"The Last HEMI" Unveiled on Opening Day of Food Lion AutoFair at Charlotte Motor Speedway
On Thursday, during opening day of the Food Lion AutoFair, “The Last HEMI” was unveiled to the public for the first time since the 1971 Dodge Charger underwent a major restoration by Mooresville, N.C.-based RKM Performance Center.
“I’m happy to have it finally finished. It’s been in the works for more than 20 years for me,” said car owner Joe Angelucci, a native of Ohio. “To have it unveiled at the Charlotte AutoFair was a treat and honor for me. It was a great experience. I’m glad to be here and I’m looking forward to enjoying the car for quite some time to come.”
The Charger is the last one to come off any Chrysler assembly line with a 426 HEMI engine. Records show that the car was built on June 18, 1971, a full two weeks after the last documented HEMI rolled off the production line.
When Angelucci purchased the Charger in the early 90s, more than a decade after originally setting his sights on the vehicle, it was weathered and rusty. It was only recently that he decided to get the prized automobile restored. Angelucci sent the car to RKM Performance Center where skilled mechanics and technicians were given the task of restoring this rare automobile to better-than-new condition.
“We have a soft spot in our hearts for Mopars. We feel very fortunate to have been able to restore this car because it’s such a significant car,” said Joseph Carroll, president and CEO of RKM Performance Center. “Our research tells that this is the last HEMI car that Chrysler ever built. The fact that Joe found this car at the age of 14, saved it and has owned it all these years has made it a very cool story.”
The RKM Performance Center restoration team worked countless hours to bring the car back to life. They tracked down original parts and gave the car a coat of fresh paint, working to make sure Mopar fans all around the world will be awestruck.
“For us this was a dream project,” continued Carroll. “We’ve restored many significant cars that are worth a lot of money, but we felt this one was special and we hope that we did a good job on the restoration to show that.”
Fans can see this rare ride in the Showcase Pavilion for themselves through Sunday. The Food Lion AutoFair also features a collector car auction, an Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest, lawn mower racing and more. The AutoFair is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday-Saturday and from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $10 for adults and children ages 13 and under are admitted free.
For more information on tickets or tours at Charlotte Motor Speedway, call 1-800-455-FANS (3267) or visit www.charlottemotorspeedway.com.