When you’re a Venezuelan taxi driver who falls in love with the new Challenger R/T at the 1969 Detroit Auto Show, you gotta have one with the biggest engine available, linked to a four-speed manual. There’s just no other way.

It also has to be orange with a black interior, because all muscle cars should be orange with a black interior, except for Plum Crazy ones, maybe.


Only 137 R/Ts were made with the 426 Hemi and a four-speed in 1970, and this car was pretty much the only one in Venezuela at the time, so the locals started calling her El Hemi. Sounds like your favorite uncle.

Meet the star of the latest Petrolicious video. After Señor Escalante got tired of tire smoking and the lack of parts to work with, he parked the car for a while before passing it on to his sons, who brought it to the U.S. in 1996 to restore the family’s favorite to its former glory.

One thing is for sure: As long as there’s a new generation of Escalante’s to hop into the driver’s seat, El Hemi can’t be yours.

Which car would you turn into a family story?

Photo credit: Petrolucious


Contact the author at mate@jalopnik.com.

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