Tag: Wellborn Musclecar Museum
Flashback: Wellborn Museum’s 1971 Charger Event Sets Stage for 2012 Show
2012 WMM Show date is announced! October 11-13
story and photos by Geoff Stunkard
The Wellborn Musclecar Museum hosted a very special show late last year honoring the 1971 Charger. With vehicle attendance available by invitation, this unique inaugural has set the stage for an even larger, more inclusive edition this coming October 11-13, 2012.
“We wanted to honor the Charger’s 40 year heritage last year because that vehicle has meant so much to Pam and I,” says Tim Wellborn. “However, we really desired to showcase and host something that was for the whole hobby. This October, we are making plans for an event that will be open to all makes of musclecars at our facilty here in Alexander City.”Due to the invitational nature of the show itself, some people might have misunderstood that attendance to the event’s display was open to the public. The invitational process was simply done to ensure the museum was not overwhelmed by participants, and is again open to a limited number of participants for that reason. The Wellborn Musclecar Museum will release the details for the 2012 version shortly, and recommends that interested parties consider registering early to get one of the available openings. There is room for approximately 150 cars between the museum’s immediate parking lots and the nearby small-town shopping area.
2012 Show Dates: October 11-13Shown this week are a few images from the Wellborn Musclecar Museum show last October. Taken by Geoff Stunkard, several images are also slated to run in an upcoming issue of Mopar Muscle magazine.
Tim and Pam Wellborn: Love, Life and Musclecars
The Convertible E-body: 1970 440-4 'Plymouth Cuda
Musclecar Milestones by Geoff Stunkard
Text by Geoff Stunkard / Photos by John Stunkard
“My dad had Fords, and my first car was a Mustang, so I was not a Mopar girl when we first met; in fact, I had never seen a Hurst Pistol Grip until our first date when I climbed into Tim’s Charger. I saw it and said ‘what is that thing;’ my first thought was that it was some aftermarket redneck part.”
Pam Wellborn was laughingly recalling her first encounter with Chrysler’s legendary musclecar options. Tim Wellborn and Pam Twilley had known each other in high school, and Tim had arrived in a 1970 Charger for their first date that occasion. While the two enjoyed those carefree days, career and life choices would cause them to go their separate ways into other relationships and responsibilities after graduation. Pam moved to Birmingham to get her nursing degree, while Tim ended up beginning his serious work responsibilities at the family business, Wellborn Forest Products.Read more
Pocket Aces: The 1970 Chrysler Trans Am A-Bodies
Musclecar Masterpieces by Geoff Stunkard
They were called pony cars, models that fit a small but sporty segment between economy models and midsize cars. Named for the sales niche that Mustang had established in 1964, all the major manufacturers were making offerings to this marketplace by 1970. Prior to that, Plymouth had used their A-body platform to release the first Barracudas, but sales proved that it and the Dart from the Dodge Division was not quite what the public wanted. For 1970, it was the new Duster 340 aimed at the economy muscle market, because now Chrysler had released a completely new design, designated as the E-body, to meet the desires for ‘pony’ muscle.
These new models, Dodge Challenger and Plymouth Barracuda (that was called ‘cuda in performance trim), could be had with any engine in the Chrysler line-up, right up to the 426 Hemi. Though based on the B-body platform, big blocks in the E-bodies tended to be nose heavy. When it came to handling prowess, the refined 340 small-block ended up being the best overall choice, and you could get the four-barrel version in the both the coupe or convertible E-body styles. For hardcore fans, you could also get a very special E-body with a Holley six-barrel layout, which arrived in the special A53-coded Trans Am models that came off the line in March.
The Sports Car Club of America’s Trans-Am racing series had become a big deal for the manufacturers, and 1970 was by far the most visible year the SCCA ever had. Dodge hired Sam Posey to direct their Challenger program, while Dan Gurney’s All American Racers oversaw the Plymouth ‘cuda development. Part of the SCCA rules required that race-engineered equipment needed to be available on production examples. Thus the Cuda AAR (named after Gurney’s company) and the Challenger T/A (named after the racing series) were born, to homologate that hardware for the racetrack and promote the factory’s involvement in the series.
Continued Read more
1970 Dodge Challenger T/A Survivor
“I think this is likely the best survivor T/A in existence,” says Tim. “There are a couple of things that have been changed or fixed on it over the years, but it is a real time capsule. I don’t own many small-block cars, but I have never regretted buying this one. Like the AAR, it is a lot of fun to drive.”
