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Tapping Hemi Memories, Chrysler Flexes Muscle Again

Old 09-30-2006, 08:50 PM
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Default Tapping Hemi Memories, Chrysler Flexes Muscle Again

I like it when a Hemi flexes it muscle. Enjoy the article!

October 1, 2006

Collecting

Tapping Hemi Memories, Chrysler Flexes Muscle Again By JERRY GARRETT


NEARLY 20 years ago, Barry Washington stumbled across an unusual used car, a 1970 Dodge Challenger T/A. He didn’t know much about it, other than that it had cool racing stripes, wild orange paint and a motor born for racing.

He bought the car, though he recalls thinking that the price, $6,500, seemed far too high. So began a new life for the driver and the car, whose value today is comfortably in six figures.

Not only was the Challenger T/A a rare model, it was especially an anomaly where Mr. Washington found it, near his home in Ketchikan, Alaska.

Ketchikan is on Revillagigedo Island, reachable only by boat. The town doesn’t even have a Dodge dealer; the previous owner had brought the car in by ship.

“I drove it around here every day for about three and a half years,” Mr. Washington said in an interview. “I did a lot of street racing with it. No one ever caught me.”

Fortunately for his driver’s license, that included the local police.

During that time, Mr. Washington put 23,000 miles on the car — an amazing feat given that the island has only a few dozen miles of paved roads. The Challenger spent about 15 years outdoors in a town that, on average, has 200 rainy days a year.

About five years ago, Mr. Washington found a way to garage his car — not long after he found out how valuable it had become.

Prices for Challenger T/A’s, along with a whole generation of Challengers and Plymouth Barracudas, have risen exponentially in recent years, particularly since DaimlerChrysler announced in July that it would bring back the Challenger in 2008.

Mr. Washington’s research revealed that the 1970 Challenger T/A was a racing version of Dodge’s belated entry into the muscle car wars. Only 2,518 are known to have been built; Mr. Washington knows this because he has become perhaps the top authority on the cars. He now heads the Challenger T/A Registry (challengertaregistry.com) and is the spiritual leader of a group of owners and aficionados seeking to locate T/A’s or document what happened to all of them. “We’re about halfway there,” he said, having cataloged 1,198 as of last week.

As much as the T/A (and the very similar 1970 AAR Plymouth ’Cuda) are worth, they are far from the most valuable of the Chrysler Corporation’s original muscle cars.

“The holy grail of the muscle car world is the ’71 Hemi ’Cuda convertible — just because so few of them were made,” said Steve Davis, vice president of the Barrett-Jackson Auction Company. “That’s King Kong. After that, it would be maybe the ’70 Hemi ’Cuda convertible, then the hardtop versions of those cars, the 440 ‘Six Pack’ models (with 3 two-barrel carburetors) and then maybe some of the subsets, like the AAR ’Cudas or Challenger T/A’s.”

What does Mr. Davis mean by holy grail? The current auction record for a ’71 Hemi ’Cuda convertible (one of fewer than a dozen made) is “well north of $2 million,” he said. He predicts that this record will be easily and repeatedly broken in January when a bumper crop of Dodge and Plymouth muscle cars go on the block at Barrett-Jackson’s big auction in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Galen V. Govier of Eau Claire, Wis., who operates a service that verifies serial numbers, points out that a pristine 1971 Hemi ’Cuda convertible has skyrocketed in value from a range of $15,000 to $25,000 in 1985 to an estimated $3 million this year. Not bad for cars that cost about $5,000 new and were not huge sales successes.

Chrysler enthusiasts like to point out that the company was the first with a pony car — its Plymouth Barracuda was introduced on April Fools’ Day, 1964, and was in dealerships a few weeks before the Ford Mustang. But Ford fans scoff, asking how there could have been a pony car b
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Old 10-01-2006, 09:41 PM
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Default RE: Tapping Hemi Memories, Chrysler Flexes Muscle Again

So do I. I don't think 2008 is too late. From what I have heard, the price of oil is going to be less next year.
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Old 10-01-2006, 11:56 PM
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Default RE: Tapping Hemi Memories, Chrysler Flexes Muscle Again

I'm still going to buy an icon Challenger, just because I want one. I don't care what people think about muscle cars. I like them and that is all that matters. I didn't buy my '70 Challenger because off anyone else but me. I've always liked the e-body and always will.
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Old 10-02-2006, 05:16 PM
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Default RE: Tapping Hemi Memories, Chrysler Flexes Muscle Again

By the time they become collectors items again in 50 years, gasoline will be gone and we will all be driving electric cars but if that happens they won't be
collectors items anymore because gasoline won't exist.

Actually, this is just pure speculation and I'll be a century old by then and driving around in my Challenger. Everybody better watch out on the road 'cause here I come. LOL!
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Old 10-03-2006, 11:07 AM
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Default RE: Tapping Hemi Memories, Chrysler Flexes Muscle Again

ORIGINAL: Jeremiah 29:11

By the time they become collectors items again in 50 years, gasoline will be gone and we will all be driving electric cars but if that happens they won't be
collectors items anymore because gasoline won't exist.

Actually, this is just pure speculation and I'll be a century old by then and driving around in my Challenger. Everybody better watch out on the road 'cause here I come. LOL!
Even if gasoline would no longer be widely used, it would still be a collectors item. I'm sure there will always be a source of energy for automobiles. Really we don't have a clue what tomorrow will bring. We could still be using gasoline 50 years from now. You never know.

If you still are driving when you're 100 at least do me one favor, please drive at least the speed limit. I'm joking!

mosleyle, I understand where coming from. I like this car, not because it is causing a lot of popularity buzz, but because I love the way it looks. I bought my Intrepid not because it was popular to have one in my school (quite the contrary, they said I had a boat), but because I like the appearance of the car.
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