Le Hodge says cars in his neck of the woods turn brown when they are parked under a tree for a long time. We'd like to have seen this Go Green '71 Challenger colored tree brown. Instead, what we see is the brilliant Go Green after hours of scrubbing was done to it.
Le tells us, "We scrubbed it until we could at least see it was green." In tree brown, this E-Body did not stand out while residing in the woods of North Carolina where Steve Ivester found it.
From time to time, Steve finds Mopar musclecars for Le Hodge, who operates Hodge Restorations in Inman, South Carolina. Of course, Le was all ears when Steve told him of a '71 Challenger sitting in the woods. It wasn't a big-block car, and it wasn't a R/T, but it was a 340 four-barrel-powered version. What made the car particularly interesting was the plethora of extras. In Le's words, "it had just about every option you could order on one."
In Le's business, bogus stories are an everyday occurrence. You don't get too excited until you get more facts. Le wanted to see a broadcast sheet. initially, Steve did not have access. Also, the A/C hose blocked the fender tag. According to Le, "I told [Steve], let's make sure [the options] are on the tag. If [they're] on the tag, let's get it." At the next inspection, Steve looked the Mopar over bumper-to-bumper. He peeled back the a/c hose to check the fender tag coded the options. Apparently, the '71 was for real. Steve bought the Challenger and loaded it on the rollback.
At Hodge Restorations, the first thing they did was to go after the broadcast sheet. A likely place is the rear-seat springs. According to Le, "When it got here, I looked at the fender tag. It was a '71 Challenger, not an R\T, but it was Go Green with a 340 four-barrel, Pistol-Grip four-speed, Rallye dash, power steering, power disc brakes, power windows, air conditioning, AM/FM thumb wheel radio, three-speaker dash, six-way adjustable leather seats, rear window defogger, road wheels, hood pins on a flat hood, and the special handling package. It is still sitting on a mismatched set of belted tires."
Le figured if the 340 would start, he would be "absolutely thrilled." They put a Mopar battery in it, and it turned over. The Thermoquad was stuck, but Le loosened up the carburetor with some WD-40.
Le tells us, "I shot the fuel to it and nothing! So I did the usual for an old rundown Dodge. I sanded the points and tried again. It turned over twice and there she goes!"
Unfortunately, the 340 died after a few seconds. Le installed a remanufactured distributor and hit the switch. The engine fired and ran, skipped a little, then kept going. He put the four-speed in gear and checked everything out. Even the AM/FM was blasting out tunes.
Apparently, the car had been parked since 1993 when the tags ran out. Satisfied, Le rolled the car in his warehouse where it sits awaiting its turn.
Le doesn't know where the car came from originally. Instead of checking out the history, he's leaving the car a mystery for now.
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