The last four E49s
issue’s VJ Charger E49 story outlined that four such machines escaped from Chrysler’s Tonsley Park factory in the second half of 1973. This snippet of information had Mopar-loving AMC readers requesting more info on the quartet. Thankfully, Chrysler numbers guru Andrew Clark has come to the rescue. Andrew advises that out of the four factory-built VJ Charger E49s, there are, in fact, two with a later build date than issue #95’s cover car. Andrew searched through his Charger database and has confirmed that ‘our’ Sunfire Yellow machine (VJ7D29-1281), owned by WA’s Shane Anderson, was actually the third last E49-engined car built.
As to the others, the fourth last (VJ7D29-0828) was built in August 1973 for Kiwi racing legend Leo Leonard’s first attempt at Bathurst that year, driving with Ernie Sprague. Because the VJ model was not homologated for racing, Leonard was forced to put a VH front clip on this Sunfire Yellow car. It started 17th on the 58-car grid, but retired with a blown headgasket after 62 of the 163 laps. It later returned to New Zealand where it was briefly raced and won the 1973 Coronet Peak Hill Climb. It now belongs to an enthusiast in Melbourne and is pictured in the inset image.
The second last E49-engined Charger (VJ7M29-2452) was a Vintage Red base model Charger that nobody has seen or heard of.
Andrew’s database confirms the actual last Charger E49 built (VJ7D29-1444), was a Super Blue VJ Charger XL. Built in December 1973, this car survives, whereabouts unknown.
So, in summary, out of the four VJ E49s, three are still around today. That’s a pretty good survival rate. Thanks to Andrew for the correction and updated information.