Most of us who labor in the work-a-day world have considered what life will be like after we make the final stab at the time clock. No doubt, images of day-long wrenching sessions figure prominently in our fantasy retirement years (assuming our 401 Ks will be fat and healthy by then). For those of us who haven't made it there, Cliff Harmon of Hampton, Virginia, reports that all is well on that side of the fence-especially if you drive vintage Mopar iron.

When Cliff quit the daily grind thing, he set his sights on fulfilling a long-lasting desire to own a spicy little A-Body. He already owned two B-Bodies, so a rascally A-bomber was the next logical trophy on his Mopar hit list.

"A friend of mine was in the process of restoring a '70 Dodge Swinger," says Cliff. "After rebuilding the engine and transmission and adding a new exhaust system and other parts, he decided he was no longer interested in restoring the car. Knowing I wanted an A-Body, he gave me a call to see if I was interested. Of course, that's exactly what I wanted. The car [which sported a 340, four-speed, scooped hood, and 3.23 rearend] was in good condition at the time of purchase. There was very little rust in the left and right quarter-panels."

Cliff purchased the Swinger in 1996, but that darn work thing prevented him from diving into the project with a full head of steam. Instead, he spent the next four years acquiring parts that would eventually find their way onto the car. He even picked up a '71 Swinger as a parts mule. Cliff says the '71 came with a lot of salvageable goodies, the best of which included factory air conditioning and power steering-two desirable options that were missing from his '70 model.

Finally, the golden watch moment visited Cliff, and without skipping a beat, he dove into the Swinger project with gusto.

"In 2000 I started restoring the Swinger," Cliff explains, "and I continued restoring it nearly every day for the next 10 months."

The first order of business was to clean up the engine compartment and upgrade the spark management with a Mopar electronic ignition system. Cliff then cut into the firewall to plumb the A/C system, added the power-steering unit, and treated all of the underhood acreage to a topnotch paint job and detailing.

"For the interior, I installed new black carpet, door-trim panels, new white Legendary seat covers, and new armrests. I painted the interior panels with a black polyurethane basecoat/clearcoat, and then installed a new headliner and package tray. Finally, I added tinted windows and a new tinted windshield."

Because the Swinger was in such good condition, Cliff had to add only a touch of fresh sheet-metal to the quarter-panels. Yet, after stripping the body, a real challenge reared its head.

"Choosing the proper color for my Swinger was a tough choice," says Cliff. "I wanted a color that was popular for that era. There were several colors to choose from and two colors that I was partial to-Lime Green and Hemi Orange. Lime Green was chosen because I felt it would look better on this type of car."

Cliff tells us that installing the A/C system was the toughest part of the project, but definitely worth it.

"All the added comforts make my '70 Swinger a nice cruisin' car. Although I restored it to show, I drive it at least five times a week. I love driving it around town. There's nothing like driving a muscle car with a four-speed transmission."

We would add that this is especially true if your weeks aren't interrupted by such aggravations as, say, punching a time clock.

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