The year 1971 was a year of change for the Charger. The third-gen units had a long, sleek, Coke-bottle-shape body with a shorter wheelbase and wider stance. The R/T was distinguished by a blacked-out hood bulge and a side-tape treatment, along with two unique vertical tape stripes on each door. Cars magazine staff named the '71 Charger as its Car of the Year. They rated it best based on total performance, which encompasses street performance, road handling, comfort, appointments, styling, and-to a lesser degree-quarter-mile acceleration and top end. We're not sure how quarter-mile e.t.'s can play "a lesser degree," but oh well.

Sam Griffith's Charger was ordered August 13, 1970, and delivered to Albany Dodge in Albany, New York, on October 27, 1970. Albany Dodge was known as a Performance Dodge dealership and is still in business today. The car was then delivered to 17-year-old Steve Cadalso. Steve liked the sound of the color "B5 Bright Metallic Blue" and had checked it off on the order form. The R/T would have the factory blackouts. the black-and-white herringbone cloth inserts on the black vinyl bucket seats were definitely an upgrade. Even though the faux walnut plastic trim is obviously fake, it's a nice contrast to the black interior.

Steve lived in the small town of Guilderland, a suburb of Albany, and had worked at the Star Market grocery store since he was a 14-year-old. He saved all his income for the purchase of his dream car. He had every intention of putting down his hard-earned cash on a Hemi-powered Charger, but the salesman was Steve's next-door neighbor and a friend of the family. He informed Steve he should stay away from multiple-carbureted engines, as they had proven difficult to support under warranty, and that he would probably kill himself with a Hemi. So for good or bad, Steve settled on the 440 Magnum power plant with its single four-barrel carburetor. Our young lad took the money he saved from buying a 440 instead of a Hemi or Six Pack car, and put it into many interesting options, with the total bill coming to $4,727.42. He paid for half the car with cash and financed the rest-$100 a month for three years.

The 370hp engine proved to be sufficient as the car had quite a reputation as a terror on the streets of Guilderland. The only modification to the drivetrain that Steve made was the addition of headers. Steve remembers being stopped on more than one occasion by the local law enforcement agents for no apparent reason. He likened the police to a Mayberry-style operation. The scenario would go something like, "You shouldn't be driving such a nice car. You should be driving some old jalopy." The sub shop was the place where the locals hung out. A familiar situation would unfold when a cop entered the sub shop flustered and shouting, "Has anyone seen a purple Charger?" All of the patrons knew what he was talking about. Steve was on the prowl with his R/T. of course, no one knew the whereabouts of the illusive car and driver. Steve said it was it was a great source of entertainment for he and his friends.

In 1997, Ed Margosian of Troy, New York, was the car's owner. he is pretty good at restoring Chargers, so he was given the task of rejuvenating the tired R/T. The car had been sitting idle in storage for more than a decade when Ed answered a 'for sale' ad for the R/T. The original engine has been rebuilt with the addition of some performance parts, including a Mopar Performance Purple Shaft solid lifter cam, polished 10.8:1 compression pistons, a Six Pack crankshaft, Edelbrock intake with a Holley 850 carburetor, and Hooker headers.

The R/T is now shod with the correct as-delivered Goodyear Polyglas G70x14 tires and a 4.10 rearend, which doesn't help traction. Once traction is established, acceleration builds violently and is seemingly endless.