Production: 2400 (989 four speeds)
Color: EB3 Light Blue Metallic with a B5 Blue interior
Standard Equipment: A53 Trans Am package (T/A graphics, fiberglass hood, rear fiberglass spoiler, side exit exhaust, heavy duty suspension, E55 340 engine, D21 four speed, D56 3.55 Sure grip, U01 Goodyear tires - E60 front/G60 rear tires front, V6H tape stripe, W34 collapsible spare)
Continued Read more
1970 Plymouth Cuda AAR Survivor
“I really enjoy this car,” says Tim. “Compared to the other Mopars, it handles like something modern, and it responds; it’s definitely the most fun car in my collection. I normally keep a set of radials on it so I can take it out when I want to just drive. I bought it thinking I’d resell it; after driving it, now I will never sell it.”
Production: 2724 (1,120 four speeds)
Color: FE5 Rallye Red paint with accompanying A22 elastomeric bumpers, black interior
Standard Equipment: A53 Trans Am package (15x7 Rallye wheels, AAR graphics, fiberglass hood, rear fiberglass spoiler, side exit exhaust, heavy duty suspension, E55 340 engine, D21 four speed, D56 3.55 Sure grip, U01 Goodyear tires - E60 front/G60 rear tires front, V6H tape stripe, W34 collapsible spare)
TIME & SPACE For Buick fans, the GSX was the best launch of the Space Age
Museum Masterpieces by Geoff Stunkard
VEHICLE: 1970 Buick GSX
Engine: Buick 455 Stage 1
Transmission: M22 Rock Crusher by Muncie
Rearend: 3.46 PosiTrac
Interior: black vinyl
Wheels: Rallye type
Tires: Goodyear Polyglas G60-15
Special Parts: GSX package, Saturn Yellow paint, Stage 1 engine
Owned by The Wellborn Musclecar Museum
Astronaut Neil Armstrong talked of mankind's steps as he became the first person who ever walked on the moon, and for many musclecar fans, what was happening back on earth was also pretty far out, too. After all, the auto manufacturers had announced they would be pushing the limit for the 1970 model year. Chrysler's Six Pack and Hemi engines would be in a new line of sporty E-bodies, Ford had 429-cid engines in street (SCJ) and race (Boss) trim, and GM lifted its 400-cid limit in midsize performance models.
Buick was one of the more 'stoic' brands being built, just below Cadillac in the GM hierarchy of excellence. However, that had not kept the Flint, Mich. company from engaging in projects with a more youthful outlook. The GS-series models based on the Skylark had carried that banner forward during the 1965-1969 years, using the thin-wall cast Buick big-block at 400" for power after its arrival in 1967. For 1970, both the 400" and the 430-cid Buick luxury engine were superseded by a new package that pumped out a big 455" cubes. It should be remembered that the 455" used by Buick was not the same as the 455" displacements offered by Pontiac or Oldsmobile (which were also different from each other).
Buick made use of an over-squared (bore larger than stroke) design in the new engine, and offered it in different states of tune. In the new GS455 model, it was paper-rated at mere 350 horse at a lowball 4600 rpm, with 425 lb./ft. torque. Buick was notorious for underrating true performance numbers, perhaps to persuade buyers to consider other options in the GM line, and most likely to allow the division to fly beneath the 'respectability' flag of its banker and broker audience. Most people in the know will quickly tell you that Buicks could hold their own against most anything else that was factory-available once that 455" lung became the mill of choice.
Pontiac offered various states of tune for their 400” and new 455” mills (the Ram Air II,III, and IV packages), while Olds had what they called the W30 option . Buick used a hop-up they called Stage 1 available from the factory, and a Stage 2 that was dealer-installed. The Stage 1 program, begun in 1969, continued into 1970 with a hotter cam and reworked heads with larger valves. That got you another 10 horsepower at a mere 4600, to 360 hp on paper (with the true max rpm power ‘sweet spot’ someplace well north of 400 ponies) and a monstrous 510-lb/ft of torque at 2900 rpm. The cars were capable of times in the mid-13s, impressive when considering that these were fully-optioned machines with the same standard of quality that all Buicks were noted for.
