Never ends the way you expect: Part One




These next few blogs are in Memory of Stephen M. "Rudy" Powers .  Rest in Peace, and thanks.

Steve Powers Obituary
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A few weeks ago I made plans to head back to one of my previous finds to document a part that he had, a 1969 Dodge Daytona nose cone. It was a very simple plan, head out in the morning, shoot pictures of the nose and spend the rest of the day taking the long way home, trying to find Barn Finds. Things don't always go according to plan, and not in a bad way.

After a quick breakfast with my Mother, I headed to see my friend, but on the way I just happened to pass by a local Churches car show. Not one to miss an opportunity to see some cool cars, I pulled in just to check it out.

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The show did not have the largest showing of cars I had seen. So I made quick work to walk around it in 5 minutes, but timing is everything. As I was finishing up my cruise around a 68 Charger pulled into the parking lot that many people knew. It is a true 68 Hemi Charger 4-speed car, it isn't rusty rough, but just not maintained properly, which I like. Has Power Wagon wheels in the back, the HEMI emblem on the door is held on with drywall screws and the 4-speed handle is a later model Pistol Grip. It is a very cool car.

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Walking around the car and taking pictures, the owner walked over and was interested in my interest in his car. I told him I knew what it was and that the condition it was in was definitely unique and interesting. We conversed for a while, I told him about what I do and where I go, he told me about the history of the car a bit. He then offered to show me the cars he had stashed away in a barn!

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Away we go to drop of the Hemi Charger at his home. While there he showed me his personal parts collection. There was stuff to the rafters, and even more in the rafters. We walked down one way and there was engine blocks and heads. He said one is a real 426 Max Wedge block he got long ago. On a shelf was some 426 Hemi Heads along with misc other parts. There was drawers of 68 Charger tail lights and spare knick knacks. Up on a shelf in his lift area there was a big block 6-bbl intake and a small block 6-bbl intake. It was all a bit overwhelming.

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On the second floor there was some more storage space, and sitting up there on a table was a mint 69 Dodge Charger grille assembly. Not just a piece of chrome or the plastic shell, but the entire thing. From the vacuum assemblies to the near mint I piece of chrome on the nose that always gets banged up. He said he got it just in case he bought a 69 Charger and needed it. Until then it sits up in storage, waiting for the light.

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Drool was falling from the corner of my lips as the owner asked if I still wanted to see the cars in the barn. We piled into the Challenger and headed over to the barn. Which I must have passed a million times over the past 20 years and never once knew what was inside. The barn didn't have any power, so as the doors swung open, the daylight illuminated the treasures inside.

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Walking into this barn was felt like walking into the Tomb of a Pharaoh or Emperor. You walk in and there isn't anything right away noticeable, lots of parts and barn stuff lying around. But once you allow your eyes to focus and look around, you see the real treasure on the inside, two original Dodge Challengers.

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The first one was a 1972 Dodge Challenger. Blue with a black interior. At one time a 318 Cubic Inch V8 was between the front fenders and a automatic stuffed behind it. Currently there is a big empty hole where the engine once was. The car was very solid though, sitting on a concrete floor for 20 years without daylight will do that. From what I could see there was very little rust of anything on the car. Definitely able to be saved one day.

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Moving onto the second car in the barn, this one was the really interesting one. A 1970 Dodge Challenger. Looking the car over, it had a bunch of very odd features, well to me atleast. It was burnt orange and had the rubber side moldings. It had the burnt orange interior, seats with houndstooth centers and rallye gauge cluster, but the VIN showed that it wasn't a R/T or even an SE. Just a very well optioned 70 Challenger. The kicker was that under the hood was a Dodge 383 Cubic Inch big block. This car got right up to the line of being an R/T, and even stepped over in a few places. Yet was just a plain Challenger.

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I inspected the cars thoroughly. From the engine compartments to the tail pipes. The owner said that they had been in there atleast as long as I had been live, so atleast 28 years. Sad to see them sitting there, but atleast they were not sitting, rotting away in a farm field somewhere, or worse yet, crushed.
The owner said that he will get to them one day, he has more time now and after he gets his new driver 67 Newport all figured out he hopes to move onto the Burnt Orange Challenger. I hope he does, those cars have been sitting for far too long.

I parted company with my new friend and headed North to see about the Daytona nose... but there ended up being a few stops in between....

Next week... Part Two, In Memory of Steve Powers.

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