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Classic Mopar Collection - This Guy's Garage

Mopar fans, you'll love or hate this guy

By Mark Ehlen, Photography by Mark Ehlen

Dean Quimby
Circle Pines, MN
To say Dean and his wife, Renee, have a fondness for Mopars is beyond obvious. Walking into this guy's garage (actually, it's an airplane hangar that occasionally has room for Dean's four-seat Mooney Ovation) is truly a jaw-dropping experience. Then when you learn he has another similar hangar with another dozen or so Mopars in it, you might start wondering if Dean has ties to one of the big oil companies. But he is just an ordinary event-T-shirt-wearing car guy who owns Don's Circle Service in Lino Lakes, Minnesota. His business is mostly general auto repair with some restoration work as a sideline.

Dean has amassed his collection over a number of years, mostly by very wisely buying, fixing up, and reselling the right cars at the right times. They are actually a part of Dean's retirement program, which nowadays is looking like a pretty smart investment.

While working on these cars is his way of relaxing after a long day at the shop, the real reason he and Renee do this is because they enjoy driving these cars. Though Dean has two or three favorites that he rotates as his daily driver, you never really know for sure what he or Renee will show up in on any particular day. Nothing is off limits. They're no fun if you can't drive them.

By now you've likely noticed Dean's preference for E-Bodies and winged cars, but actually his criteria are even more specific than that. Generally, his cars need to have multiple carbs, a wing, or be convertible-even better if they're big-blocks and especially if they're pink. So just for fun, he turned a convertible Road Runner into a pink Six Pack Superbird. Needless to say, that one attracts a lot of attention at shows.

A. This '69 440 Daytona is believed to be one of only maybe three to have a white interior and white tail. It was restored locally and is definitely a driver.

B. Dean acquired this '70 Superbird from a North Dakota dealer who had a collection of Birds and Daytonas and said this was his least favorite one. It is an untouched original with only 5,900 miles. It's driven occasionally, but Dean says he is not sure if he wants the odometer to roll 6,000 miles. We don't think he will be able to help himself, and once he cracks 6,000, he'll cruise around comfortably for at least another thousand.

C. This is the closest thing to a trailer queen that Dean owns. This '69 Daytona four-speed used to hold its class land speed record at Bonneville. It ran 202 mph with a Hemi and that on bias-ply tires. It later saw some action at Talladega and has since been restored to its original condition with a 440. Dean even has the parachute and helmet that were used on the Salt Flats.

D. This is a Plum Crazy Challenger with a 440 Six Pack that is undergoing a full concours restoration. It will have a white interior and white rump stripe. A Passon overdrive four-speed is planned to make road trips more enjoyable.

E. This pink T/A is a numbers-correct Texas car. The 340 Six Pack has been recammed for better idle quality and driveability. It's a show-quality ride Renee mostly drives and is one of four Panther Pink T/As that Dean owns.

F. The Sassy Grass Green T/A is a concours resto by Julius in California. Besides the 340 Six Pack, four-speed, and vinyl top, it also has the fairly rare houndstooth interior. He's probably going to sell this one to buy another pink R/T.

G. How about a 40,000-mile original-sheetmetal 440 Six Pack Challenger from Nebraska? The original owner didn't like the multiple carburetion, so he disconnected the outboard carbs and just ran it on the center 2 BBL. He told Dean it wasn't needed anyway. It's been repainted once with '71-style stripes that Dean plans to correct.

H. One of the daily drivers in Dean's rotation, this '70 440 Six Pack convertible, does the best burnouts of all his cars. This one is just plain fun to take out and abuse. It was originally purple, and Dean figures if he breaks it, he'll just fix it.

I. Here's a Moulin Rouge AAR 'Cuda (the Plymouth name for Panther Pink, code FM3). This 340 four-speed '70 is an unrestored driver with about 60,000 miles. It's really nice but not really show quality, so it may be restored one day.

J. This Sassy Grass '70 T/A was a real find. It was a one-owner car, has just 28,000 miles on it and really nice original paint, and two of the four original tires are still in very good condition. (The owner's son got a hold of it.) Except for oil and filters, it looks virtually untouched.

K. This R/T runs a 383 4 BBL and an automatic. It's originally from Iowa and still has all its original sheetmetal. It's also the only single-carb, nonconvertible, nonwing car Dean currently owns.

L. This one is a '70 Barracuda convertible with the 'Cuda trim option added. A 340 4 BBL with a console automatic, it came from the San Diego area.

M. Here is another rare find. Only 12 pink '70 convertibles were built, and this one is also an R/T SE. On top of that, it's one of the three big-block (383 4 BBL) cars Chrysler produced for promotional purposes. Dean has a second unrestored one in the other hangar. It has a white interior and a white top and is loaded up with power windows, A/C, cruise, a console auto, and an eight-track. It was not licensed until the mid-'80s, and it is thought that it sat in the basement of some corporate building until an executive's kid found it. Whatever happened, it only ended up with about 50,000 miles on the clock. Dean plans to drive it when the resto is finished.

N. That's a '70 383 R/T SE convertible, and it's fully loaded with disc brakes, power windows, cruise, A/C, a console auto, and an eight-track all surrounded by a black leather interior. Dean found this one in Arizona and restored it.

O. Here is another fairly rare pink Challenger. This one has a factory Shaker hood on top of a 440 Six Pack. It also came with rear window louvers, a rear wing, a vinyl top, and the magenta stripe (not replaced yet) down the side. It's a numbers-matching, original-sheetmetal car with about 90K that Dean literally found behind a barn in Omaha. Of course, he'll be driving it as soon as the restoration is complete.

P. The '70 Challenger convert is currently Dean's daily back-and-forth-to-work car. It runs a 440 Six Pack (what else?) and a four-speed and is mostly original except for the headers. Note that the Shaker is painted body color. Bright-red cars were the only ones that came that way. All others were either black or argent.

By Mark Ehlen
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