In the short time this little...
In the short time this little blue Duster has been on the road, Dean and Mason have racked up over 1,300 miles on the clock. That's what we call a street machine.
Returning the Plymouth back to the home garage, Dean and his son began disassembling it, replacing the front fenders and hood with pieces from a donor '71 Valiant found at a local salvage yard. A chemical stripper melted off layers of factory paint, bringing out the original sheetmetal. (A topical chemical stripper is just as effective as other medias and free of harmful aftereffects, such as the abrasiveness of sand blasting or acidity of chemical dipping.) Hours of vacuuming also pulled out pounds of pine needles from the dash, air ducts, and cowl.
Many restorations come to a screeching halt when it comes time to paint because the cost of taking a project vehicle to a professional shop is often out of most people's budget. Dean's first estimate at a local body shop was over double what he was expecting. His second estimate was still too expensive, so he opted to have the bodywork conducted at the local shop and then take the finished, straightened product to a nearby Maaco for a single-stage shot of Glacial Blue Metallic.
Dean and Mason, now with money left in their budget, began getting together the correct powertrain for the Plymouth. A west coast Mopar salvage yard listed a '70 Duster with the right four-speed transmission and 8-3/4 rearend, but it lacked the desired 340 small-block. Unfortunately, the seller refused to part out the car, so the Schoens purchased the complete car. The donor Duster gave up most of its running gear, including transmission, rearend, torsion bars, leaf springs, disc brake components, four-speed pedal assembly, steering column, Rallye dash, seats, and the four-speed floor hump.
It took several months after they picked up the Duster at the Goodguys event to land a good deal on an original 340 block, crankshaft, and rods, which they finally found at the Las Vegas Mopars at the Strip show in 2005. Dean's brother, Russ, pitched in a set of cast-iron 340 heads. The painted Duster occupied most nights and weekends for the father/son team as they installed factory torsion bars and leaf springs, as well as new bushings for the front suspension. The original door panels were cleaned, and new Legendary seat covers were wrapped around the donated bench seats. Year One supplied the medium blue carpet as well as other smaller components. A Grant GT wheel was paint matched, and a Pioneer sound system was installed. The smaller components pertaining to the suspension and mechanicals were sandblasted before being repainted and installed.
The 340 block, accompanied by a box full of parts, was sent off to Dave's Vette Shoppe in Citrus Heights, California. The 340 was bored .040-inches over and fitted with Keith Black Silv-O-Lite 10.2:1 compression pistons. Chrysler's stock rods and crankshaft worked perfectly, and a Comp Cams .477/.480-lift hydraulic cam controls the top end. The top end consists of brother Russ' Chrysler heads, mildly ported and loaded to the gills with Mopar valves, Comp Cams springs, and stock Chrysler rocker arms. An Edelbrock Performer intake with a Holley 650 double-pumper and electronic Mopar Performance ignition finishes off the grocery list of goodies. A pair of tti ceramic-coated headers are married to 2-1/2-inch pipes, and then exit through a pair of Dynomax Super Turbo mufflers. The manual A833 four-speed spins a Centerforce clutch and is rowed by a Hurst long-arm shifter. The pilfered Chrysler 8-3/4 rear houses a Sure Grip with 3.23 gears, making the drivetrain complete and street friendly.