The #71 K&K Dodge Daytona Visits Europe
If NASCAR handed out perfect attendance certificates for Talladega Superspeedway's Winston Cup events, two things are pretty certain. First, there wouldn't be many certificates, and second, Tim Wellborn would have one hanging on his wall. This life-long Alabama resident has had a close association with the track from its beginnings in 1969, thanks to his father's ties to its designers and builders. In 1982, Tim moved beyond race spectator status when he joined the International Motorsports Hall of Fame and Museum's executive board of directors; the Hall of Fame and Museum is located adjacent to the track.
Tim has been a life long Mopar fan also, having owned some of the rarest and most desirable of all Chryslers, including a fair number of particularly rare winged cars. In recent years, he has tackled some noteworthy winged car projects, including hosting the 1988, 1994 and 1999 Aero Warrior Reunions. In addition, Tim also spearheaded efforts to get the remaining #71 K & K Insurance Dodge Daytona back on track, as it turns out, literally!
In 1995, Tim contacted Chrysler about supplying a Hemi for the #71 K&K Insurance Dodge Daytona. The car had been donated to the Hall of Fame and Museum in 1976 by K&K Crew Chief Harry Hyde, but its drive train wasn't functional. Tim knew that getting the car to run under its own power would make life much easier for those taking it around the country for various show appearances. Having to push or hoist an almost 4,000 pound stock car on and off a trailer was no fun! Plus, Tim felt it was an indignity for such a famous car not to be able to move under its own power.
To Tim's surprise, he eventually got through to then Chrysler President Bob Lutz, and Lutz arranged for a 528 c.i. crate motor to be donated for use in the car's restoration. Interestingly, this was the first Hemi built by Chrysler since 1971. Tim and noted Chrysler restorer Roger Gibson eventually shoe-horned the motor into the car. Fortunately, there were a number of functional original components on the "dummy Hemi" already in the car, and they were fitted to the 528 c.i. short block.
The Museum's #88 Daytona was sent to Europe on a publicity junket for DaimlerChrysler in 1998. Due to his close affiliation with the museum, Tim was chosen to drive the car. When DaimlerChrysler opted for a similar tour in 1999, the recently resurrected #71 seemed like a logical choice that time around. Tim attended seven events with the car in Europe in 1999 and 2000; photos on this page document his visits to Silverstone and Goodwood in England, as well as to the Nurburgring in Germany.
Before the car left on the 1999 tour, Harry Hyde's son Harry Lee Hyde (Harry Hyde passed away suddenly in 1996) helped Tim tune the suspension. Amazingly, Harry Lee was in possession of his father's original set-up notes for the car!