While Hemi Chargers were extremely rare in 1971, that didn’t prevent the previous owner fr
Back in the '60s, Ma Mopar was like a kid in a leather jacket with slicked-back hair, Lucky Strikes rolled into his sleeve, and a bad reputation that preceded him. If you saw one, you knew it was bad news. It seemed that every regular car was available with a powerplant that could roast the tires at will and scare other cars. Rob Vollaro claims to have owned over 50 in his lifetime. If this is the case, he rivals any Mopar guy we've come across here at Mopar Muscle. Here's a peek at his '71 Charger that is powered by Race Hemi that emulates one found in a Super Stock Dart or Barracuda.
While many of us look back at the muscle car heyday with an ear-to-ear grin, some look back in disappointment because they didn't have the right gear. At the time, Mopars were being delivered from the factory with some of the most intense engine, transmission, and rear end combinations that had ever been seen. Then, to solidify Mopar's position on the top of the food chain, Chrysler began putting the Hemi engine and big-block powerplants into almost everything-including the lightweight A-Bodies. These new Hemi-powered Barracudas and Darts were known as Super Stock cars. Under the hoods were moderately hopped-up Hemi engines with increased compression, a cross-ram intake with twin Holley 750 carbs, headers, and a whole slew of other performance options. They didn't weigh much either, tipping the scales at around 3,000 pounds thanks to the use of fiberglass, lightweight doors, bumpers, and glass.
The Super Stock cars were built for speed and dominance at the dragstrip-and that's exactly what happened. Sadly, the Super Stock experiment was short-lived, and Plymouths and Dodges went back to their "tame" street car roots the following year. But the allure of building a visceral street car that could take control at the dragstrip, yet be as comfortable at a cruise-in, inspired every Mopar fanatic there was.
Back in the early '70s, Rob was employed at a Chrysler dealership in New Jersey. "One day this guy came in looking to buy a part and we got to talking," he says. "The man told me he had a '71 Charger that he was looking to sell so I told him to let me know." Shortly after, Rob received a phone call from the man telling him all the details of the sale. It was a '71 with all-original, Hemi Orange paint. As if this combo weren't enough to convince him, under the hood rested a '68 Race Hemi. Needless to say, Rob immediately purchased the car and started driving it all over the roads of New Jersey.
The first few years Rob owned the car, he got his money's worth. Being a Race Hemi engine, he knew the car had some serious grunt behind it. "I bought a set of wheels for racing and threw on a pair of M/H Racemasters to get the car to hook," he says. With well over 500 lb-ft of torque erupting at the rear wheels, the added traction paid dividends to his elapsed time. "The previous owner only raced the car on street tires so he could never get it out of the 13's," he says. Once Rob had the proper equipment out back, he put the Super Stock springs to the test with an impressive 11.30 at 123 mph.
What's more impressive is that this is not a Super Stock Charger. It doesn't benefit from the lightweight hood, fenders, and glass like its A-Body decedents once had. As a matter of fact, Rob tells us the car weighs in at around 4,200 pounds! "The car goes low 11's on 40-year-old technology," he jokes.
As you take a peak underneath the car, it may come as another surprise to find a near-stock suspension and driveline. Everything on the suspension is stock from a '71 Charger R/T with manual front discs and rear drum brakes. Inside, the original interior has been maintained throughout its life, so it appears brand-new. The original owner had the black vinyl top removed, so Rob had it put back on.
Under the hood the Race Hemi churns out 12.5:1 compression with forged pistons and stock heads. Gone is the unique factory cross-ram intake and twin 750 Holley carburetors that came on the car when he bought it. In its place sits an Edelbrock Rat Roaster intake and a pair of stock Hemi carburetors. "I found the previous setup to be less street friendly, and I was looking for something that was less temperamental since I drive it," he tells us.
The interior is pure 1971. Over the years, someone has taken meticulous care of it, and th
Rob got his years of fun out of the car, but rather than sell or trade the car, he has decided to keep it in his garage and maintain it. "I came close to selling it once but it didn't take me long to ask myself, 'What the hell am I doing?' So I backed out of the sale," he confesses. Since that brief lapse in judgment, there has never been a second thought about keeping the car. He still drives it on the streets to shows and cruise-ins, but its racing days are over. "The car is in too good of condition to keep on racing, but I still get to enjoy it whenever I'd like." This '71 Charger is the ultimate homage to the Super Stock glory days, and he's found a way to tame the beast that lurks underneath the hood.
1971 Dodge Charger R/T
Rob Vollaro, New, Jersey
- Engine: The factory Hemi was replaced with a Race Hemi that was rebuilt to Super Stock specifications. Inside the 1968 block, compression comes in at 12.5:1 with the addition of forged pistons. A new, larger duration and lift cam replaced the factory, solid lifter 284/284 .467/.473 Hemi cam. Rob bought the car with a Cross Ram intake that had twin Holley 750 four-barrels bolted to it -- just like the original Super Stock cars. He replaced this intake assembly with an Edelbrock Rat Roaster and a pair of factory Hemi carburetors. The exhaust uses the stock Hemi headers dumping into 3-inch Flowmasters with turndowns before the rear axle.
- Transmission: Robert Severino in New Jersey, rebuilt the TorqueFlite automatic. It's now a reverse manual-shift and uses a factory Hemi converter and Slap Stick shifter.
- Rearend: A Dana 60 with 4.88 gears and Sure Grip differential.
- Suspension: Original R/T suspension with Super Stock springs our back.
- Brakes: Manual discs and drums.
- Wheels/Tires: Factory 15x7 Rally wheels wearing F60 front tires (the original set) and H60 rear tires.
- Paint/Body: Rob claims his car to be 75-percent original paint. There was just some minor work to the fender and the vinyl top was reinstalled.
- Interior: Inside is all original interior parts with additional AutoMeter and SunPro gauges to add a bit more precision to the dash.