Mystery Solved: Is This Charger The Very Last Hemi Car?


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So every Mopar nut worth their salt knows that the last Hemi cars were produced for model year 1971. That knowledge may beg the question of what was the last Hemi car produced. Was it a swoopy E-body or a “large and in charge” B-body? Querying Google will provide you with what may seem to be an ironclad answer: a certain white 1971 Charger R/T, which has been touted as “The Last Hemi Car” for a few years now. Reading the stories that surround the car it would seem the VIN on this particular Charger puts it at the last days of production for 1971.

Now those of you with a skeptical mind and a thirst for the truth may want to look past all the hype that surrounds this car that was found in less than perfect condition and brought back to life in a very public and extensive restoration. One such “seeker” put his money where his mouth was and set about to prove or disprove the claims around this car.

Why? Because he believes that he owns the last Hemi car – also a 1971 Dodge Charger R/T. This man is Tim Wellborn and if anybody knows ’71 Chargers, it’s him. Tim owns a dozen or two of the coke-bottle shaped, fuselage-bodied beauties, most of them of the Hemi-powered variety, including the Butterscotch ’71 Hemi Charger Super Bee (yes the options were combined for 1971) that was tested by Motor Trend when it was brand spanking new. It’s an impressive fleet.

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Mr. Wellborn employed an outfit called “Prove It,” a private detective firm for collector cars with a high rate of success in researching these old dinosaurs and their pre-historic stories. What Tim and Prove-It dug up is eye-opening: First of all, their research revealed that due to the number of plants producing Hemi cars in 1971 (4) and the fact that assembly lines had a habit of not building cars on the dates they were assigned to be built, there is no way to definitively identify the last Hemi-powered Chrysler car built.

However, the circumstantial evidence for Mr. Wellborn’s car being the actual “last” Hemi car is considerable. To wit: Mr. Wellborn’s Charger has a scheduled production date (SPD) of June 11 – it’s stamped into the fender tag. But the window sticker shows a date of July 30. That’s six weeks apart, a tad more than the customary 2-10 days from assembly to shipping that happened with most cars. His car was built extremely late – July 30th is the last day of production for Chrysler cars in 1971. The report goes on to indicate that there is no way the very public “Last Hemi Car” white Charger could possibly hold that title, which you can read about here. Last or not, I wouldn’t kick either of these machines out of the garage.

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Des Ryan

Des Ryan has been involved in all levels of Mopar musclecar ownership, from barn finds to drivers to a high-level restored Hemicar. He's also spent over 20 years in the advertising industry as a copywriter and creative director. With pen in one hand and pistol-grip shifter in the other, Des is bringing his two passions together to keep you Direct-Connected.

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