charger was a sure sign that MoPar had glimpsed the end of the muscle age. The base V-8 engine was the 318.

Above the $2707 base Charger was the $3223 500, and $3357 luxury SE. The Super Bee name came to the Charger line for ’71 as a basic performance-oriented model with a 275-horsepower 383-cubic-inch V-8 and Rallye Suspension standard. It listed for $3271. A 300-horsepower 383 was the next rung up the V-8 ladder, while the R/T returned with the 370-horsepower 440 Magnum standard. It listed for $3777. The Hemi was available on the R/T and Charger Super Bee models.

All R/Ts received a blackout louvered performance hood, special door skins with simulated air extractors, and Rallye wheels. A colored racing stripe vectored aft from the cowl, following the beltline. Rear deck spoiler and chin spoiler were optional. Hemi Super Bee models were less radical, with fewer door vents, but still striking with their bumblebee graphics.

High-back bucket seats, Slap-Stick or Hurst pistol-grip shifter, console, full instrumentation, trimmed pedals, and a choice of audio options were found inside.

The 426 Hemi cost an extra $883.55 (not including required extras) and was available with standard four-speed or optional TorqueFlite. Sure-Grip differential was a mandatory option. Eleven-inch drum brakes -- 3 inches wide up front, 2½ inches wide at the rear -- were standard in both Super Bee and R/T. Hemi Chargers also had a vacuum-operated hood scoop activated by a dashboard switch. It allowed cold air to reach the twin Carter AFB four-barrel carburetors via the shortest path.

Dodge’s Performance Parts Catalog, titled “Hustle Stuff for the Dodge Scat Pack,” was one more signal that excitement hadn’t been forgotten. The list of available goodies included not only Dodge-brand components but shifters from Hurst, performance cams from Racer Brown and Iskenderian, headers from Hooker, and Edelbrock manifolds.

The 440 Magnum would still give a Hemi -- or anything else on the road -- a heap of trouble in street racing. One advantage of the 440 had been that it was easier than the Hemi to keep in tune. In 1970, however, Chrysler gave the Hemi hydraulic valve lifters, which helped keep the engine in optimum tune and made it a more viable street sweeper. Quarter-mile times were in the high 13s at more than 100 mph -- fine numbers for any era.

Automotive journalist and race driver Patrick Bedard, listing his personal top-10 muscle cars for the January 1990 issue of Car and Driver, remembers how it was: “Hemis were easy to drive in commuter traffic but hard to race from a standing start because of the way the carburetors worked. At light throttle, the engine ran on the front half of the rear four-barrel. As the pedal went down, the primaries of the front four-barrel opened, followed after a bit by both secondaries at once. A good launch required enough wheelspin to get the revs up into the torque range, but it was easy to open too many throttles too soon and burn the tires. The necessary technique was quite challenging with a four-speed. If you were Hemi hunting in a lesser car, you wanted to catch him at a stop. If he fumbled and you were lucky enough to pull out a fender-length on him, you claimed victory early by backing off the power, thereby ending the run. If you were crazy enough to stay on it, the Hemi would take over in short order.” Bedard also points out that advances in tire technology by the early ’70s helped improve traction and cut quarter-mile times slightly.

With their slick new bodies, Hemi Chargers were again a winning force in NASCAR, and some observers credit Chrysler’s drag-racing experience with helping it get the most out of its oval stockers now that NASCAR required them to be closer than ever to production cars.

Dodge sold just 5054 Charger Super Bees and only 3118 Charger R/Ts in ’71, and while fewer than 100 were equipped with the Hemi, King Kong would remain a strong presence in all sorts of competitive motorsports for years to come. On the street, however, 1971 was indeed the requiem for this heavyweight.

