A "Famly Affair" of Success!

We have all heard of something or other being a "family affair", and usually the evidence shows multiple members of the family contribute to the success enjoyed.  The Wellborn Muscle Car Museum is no exception, as Tim and Pam Wellborn share a passion for each other and their beloved collection of muscle cars.  For those who haven't heard their history, it is a story many consider fantastic.

How It All Started

Tim first fell in love with the Dodge Charger in 1967 with a 383 Charger is father purchased as their family car.  When his father, Doug, brought home their second Charger, a 1971 426-Hemi powered Charger RT, Tim's love for Mopar vehicles was cemented.  We can't confirm it was Tim's arriving for their first date driving a Charger that made Pam an equally devoted fan of muscle cars, but the connection cannot be ignored. 
Today, Tim and Pam share an incredible wealth of knowledge of Mopar muscle cars and this knowledge is clearly exhibited in their passion for their world class collection; specifically, the world's largest collection of 1971 Chargers, and the largest collection of Dodge vehicles in the nation!

More Than Mopar's Finest

The Wellborn's have been incredibly deliberate and paced in their quest to find and acquire their collection.  Among the dozens of fabulous classics on display at the museum are some of the best "survivor" class muscle cars in existence today.   Not to lead you to believe the museum is restricted to Mopar muscle cars, you will find an Oldsmobile 442 W-30 Convertibles, a Boss 429 Mustang, LS6 Chevelles, GSX Buicks, AMC Javelins, and one of six known to exist Pontiac Ram Air GTO Judge Convertibles.

You'll also find a few "celebrity" cars, such as Burt Reynolds' personal edition of the famous "Bandit", an authentic 1977 Special Edition Pontiac Trans Am, and "Jim Rockford's" understated  1978 Pontiac Firebird Esprit - after all a private investigator had to have a great car that just blended into LA traffic.  Recently added; a 1971 Bahama Yellow GTX that is the highest-priced Hemi car of all the machines built in the supercar era with a fantastic history having been originally purchased by a highly decorated Vietnam veteran. 

The Great Barn Find

The most recent addition to the Wellborn Collection is a true "barn find', a 1970 Hemi Roadrunner.  Don't expect to find this outstanding car restored to pristine condition.  As Tim explained, "I want to keep this great car in exactly the same condition it was in when I bought it. There are many more "barn finds" remaining to be found, and this should encourage others to keep looking."

The True Survivor Cars

The Wellborn's Collection of Hemi Chargers is world class, there is absolutely no question about that.  But what we found to be of equal interest and value for the classic car hobby and enthusiast are the "survivor cars". Tim suggested we contact David Burroughs at Bloomington Gold to obtain an authoritative definition of a "survivor car", and that set us on another mission to preserve true automotive history. 

Visiting David's web site Survivor Collector Cars, provides a solid understanding of what is, and is not, considered a true "survivor car".  We support David's and Tim's goals of preserving the classic automobiles we have come to love so much, and invite all classic car owners to appreciate the value of the original vehicle and not be focused simply on the cosmetic appearance of a great classic.

Per David's "Survivor Collector Car" web site:

Their Mission: Encourage preservation through recognition rather than restoration through rejection. 

What this means is that by awarding SURVIVOR Certified status to owners, there is now a way for them to receive recognition and inspiration to keep these cars preserved. Until Bloomington Gold introduced Gold Certification in 1978 and created SURVIVOR for unrestored Corvettes in 1990, cars had always been judged in Concours d’Elegance competition based upon who could deliver the most cosmetically perfect automobiles. Historic accuracy was not a priority. In fact, an historically accurate or preserved car from the “factory” wouldn’t stand a chance because they were never cosmetically perfect. An original car would essentially be “rejected.” This rejection stimulated owners to do better next time by “improving” upon the original—or restoring it. Ironically, the restorations more often turned into customizations that took great license with historic accuracy and we began to lose the real DNA of these objects of “industrial art.”

Their Purpose:
1. Provide the collector car industry as well as general enthusiasts a chance to walk through a “Field of History” to see and understand the characteristic “look” of truly original cars versus the typical homogeneity of restorations. An equal experience is unavailable through books, magazines, or expert testimony.
2. Encourage the preservation or conservation of unrestored, factory original cars that may be “worn in, but not worn out” by recognizing their historic value.
3. Cause owners to think twice before “improving” cars that are historically preserved but may be less than cosmetically perfect.
4. Expand the “reference library” for restorers to conduct more historically accurate restorations among cars unable to be preserved or conserved.
5. Create an industry brand standard that reduces the potential for misrepresentation.
Time For a Great Road Trip
If you are ever in the central Alabama areas - perhaps in Birmingham or Auburn - take an easy ride on US-280 for a wonderful experience visiting the Wellborn Muscle Car Museum in Alexander City. It is time well spent...

By the way, if wondering, Tim and Pam's collection includes Tim's father's first 1971 Dodge Charger, the car that stared it all.  They also have the Charger they used for their first date. We assume these two classics are among their most valued and sentimental possessions!

The Garagistry Team

Wellborn Muscle Car Museum photos used with permission