Richie and Pati Reeves of Le Claire, Iowa, tell us that their Mopar story starts when Ritchie was in high school. According to him, "That's when I met Russ Jurgensen—who became one of my best friends. We worked at the same restaurant, and we both loved Mopars." After school, Russ joined the US Navy where he had a great career, and made it to the rank of Master Chief Petty Officer. Russ retired after 21 years of service to our country. Russ and Ritchie remained in contact throughout Russ' Navy life, and when he retired, the pair spent a lot of time together, and even Ritchie's wife, Pati growing as fond of Russ as Ritchie did.
While Russ was stationed in San Diego during the 1980s, he bought three Mopars. One was a 1970 Challenger convertible, another was a 1970 Dodge Superbee, and the third was a 1970 Coronet 500 convertible. Russ's plan was to restore the cars during his retirement, and enjoy them.
About a year and a half after Russ's retirement, he contracted a rare liver condition that he almost died from. While he was in a Coma at the hospital, we asked about the cars, and his sister had told us that after the cars had been stored for 25 years, he lost them because he had quit paying the storage fees on them.
As soon as Russ was healthy, Richie and Pati decided to help Russ get his cars back, so they struck an agreement with the owner of the storage facility to buy the Coronet convertible, and then paid to get the other two cars back as well. According to Richie, "we stored the cars for Russ, and we agreed that if he ever wanted the Coronet back, it was his as well. Unfortunately, it was just a brief six months later that we lost our friend."
After Russ' passing, his sister asked me to find buyers for two of the cars, and my son received the Superbee. At some point, Russ's step-father had the Coronet painted a dismal brown color. Now that we're restoring the car, we had Denny Lindle paint it the original Plum Crazy color. I'm going to rebuild the numbers matching 383, and have the 727 freshen up by Jim Peterson.
My grandsons have been helping with a lot of the work. I would like to think they are learning along the way.