But getting back to our space-age analogy, the names Saturn Yellow and Apollo White would be enshrined forever as special to Buick fans when the Chicago Auto Show opened in early 1970. Buick had pulled out all of the stops with a new model they called the GSX. Announced in the print advertising of the time as a Limited Edition, the X was a special $1195.87 option on the GS455 hardtop. Only the two aforementioned colors were offered, using black graphics and black-out hood, spoilers fore and aft, a hood-mounted tach, upgrades to the suspension, and more. Optional G60-15 Goodyear Polyglas tires, the last hurrah of OEM street bias-plies as the radial age dawned, made it handle. A fully-dressed GSX could come off the showroom floor with a sticker price of approximately $5,000, not small change in that time, but its appearance and notoriety were guaranteed to turn heads in any setting.
The car in the Wellborn collection is one of 188 that received the 455 Stage 1/M22 rock-crusher four-speed combo. There were only 678 GSXs produced in 1970, and the few examples produced after that first year suffered from the decline in compression ratios that affected all GM models. Like all other 1970 GSX models, the car in the collection has a black vinyl bucket seat interior, plus the Sonoramic radio.
“We wanted to have an example of all the midsize GM performance models from 1970,” remarks Tim Wellborn. “The GSX is a legendary example of just how extreme things became. I like driving this car because it really is a Buick in terms of its build and ride quality, but it is also a real musclecar in terms of performance.”
The 1970 GSX would be a true legend of the age; the relative few that were built were treasured by their owners and made no bones about their ability when put to the test during a stoplight or highway joust. As a result, it has a fitting home in the collection, and a most deserving vehicle of the title 'muscle car.' Even (or perhaps especially) as a Buick…
GS options included on the Wellborn GSX
* A-X (included Stage 1 performance 455” engine, plus A-9 parts – GSX exterior trim, paint, hood-mounted tach, and color-coordinated mirrors and headlight bezels.
* B-M (included B-3 Manual transmission, B-4 consolette, B-8 floorpan with shift opening)
* C-D Quick ratio steering and power disc brakes
* D-1 Sonoramic radio
* F-7 G60-15 Super Wide Oval raised letter/chromed wheels
* H-6 Rallye Ride control package
* U-9 Gauge Cluster & Rally clock
* 3-N Special paint – Saturn Yellow
432nd unit produced in 1970 invoiced 5/22/70
RIGHT MOVER The Age of Aquarius Came Alive with Panther Pink in 1970
Museum Masterpieces by Geoff Stunkard
VEHICLE: 1970 Dodge Charger R/T
Restored by: Dale Gyorvary
Engine: Dodge 440 Six Pack Magnum
Transmission: 727 Torqueflite
Rearend: 8.75 banjo-type with 3.23
SureGrip Interior: black hound’s-tooth/white insets
Wheels: Magnum 500
Tires: Goodyear Polyglas G70-14
Special Parts: FM3 Panther Pink paint plus standard equipment for R/T package (believed to be one of two FM3 440-6 Charger R/Ts built).
Owned by The Wellborn Musclecar Museum
Musclecar paint schemes grew more and more crazy in the late 1960s, and Chrysler’s legendary foray into the world of HIP (High Impact Paint) began in 1969, when five special paint colors debuted. These paint hues were actually an extra cost option, so such colors can add to a car’s collector value today. Things got even more extreme in 1970; the Charger here is painted code FM3, known as Panther Pink.
Other Dodge HIP colors in 1970 were EK2 Go-Mango (yellow-orange), EV2 Hemi Orange (or red-orange), FC7 Plum Crazy (purple), FJ5 Sublime (light-green), and FY1 Top Banana (yellow), with FM3 Panther Pink and FJ6 Green-Go (a deeper green than Sub Lime) both added at mid-year. For Plymouth, the corresponding colors were EK2 Vitamin C Orange, EV2 Tor-Red, FC7 In-Violet Metallic, FJ5 Limelight, FY1 Lemon Twist, with FM3 Moulin Rouge and FJ6 Sassy Grass Green added later.
Indeed, it appeared that all of Detroit had gone psychedelic by then; colors plus wild graphics and styling options abounded from the Big Three – scoops, blisters, wheels and wings. And the displacement wars were waging – the 440 was joined in 7+ liter territory with GMs 454” and 455” inch plants in the midsize body range that year. Chrysler did not add cubes for 1970, choosing instead to add more carbs, a package Dodge called the Six Pack.
