WS23U1A113729 - 440, Auto, FC7 - Robin McQueen
Year 1971 Cylinders 8 Make Dodge Displacement 440 4bbl Model Charger R/T Engine HP 370 Base Mfr's Price $3,777 Transmission Auto Body Type 2-Door Hardtop Rear Axle 8 3/4 VIN WS23U1A113729 Gears 3.23:1 Open Build Date Sept. 17, 1970 Brakes 11" Front & Rear Drums Exterior Color FC7 Plum Crazy Metallic C Built for Canada Interior Color Bucket Seats White Factory Options Additional Information C16, G11, N96, P31
Finders Keepers: Robin McQueen's 1971 Dodge Charger R/T
In 1970, Geordie McAllistar was a 22-year-old Mopar enthusiast living in Ripples, New Brunswick. He had previously owned several cars over the years; none of which you might call a "muscle car." On August 25th 1970, Geordie strolled into Elm City Chrysler in Fredericton and talked to the sales manager, and sat down to order Geordie’s first new car. Geordie had previously seen and fallen in love with a 1970 Charger R/T in Plum Crazy Purple. The '70 had white interior and a black vinyl top and from then on that image stuck in his mind.
Unfortunately, it was too late in the year to order a 1970 model so he had to order a 1971 model year if he wanted a Charger. He hadn’t yet seen a photo of how the 1971s, as this was just prior to the new model introduction. All he knew was the 1971 was a completely new design and the base 440 engine was slightly less powerful than the previous years. Geordie also knew that the 1971 Charger was going to have a functioning hood scoop, similar to that found on the 1970 Road Runner so that was the first check on the order form along with hood pins. The Plum Crazy Purple paint, white interior and black roof were next; followed by the tachometer and power windows.
Since the previous Chargers came with five spoke Road wheels, he wanted to order those too. However, those wheels weren’t available at that time, and the salesman suggested substituting the code W15 wire wheel covers, which was done. Numerous other options were suggested by Geordie, such as cruise control and air conditioning but the salesman talked Geordie out of each one as they were tabled, probably to keep the sticker price within the budget of a young man. As it was, the total bottom line price was just over $4500, which made it almost the price of a loaded Chrysler.
Geordie’s new Charger arrived by transporter on October 17th, and he traded in his 1968 Mercury Meteor and arranged financing. He drove the Charger home and it was immediately put into service as his daily driver, year round. Geordie maintained it regularly and recorded all servicing and gas ups in company log books. The Charger incurred its share of bumps and bruises along the way, including being rear-ended and having a front fender bender. It also had a full repaint too, as this particular color was notorious for peeling after a few years’ use. After five years of daily driving duties, it was time for a new car again and a brand new Cordoba was ordered. Geordie sold the Charger to his cousin and life moved on.
In the car’s second life, it was used and abused even further. The first casualty was the original engine, which was pulled and replaced by a 400 to keep the car mobile. Another five years of ownership culminated with another collision, this time with a cement bridge abutment which took its toll on the K-frame, radiator support and front valance. The Charger became yard art for a while until Geordie heard of its dire condition and proposed buying it back, which also included the worn out original drivetrain.
In the interim years, Geordie had bought a couple of other 1971 Charger R/Ts so his old Plum Crazy ride became one of three existing in his yard, and ironically the one in the worst condition. Geordie sent the original engine out for a rebuild and after it returned, found its way into a red 1971 R/T that Geordie bought in Ontario. Unfortunately, in the process of selling the red Charger, the purple Charger lost its original heart. Around this time, Robin McQueen showed up on Geordie’s doorstep.
"I'd heard of this guy who lived only a few miles from my house that was a Mopar nut beyond measure. I was fixing up my Barracuda fleet at the time, and wanted to chat with a like mind. Geordie took me under his wing and thus a relationship was born. A friendship that has endured for more than three decades," shared Robin.
Robin took photos of Geordie’s purple Charger back in 1981 sitting next to his garage. After that, Geordie sent the car to a body shop to get the damaged front repaired. The repairman did such a bad job that Geordie frustratingly pushed the car to the far back of his garage where it sat for many years after. In September 2014, Geordie called Robin up for a chat. The topic of conversation happened to be his long dormant Charger. The entire front clip was off and the interior was piled in a heap inside the car. It sat on four mismatched rims with four flat tires, it was dirty, and very, very rusty. The original Ramcharger hood sat propped up against a wall next to the car, and boxes of Christmas decorations were covering any horizontal surface that would support them.
Geordie asked Robin what he should do with the Charger; Geordie had an offer on the Ramcharger hood assembly for $3,500, and was considering selling it separate. “He asked my opinion on the disposition of the rest of the car. I told him not to sell the hood, and consider fixing the Charger instead. He knew that I have a bit of knowledge of such matters and asked what it might cost? I gave him my opinion, which was no small amount, and that didn’t include the engine,” said Robin.
The next day, Gordie called Robin and offered the Charger to him for free, with the condition he buy the hood at the price offered by the guy that wanted it. Robin accepted and became the third owner. After getting the Charger home, Robin cleaned it thoroughly, and put it back together for the first time in decades. From there he also began acquiring parts, some of which came from Geordie’s own garden shed. These parts included a complete hideaway headlight and bumper assembly, a pair of Rallye wheels, the two front fenders, a new set of wheel well opening moldings, a pair of NOS exhaust tips and the Ramcharger air cleaner that matched the hood.
He also bought a pair of front turn signals, a chin spoiler, a rear “gull wing” spoiler, a pair of sport mirrors, another two Rallye wheels and a pair of replacement grilles. He also found a nice bumper for his elastomeric bumper plans, and a very nice rust-free trunk lid. Robin says he had previously acquired a rim-blow steering wheel ten years earlier, which he had restored by his friend Doug Lepak, the “Steering Wheel Guy.” He finally had a car to put it in, which was completely unplanned, but perfect for the application.
As it turns out, this Charger was the only 1971 Charger in Plum Crazy Purple sold in the province of New Brunswick that year, and one of only six in all of Canada! Robin says he has plans to fully restore the car and Geordie is following the process the entire way!