Back in our Feb. 2006 issue, we featured Tim Wellborn’s personal collection of Mopars which included the largest assemblage of ‘71Hemi Chargers in the world under one roof. Tim told us “I buy cars, I don’t sell them. Never will.” Well…never came around on January 28, 2015 in Kissimee Florida, where 22 cars, of which 17 were Mopars, of Tim’s collection went under the hammer at the Mecum Auction. Subsequent to our feature on Tim’s collection, he established the Wellborn Musclecar Museum in Alexander City, Alabama, that host great variety of musclecars with Mopars being the dominant marque. Tim said he was moving out some of his cars (don’t worry he has plenty left) in order to get new ones—sort of like rotating the boxes of corn flakes, like they do in supermarkets. Currently, he has three new gems on their way to making the Museum their home.
Here are the Mopars featured in the Mecum Auction that are in addition to the Mopes featured in our print edition.
1970 Plymouth AAR Sold: $140,000
Formerly part of the Otis Chandler Collection, this 1970 Plymouth AAR Cuda is heralded as the most highly optioned example known to exist. It was purchased from the Otis Chandler Collection as a pair with the previous car, a 1970 Challenger T/A, by Carlos Monteverde in England, who in 2004 sold the unrestored car to the Wellborn Musclecar Museum in 2004. Tim Wellborn then hired noted restoration specialist Roger Gibson of Scott City, Missouri, to repaint the car in the original Rallye Red while retaining the original Black vinyl roof covering and Black vinyl bucket seat interior. Like its Challenger T/A corporate counterpart, the AAR Cuda is powered by its original 340/275 HP six-pack engine, in this case partnered with a heavy-duty 4-speed manual transmission with a factory Hurst Pistol Grip shifter. The AAR package confers a number of performance features on the Cuda, including quick steering, power front disc brakes, heavy-duty suspension, a pinned fiberglass fresh air hood, rear deck spoiler and Rallye wheels with E60-15 front and G60-15 rear Goodyear Polyglas tires. This Rallye Red AAR Cuda also sports rare body-color Elastomeric front and rear bumpers and matching racing mirrors.
1971 Hemi Charger R/T NO-SALE AT $200,000
This 59,259 original mile, highly optioned 1971 Dodge Hemi Charger R/T, has been a part of the Wellborn Collection since 2007. The Hemi Charger R/T rolled out of the factory with a Blacked out hood bulge, driver-actuated Ramcharger fresh-air scoop, heavy-duty suspension and bucket seats. Adding to that basic package are the optional Torqueflite automatic transmission, hood pins, power steering and front disc brakes, bumper guards, hideaway headlights, power windows, center console, dual color keyed outside racing mirrors, AM/FM Multiplex radio and three-piece Rallye road wheels with Goodyear Polyglas GT G60-15 tires. Sold new at Brookhurst Dodge in Garden Grove, California, with an original MSRP of $5,694.30, it was once owned by another ardent Mopar collector, John Hadgis. The car was restored by Aloha Automotive Services of Wisconsin, who refinished it in the extremely rare and factory correct color combination of B7 Jamaica Blue with a White interior.
This Charger was Pam Wellborn’s car and she had a high $225K reserve. The car was bid up to $200K. Pam really did not want to sell the car and said so on national TV. “I’m taking it home to Alabama.” Even when the bidder approached her privately after the auction and offered her $225 grand, she told him “I’m taking it home to Alabama,” all the while humming “Sweet Home Alabama.” It was one of only two Wellborn cars that did not sell at Mecum.
1969 Hemi Charger 500 Sold: $135,000
The 426 Hemi engine introduced by Chrysler in 1964 gave racers instant supremacy over the competition, but as GM and Ford gained ground with their own exotic powerplants, Chrysler engineers turned to aerodynamics to regain the edge on the track. In 1968, Dodge introduced a redesigned Charger with a stylish new form incorporating Coke-bottle contours, a new recessed grille using the original’s hidden headlights, a “flying buttress” roof with recessed rear window and minimal bright trim. The new Charger enjoyed a six-fold increase in sales, but it was still aerodynamically limited even with Hemi power at hand, so for 1969 a homologation special was developed using a flush-mounted Coronet front grille and flush rear window. Named the Charger 500, it was the last significant step in the search for improved aerodynamics before the introduction of the famous Dodge Charger Daytona. Although the 500 moniker symbolized the NASCAR requirement for homologation, Dodge built only 392 Charger 500 coupes, one of which is this outstanding example that has been a fixture in the Wellborn Musclecar Museum since 2004. Well known as the most highly optioned Charger 500 known to exist, it was sold new with an MSRP of $5,821.91 at Argyle Chrysler Dodge in Cooksville, Ontario in Canada.
1971 Dodge Hemi Super Bee (Motor Trend Test Car) Sold: $155,000
This 1971 Dodge Hemi Super Bee made its first public appearance in the Mopar armada raising a cloud of dust on the cover of Motor Trend magazine’s December 1970 issue. The wide-ranging cover story described the car as the best all-around performer in the bunch, with an impressive best quarter-mile time of 13.725 – a full second quicker than the 440 six-pack Super Bee also tested. The story was also chock full of technical statistics comparing four different versions of the Charger, but it must have touched Wilfred Azavedo at a very emotional level, because after the Williams, California, rice farmer finished reading the story, he drove to Chuck Swift Dodge in nearby Sacramento, presented the magazine to the salesman and said, “I want this car.” After the salesman offered to order one exactly like it, Azavedo corrected him; he wanted the car in the magazine. A phone call to Chrysler elicited a firm “no”, but Azavedo was not to be denied, and after several months of insistent followup, Chrysler agreed to sell. First, Azavedo had to meet two conditions: that he pay the full MSRP of $5,302.65 up front, and he wait for delivery until the factory was finished sending the car on its rounds with the motoring press. Azavedo agreed to both conditions, and on May 8, 1971, he took delivery of the Butterscotch Hemi Super Bee.
For 25 years, Azavedo enjoyed driving his car around his rice farm, and when he died it passed to a relative named in his will. In 2001 it was discovered by collector Steve Engel, who laboriously relieved its undercarriage of years of rice paddy muck. In 2004 Tim Morriset was commissioned to refurbish the car to road ready and physically correct appearing condition. The engine was detailed, the drivetrain overhauled and the original stripes and decals replaced. At 31,426 miles, the car is otherwise practically as delivered new, with original paint and vinyl roof as well as the original immaculate interior. Factory equipped with a Torqueflite automatic transmission and Super Track Pak, this Hemi Super Bee also incorporated power steering, variable speed wipers, dual remote mirrors, pedal dress-up hood pins, inside hood release, rear spoiler, tach and gauges, NASCAR-style Tuff steering wheel, wheel trim rings and Goodyear Polyglas G60-15 rubber. Furthermore, Mr. Wellborn attests that the squeak- and rattle-free driving experience of this Hemi Bee is evidence of the special attention given to the assembly of this factory-promotional car. Two original broadcast sheets, earmarked “Motor Trend magazine attention all supervisors” are included in the documentation. Further evidence of the car’s early demonstrator status is revealed by Y28 Company Car designation on the second fender tag as well as both broadcast sheets.