The Plum Crazy theme carries over to the interior on the inside door panel inserts and personalized floor mats. Rather than refinish or replace the original steering wheel rim, Shelby installed a black leather cover. Because the cover is actually stitched on, it provides a professional, high-dollar appearance and terrific feel at a very reasonable price. An Auto Meter Phantom tachometer mounted on the steering column was a "must have." A Kenwood Excelon AM/FM/cassette and trunk-mounted CD changer provide the cruisin' tunes. a set of black leather seat covers donated from a 'Cuda that had been converted into a race car round out the interior.
With all the new detailing, the Challenger went back to Autorama in 2000 and picked up the Best in Class award.
The Challenger, like most project cars, will probably never be "finished," but it did meet the criteria set by Shelby and her dad. It's her purple 340 four-speed Challenger, and heaven help the guy who asks why she owns it. While she didn't do everything on the car by herself, she did do a little bit of everything, and the project never went on hold because of grades or boyfriends. She has that fierce pride of ownership that can't be acquired by simply being tossed a set of car keys.
You are probably asking yourself what Shelby's reply is when she's asked, "What's it got in it?" Her answer: "A 340 four-barrel with a four-speed, and it's got a good sound system, but you can barely hear it for the exhaust. Any more questions?"
Fast Facts: '71 Challenger R/T
Shelby Henry . Detroit, Mi
Engine: It's a Mopar Performance 500ci Wedge crate engine with the Stage VI heads blueprinted by Kibler Performance. It's advertised as having 10.25:1 compression and a 248/248-at-0.050 hydraulic cam. Bore and stroke are 4.380x4.150. Pure Vision added headers, mounts, and a torque strap from Schumacher Creative Services and topped it with custom-carved billet EFI manifolds controlled by F.A.S.T. electronics and MSD ignition. Exhaust by Flowmaster.
Transmission: It's a Mopar A518 four-speed auto adapted to the big-block with a JW Ultrabell. To fit the trans, the tunnel needed to be cut out, and the centersection of the crossmember needed modifications. There's a switch under the righthand horn button to toggle the overdrive on and off. You can shift with either the Hurst floor shifter or the custom billet paddle handles on the steering wheel.
Rearend: The stock 8-3/4 housing carries 3.91:1 gears.
Horsepower & Performance: Advertised as 575 hp and 625 lb-ft.
Suspension: The unibody is stiffened with 2x2-inch box subframe connectors by Red Zone Race Cars and Fabrication. Up front, Strope's "magic combo" includes Magnum Force tubular upper-control arms with Fat Man Fabrications' F-body spindles (taller than stock B-body stuff) and custom-boxed lower arms. The strut rods are chrome-moly with clevises, not bushings. Steering includes a '68 Charger keyless column with the coupler replaced by a double-D-style Flaming River U-joint, a Flaming River manual box, and C-body tie rods with Pure Vision billet adjusters.
Brakes: Baer 13-inch disc.
Wheels: The white powdercoated Purespeed billet wheels by bonspeed are sized 18x10 and 18x12.
Rubber: Toyo Proxes T1S in 275/35-18 and 335/30-18. The rear is minitubbed and notched for clearance, and the inner fender brace in the front needed to be relocated.
Body: The body shell is stock with Year One restoration parts and the addition of '68 side-marker lights. The aluminum chin spoiler uses March Performance alternator-bracket turnbuckles as adjusters. The fender stripes are Year One reproductions, and the custom GTX-R decals are from Speedgraphics.net. The yellow high beams are Trans-Am inspired. All the chrome is by Faith Plating.
Paint: It's a single-stage '01 Acura NSX color by Russ Stevenson.
Interior: The first step was to choose a red dye available from Just Dashes for the reskinned dashpad, then to select a leather material to match the dash color. All upholstery was done by Dooby's Automotive, which also reshaped the foam on the factory seat frames. The door panels use '70 GTX decklid emblems with a stitched-on "R". Strope sanded all the woodgrain texture from the stock dash panels using an 80- to 1,500-grit process, then repainted semiflat black.