After showing up in a handful of Road Runners and Super Bees in 1969, the 440 Six Pack was the newest mill for the Dodge line-up in 1970, available in the B-Body and E-Body performance lines and rated at 390 horses. It featured heavy-duty internals and the trio of Holley two-barrels just like the 1969 version, and its main benefit was more fuel throughout the RPM range. Indeed, it was a better street choice for many than the Hemi, since it achieved quicker peak horsepower on a lower torque curve than the 426 ‘elephant’ did. The Six Pack in this Charger R/T is coupled to a Torqueflite and a highway happy 3.23 SureGrip 8 ¾ differential.
Outside, this particular car was optioned with the white vinyl top and the longitudinal sport stripes that were new for 1970 (you could still get the Scat Pack rear-wrap stripe as well). Though it was an R/T model, it did not get a deck wing, and there was no ‘sport hood’ available yet for the Charger (that year’s Road Runners, GTXs and Coronet R/Ts, on the other hand, offered several variations). It also left the St. Louis assembly line with both left and right outside sport mirrors, tinted windshield, and front and rear bumper guards. Magnum 500 road wheels (code W23) and Goodyear Polyglas tires were part of the mix as well. . The F70 tire was the largest available from the factory on this model, but this example now uses the wider G70-14 replacements.
Inside, our Charger came with the scarce hounds-tooth buckets, covered with black vinyl featuring white cloth insets, plus the console with floor mount, woodgrain appliqué dash with the standard Rallye cluster design (but no clock or tach), AM radio, and the black steering wheel with lower ½ horn ring.
So, who ordered it that way? Believe it or not, this was a sales bank car. These were models built by the factory for general distribution, and sales bank cars helped keep the assembly line busy and helped assure that a ready supply of cars was on hand for the dealerships. It was built very late in the 1970 year, July 10 being the scheduled production date, and may well have been done to help clean up what was laying around the plant since the Charger would undergo some serious restyling the following model year (which would actually begin a little more than a month later).
Tim and Pam Wellborn spotted it at the Mopar Nationals in 2004, and Pam knew it fit her outlook on life to a ‘T.’ Owner Dale Gyorvary had decided to sell it, and it is believed to be one of just two FM3 Six Pack Chargers built that year; the price was reasonable and Pam wanted something that could be driven around. The Six Pack fit that final requirement perfectly.
“What I like best is the color obviously, and I love ‘70 Chargers, unlike my husband, who’s crazy about the ‘71s,” she says with a grin. “The car was done, we didn’t have it do anything to it, and the white accents make this car a standout. It also has that hounds-tooth interior, and it was the only 440 Six Pack in our collection at the time. Those are all the reasons I gave Tim when I said ‘we need this car!’ that day.”
There was one other important reason: she and Tim had first dated in a 1970 440 Charger many moons ago. That car, unrestored and painted Jamaica Blue, is still in their collection as well.
This car has been featured in Musclecar Review and Old Cars Weekly magazines
Tim Wellborn named 2010 MOPAR Enthusiast of the Year
Four years ago, MCG came up with the idea of a Mopar Enthusiast of the Year award - an award to honor those who go above and beyond to promote our hobby to the masses. In 2007 we honored Curtis McIntyre for creating what most enthusiasts thought Chrysler should’ve been building at that time; a modern-day Hemicuda along the lines of the new generation Challenger. Keep in mind, that was before the new Challenger had officially gone on the market! The ‘Cuda was quite an undertaking, since it had to be built off a cut down four-door Charger platform. The car was contracted to be built by the very same company, Metalcrafters, that builds Chrysler’s prototypes and concept cars - so, the end result was nothing short of what you’d expect of an auto show concept car.For 2008, the award was expanded to encompass two individuals who are inseparable. Bob and Sharon Malcom, who are owner/operators of Malcom Chrysler/Dodge in Peebles, Ohio. Read more
Chrysler Brings New 2011 392 Hemi Challenger And 2011 Charger To The Museum
On Monday, November 22nd Chrysler brought the Hemi Highway Tour to the Museum to showcase their newly re-designed Charger and the new 392 Challenger. It was an exciting day for everyone. Many Mopar fans turned out espcially from the Deep South Mopar Club. Everyone was wowed by the cars. The new Charger is a "Charger" it has all those 70's ques that we all loved. I can see Pam and I driving one soon, especially when they come with the 6.4 engines. And I'm betting they do.
Visit redletterdodge.com and follow them on the tour across the country.