I want to start off with a question for you guys. I want to know where you think the Mopar hobby is headed. Are people completing OE-style restorations, or are they modifying their cars? Personally, it seems like I'm seeing more restorations than I am modified builds as of late. Between the emails I receive from readers asking about getting their car in the magazine, or just what I notice at different events around the country, it’s just my perception, and in no way confirmed, but it does make me wonder.
So I thought that maybe in this issue we would show you guys a couple of “stock” cars that push the envelope. These cars aid in the confusion, because we can’t decide if they are restored or modified. Let’s face it, a Road Runner never left the factory, capable of running an 11-second quarter-mile time, but a race car never looked this factory fresh either. I don’t want to say I had a hard time with this issue, but if you’ve ever spent any time with me, you will understand that the word “stock” and I personally don’t spend a lot of time together. To say that I posses the skills to rebuild, fix, or screw something up is an accurate statement—and I frequently achieve at least one of them, but in the end, something got modified.
It all started with my first car. When I bought it, it wasn’t what could be called a low-mileage original, but it was a decent looking, rebuildable car. I took it home and began to cut, unbolt, and ultimately throw away a lot of good parts. But, in my mind, they were only stock parts and just didn’t cut it for what I had in mind. One of the first things to go was the perfectly good “stock” exhaust system; sawzalled and chucked. How many modified cars still run the factory air cleaner? On my first car, it was yanked and replaced with an open-element piece. I don’t remember exactly what happened to the original, but I do know that the original air cleaner I lost is expensive to buy today.
I’ve been this way all of my life. I just can’t leave things alone. Heck, I’m the only guy in my neighborhood with a garden tractor that has wheelie bars—and needs them.
But now that the Superbee is finished, I guess I might make an attempt at a “stock” restoration. It’s the Charger’s turn, and maybe this time—remember, I said maybe—it might get restored, or at least be a closer representation than I am used to. For me, the definition of stock is a gorgeous, painstakingly restored car owned by someone else. I have nothing against a stock car; in fact, I think enough of them to not own one. I say that because if I did own one, I wouldn’t be able to keep my hands off it. I would have to change and/or modify things, and then one more restored classic is no more. So to you guys who can keep a car stock, or as in the case of our cover cars, at least look stock, my hat’s off to you.
So there you have it, I’ve admitted my fault—I’m a modifier. Maybe that’s not so bad, maybe having a few guys like me around means that you guys who do enjoy restored cars are able to get the parts you need. After all, somebody might as well use them; I’ll just lose them anyway.
If you ever see anything that's “stock” in my garage, someone else left it there.