PATRICK KROOK LETTER (VIN-TAGE CHARGER) – Mopar Action Article Extra

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his is the letter from Patrick Krook, an associate of Tim Wellborn,
to RK Motors: Tim Wellborn is well known and well
respected in the hobby as an upstanding man and good steward of the
hobby, particularly the 1971 Hemi Charger. He has also opened his collection
to the public as a museum at his own personal expense and is not in
the business of selling or restoring cars. The only motive at play here
is one of historical accuracy for the sake of the hobby.Mr. Wellborn commissioned the independent
review of the facts surrounding many competing claims of “The Last
Hemi” to clear confusion around these claims, willing to abide
whatever the findings were.

The Prove It report is comprehensive
and forensic approach to resolving controversy regarding the reputation
of a collectible car. It includes testimony from 20 people directly
involved in the Mopar hobby consulted as analysts, moderated by David
Burroughs of Bloomington Gold and Survivor Judging fame. To understand
the process, check out this power point presentation: http://tinyurl.com/olfk646

A few things to understand about their
investigative process:

• They don’t “fight for”
client

• Findings may be negative

• Determine strength of evidence

• Analysts, usually experts in the
field, are unpaid and identities unknown to client or other analysts

The report is exhaustive, over 30 pages, so I will summarize the Prove It findings here.

Joe Angelucci’s claim that his car, VIN 192238 is “The very last 426 HEMI to ever to be built by the Chrysler Corporation; the very last one to roll off any assembly line, anywhere.” This claim is said to be proven by the high VIN serial number and the (scheduled) production date of June 18, 1971 documented by two well preserved broadcast sheets and a fender tag “is indeed the last HEMI car produced by any Chrysler plant.”

Mr. Angelucci and RK Motors claim that this high VIN is the trump card to being the last Hemi. The independent consensus among the expert Mopar analyists is that actual date of production and serial number order do not coincide. It is certainly possible for a lower VIN vehicles to be produced, completed, and released later than higher VIN vehicles. Just the same, another 1971 Hemi Charger (a Super Bee) VIN 195362, is known to exist and 3,000 units higher than RK’s 192238 car.

While an original broadcast or track sheet is the standard by which most collectors use to authenticate how a given vehicle is originally equipped, it does NOT contain the actual date of production, merely a scheduled production date (SPD). The official production date or the date that a 1971 Chrysler product were to ‘roll off the assembly line.’ can only be found on the Monroney or ‘window sticker’. This is the last piece of documentation related to the vehicle that is printed by the assembly plant, affixed to the window as the car rolls off the assembly line to the staging lot for transport.

The SPD was assigned to the car once the assembly plant confirmed that all the parts required for the vehicles were assigned. It typically took 2 to 10 days for a car to be completed from its SPD, depending on production line delays. The RK car has an SPD of 618 or June 18th. According to a May 21, 2012 article published on the RK website, it states, “On June 18th, the Bright White Charger left the Lynch Road assembly plant.” VIN 195362 (the Hemi Super Bee) was scheduled to be built on 628 or June 28th, 10 days later than RK claim. On Tim Wellborn’s car, the SPD is 611, or June 11, however the original window sticker reads 730 or July 30th, 1971. It is an established fact that the last day of production for the ’71 model year was Friday July 30th,
1971. Neither the RK car, nor the Hemi Super Bee appear to have an original Monroney. Both Hemi Chargers VINs 190771 and 190774 (the Wellborn car) each have two documents; the Monroney window sticker and a letter from Chrysler documenting a July 29 and 30 production dates respectively.

The letter is dated September 24, 1976 and typed out on Chrysler Motors Corporation letterhead. The interesting part of it is that the letter is in relpy to an inquiry made by the owner of VIN 1970771, asking if his car was the last Hemi Charger off the assembly line. It states in part “I’m afraid it isn’t. According to our records the build date of your car is July 29, 1971. The last build date of Hemi Charger is July 30, 1971 and it’s S/N is WS23-R1A-190774.” The letter is signed W.C. Tiahrt, Direct Connection Coordinator Vehicle Performance Planning. Mr. Tiahrt is still alive and the Prove It folks interviewed him, confirming that the data contained in the letter came directly from the production department. Further, the Chrysler letter corroborates the actual production date printed on the window sticker.

Both Joe Carroll of RK Motors Charlotte and Joe Angelucci, the owner of VIN 192238 were contacted by Prove It and invited to participate in the investigation. They attempted on three separate occasions in January of this year to reach Mr. Angelucci for comment and the opportunity to present any newly discovered facts or compelling documentation. He never returned the call. Mr. Carroll was then called for the fifth time since November 28, 2012 to be offered the same opportunity to produce compelling data form credible production sources or to point out any data errors regarding the four vehicles with claim to the title “The Last Hemi”. Ultimately, Mr. Carroll claimed that Rick Ehrenberg, a writer for Mopar Action magazine stated that VIN 192238 was the Last Hemi produced. No other witnesses, evidence, or documents were mentioned in this third and final conversation with Mr. Carroll.

Within minutes after this last conversation with Mr. Carroll, Prove It contacted Mr. Ehrenberg by phone to corroborate the statement that he had data that VIN 192238 was the Last Hemi produced. Mr. Ehrenberg stated, “Well, that’s not really true. I don’t know how anyone could do that due to the lack of any significant Chrysler records post-1967.” According to the Prove It interviewer, Mr. Ehrenberg clearly and repeatedly denied any knowledge to support that claim whatsoever.

Ehrenberg did suggest two other people who may be able to help. One
party he suggested was a person who he believed had more experience
on Dodge Chargers than anyone else. He stated, “You need to call the guy who owns 50 of these Mopars in Alabama; he’d be the guy I’d ask—his name is Tim Wellborn.”

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