1971 Charger RT 1971 Charger RT

    '71 Charger R/T
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   Samuel Bernardeau '71 R/T FJ6 440 Auto

By Samuel Bernardeau

This car was found in 1984 at a Pep Boys parking lot in Huntington Beach CA. I was a junior in High School at the time. We all thought that some who worked their owned the car so we thought nothing of it. About nine months later we noticed that the car was still there and little things were starting to disappear from the car. We went in and asked about the car and the manager informed use that no one there owned the car and that it was abandoned there. He was getting ready to have the car towed away! I did not have the money to pay the DMV for the paper work on the car but my friend was interested in the car so he proceeded with the paper work. We towed the car to his house and cleaned it up a-bit. The next day we charged up the battery and tried to start it. It made alot of noise in the bottom half! We jacked up the car and looked underneath. We saw two connecting rods hanging out the side of the block! In addition, it still started and ran! After seeing that he decided that he did not want the car anymore. I asked him if he would sell it to he and me agreed.3 weeks later and $150 the car was mine!

I was a senior now and had put in another 440 motor that I had. I did the body and paint work in my shop class and felt pretty good about it. After graduating, I got a job in a body shop as a bodymans helper. I learned real fast how to properly do body and paint work. Discouraged with how I had done the car in school I started to strip the car back done to bare metal! One by one the panels were straightened, primed, blocked downed and re-primed. It has all the original sheet metal except for the left fender. I was not happy with it so I replaced it for a good used one. Can you believe that Dodge still had fenders in stock for this car back in 1985!They were $135 each! I wish that I would have bought some back then! After putting the car in finish primer I had lost interest in the car and put it away in the garage. I was just concentrating on work at the time so the car sat for 4 years untouched.

In 1989, I decided that if I did not finish the car now, then I would never have it finished. So I pulled all the panels off and started to work on it again. The body was prepped and painted with 4 coats of Glasurit 21 line single stage urethane. Allowed to dry for one day sanded down with 1200 grit and 4 coats of Glasurit urethane clear was applied. All the panels were finished in the same manner. Then it was blocked down and buffed out and the panel was installed back on the car except for the hood. The undercarriage was already clean to begin with so it was scubbed down and a fresh coat of undercoating applied. The motor was freshened up and installed this time with a Six Pack setup I had sitting on the shelf. The transmission was rebuilt to street/strip stats and a manual valve-body installed with a 3000 stall converter. Even with 3.23 gears this thing would burn the tires for a 100 feet easy! Wait until I get a set of 4.10 and some slicks this green monster will hold its own on the track! After getting the stripe kit on it went in for the interior and vinyl top. What an eye opener when the car was done! You could not miss this car going down the street! I didn't drive the car all that much for a few years. Then in 1995 I took the car to Spring Fling in Van nuys. I was approached to have my car photographed for an upcoming issue of Mopar Collectors Guide! WOW! How cool is that! My car was featured in the October 1995 issue and was the cover car with a full story inside.

Shortly after that I had gotten married and the car was parked in the garage. I had other priorities now. In 2001, we decided to move to Utah. The car is still with me in the garage. The kids are almost grown up now so it will soon be time to bring the car out again. The white top and interior are still in very good condition but needs to be cleaned. The paint still looks as if I had just painted it yesterday and its now 14 years old. Soon the car will be back on the road. In addition, be sitting with the others Mopars here in Salt Lake City.

If anyone is interested in having their Mopars professionally restored please contact me at: berna4406@yahoo.com I work at a Restoration Shop in Salt Lake City and would like to open up my own shop and work on Mopars.

1971 Dodge Charger R/T VIN#WS23U1A143749

Fender Tag #'s
19132 143296 445 042
G11 P31
26
V1W U C16 H51
FJ6 D6XW TX9 105 133380
E86 D32 WS23 U1A 143749

According to Galen Govier in 1971 there were (3.1% of 2741) 85-Charger R/T's built to specs for USA in FJ6 Green Go. No breakdowns currently for engines or options.

Sam

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