We've all seen blower cars that were not all they should have been. Certainly, there are few sights more aggressive on the street than that big aftermarket Roots-style supercharger jutting through the hood of a vintage Mopar. Often, however, the compromises mean the car won't idle right, won't start without a lot of effort, and frankly, can get smoked off at the stoplight Grand Prix by a mildly-modified street machine.
So, when we caught up with Mopar racer Tony Buck at Mopars at the Rock in North Carolina last spring, we were pleasantly surprised to say the least. Not only was Tony's street-tagged '72 Duster running well, he had the car out on the track as part of the bracket program!
"I always wanted a fast street car," says Tony, "but I grew tired of towing my race car to the track; I wanted to be able to drive it there!"
The car has run as low as 9.83 at 138 mph on street tires and through the mufflers since it hit the track, and Tony is enjoying every minute of it on both the street and strip. We all know there is nothing cute about Mopars (even when they are pink or purple), but this is one example that can be considered about as nasty as they come. Who would want to be in that 5.0 or import rice-burner when this machine tooled up to the light?
A mechanic by trade who lives in Chocowinity, North Carolina, Tony decided to replace his race-only Barracuda with something more dual-oriented. A long-time Chrysler fan, the 'Cuda had succeeded a pair of mid-60s street/strip Belvederes. He found the Duster, which was solid but in need of some care, and set about building a new race car that would let him have his cake and eat it to.
The body went to David Baxton's High Performance where a 12-point cage and mini-tubs for rear tire clearance were installed. The suspension was upgraded with coil-over shocks and ladder bars, the front end got a set of disc brakes, and Weld Drag Lite wheels were added. Inside went Jaz seats, Autometer gauges, a Cheetah SCS shifter, and an M&R five-point harness, while the metal hood went south in favor of a VFN fiberglass replacement that features a four-inch cowl scoop. A '70-model-year grille is now in the nose, and Stevie Askew painted the Duster an appropriate Plum Crazy. With the engine, the finished machine tips the scales at 3,450 pounds.
For motivation, Griffin's Automotive in Washington, North Carolina, began prepping a 400-inch B-block for stroker use. An offset-ground Plymouth crank went into this, which, when coupled with Eagle rods and 9.0:1 Ross pistons, creates a 451-inch monster. The blower is a 10-71 Mooneyham supporting two 830-cfm race Holley carbs, mated to the bottom end through a BDS blower manifold. A set of massaged aluminum heads from Mopar Performance sends the compressed fuel to the cylinders, which is metered by a well-chosen .649-lift/295-degree Comp Cams outfit. A pan from Milodon holds the oil, and Hooker Competition headers route the exhaust rearward into a free-flowing exhaust system when the car is not racing. An MSD outfit provides the fire, while fuel comes out of a 16-gallon cell.
Griffin's artisans Chris Bowers and Joey Griffin also handled the transmission, which now uses a Turbo Action valve body and 4200-stall Coan 9-inch converter. Out in back, the horsepower travels through a 4.10-geared Dana 60 set up by Moser before heading out to the 29x12 Goodyear tires. Quality Welding and Fabrication installed the rear suspension and did other things that Tony is very appreciative of; he couldn't have done the car without them.