Engine Type
 V-8/RB-Block/Hemi
 
Displacement (cid)
 426
 
Horsepower @ rpm:
 425 @ 5000
 
Torque (pounds/feet) @ rpm
 490 @ 4000
 
Compression Ratio
 10.2:1
 
Bore (inches)
 4.25
 
Stroke (inches)
 3.75
 
Valve Lifters
 Hydraulic
 
Availability
 1971 Charger R/T and Super Bee
 

Times*:


0-60 mph (sec)
 5.8
 
0-100 mph (sec)
 13.0
 
1/4-mile (sec)
 13.73 @ 104 mph
 
Top speed (mph)
 115
 
Axle ratio
 4.10:1
 


*Source: Muscle Car Review (1970)


Times*:


0-60 mph (sec)
 5.7
 
0-100 mph (sec)
 N/A
 
1/4-mile (sec)
 13.73 @ 104 mph
 
Top speed (mph)
 N/A
 
Axle ratio
 4.10:1
 
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bonnevista

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RK Motors Restoring The Last HEMI: 1971 Dodge Charger R/T
« Reply #3 on: June 07, 2012, 10:35:37 AM »
I'm not trying to be a smart a**e when I say this, but I'm actually a bit disappointed in those performance figures (if indeed they're accurate).

There were plenty of cars from the 'era' that had a lot less engine and a lot less rear gear that would run similar times.

Whilst my '66 GTO had a later model Pontiac 455 fitted.  It was smooth idling, had cast iron heads with a 9.3:1 compression ratio, had a 2 speed auto and a 3.08:1 open rear end.  It was my (then) wife's daily driver and never ran hot and returned decent milage.  It ran constant 14 seconds flat @ 99.9 mph.  I would think that just going to a 3 speed auto would've got that car into the 13's and over 100 mph.

69DirtyRat

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RK Motors Restoring The Last HEMI: 1971 Dodge Charger R/T
« Reply #4 on: June 07, 2012, 10:58:54 PM »
The hemi was way underated to satisfy the insurance companies at the time, I think they were more like 500+ hp!
Just like the Corvette L88 was rated at a miserly 430hp (what a joke!). realistically they were 580- over 600hp 10sec car back in 1969!!! And the hemi was similar! Thats why they have such a big reputation for being Muscle engines.
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bonnevista

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RK Motors Restoring The Last HEMI: 1971 Dodge Charger R/T
« Reply #5 on: June 07, 2012, 11:19:52 PM »
Quote from: 69DirtyRat link=topic=5007.msg31096#msg31096
The hemi was way underated to satisfy the insurance companies at the time, I think they were more like 500+ hp!
Just like the Corvette L88 was rated at a miserly 430hp (what a joke!). realistically they were 580- over 600hp 10sec car back in 1969!!! And the hemi was similar! Thats why they have such a big reputation for being Muscle engines.


So, are you saying that motoring journalists drove other peoples cars and went easy on them???
:rol::rol::rol::rol:
Yeah, right.

Also, if the actual horsepower is so under rated, then those quarter mile times really suck.

bonnevista

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RK Motors Restoring The Last HEMI: 1971 Dodge Charger R/T
« Reply #6 on: June 12, 2012, 05:49:28 PM »
MOPAR,
Mostly Old People And Rednecks...:lol:

sms777

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RK Motors Restoring The Last HEMI: 1971 Dodge Charger R/T
« Reply #7 on: June 14, 2012, 09:44:43 AM »
PONTIAC.....Poor Old Nigger Think It's A Cadillac......:zip:

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rattusrex

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RK Motors Restoring The Last HEMI: 1971 Dodge Charger R/T
« Reply #8 on: June 18, 2012, 09:04:13 PM »
Quote from: sms777 link=topic=5007.msg31242#msg31242
PONTIAC.....Poor Old Nigger Think It's A Cadillac......:zip:

Touche' B.V. :pat:

bonnevista

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RK Motors Restoring The Last HEMI: 1971 Dodge Charger R/T
« Reply #9 on: June 18, 2012, 10:12:43 PM »
Quote from: rattusrex link=topic=5007.msg31315#msg31315
Quote from: sms777 link=topic=5007.msg31242#msg31242
PONTIAC.....Poor Old Nigger Think It's A Cadillac......:zip:

Touche' B.V. :pat:


So, a substantial portion of the US population thinks that Pontiacs are just as good as Cadillacs.  I'll take that.

 

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