Allentown, Pennsylvania, is one of those places you would expect to find Mopar energy. The former blue-collar steel town, immortalized in song by Billy Joel, is not the sprawling industrial might it once was, but thanks to guys like Wayne Clark and his son, Josh, the mechanical sounds of horsepower still echo on in the summer evenings.
The Clarks have built a pair of very nice A-bombers. Keyed in with some of the modern speed internals now available, these machines are displacing more air than most of the big-blocks Chrysler built back in the day, and still using the venerable 340/360 block for underpinning.
Josh, who works as a draftsman, admits his own choices are family-influenced, crediting his dad's love of the Pentastar breed and his influence when young Josh first got his driver's license. "I wanted a musclecar," Josh admits. "My dad was into Mopars, and he was only going to let me buy a Mopar. My parents found this Duster for me as my first car, which was fine because I like Dusters. They helped me pay for part of the paint job, but the rest was out of my pocket."
The Duster, which came into the Clark family in 2000, started out like a lot of Dusters-a 225-inch leanin' Tower of Power backed by a 904 mini-'Flite with the 7-1/4 rearend as the motorvational part of the eqaution. The body received some minor cleanup and a real '73 Duster scoop. Josh also added fiberglass bumpers and the rear spoiler.
Front disc brakes, gas shocks, Super Stock-type springs, 15-inch aftermarket wheels, and modern rubber also went onto the car. The finishing touch was the custom green and white paint job by Bob Zelko.
Scotties Designs carefully added the "408 Stroker" to the reflective white stripe, letting everyone know that there was more than just 360 inches under the hood. Mechanic Bill Reppert of Allentown got tagged for getting the block align-honed, taking .030-inch out of the cylinders to clean them up and adding a 4-inch Mopar crankshaft and Eagle H-beam rods. Diamond pistons were chosen, and Mancini Racing balanced the whole thing before Bill began spinning wrenches. Since this was a street beast, the cam is a Comp hydraulic piece, with Crane, Mopar, and Edelbrock valvetrain parts.
Pulling some of the weight off the nose was achieved via a set of Edelbrock 340 Performer RPM aluminum heads, a Mopar M1 intake, and tti headers. A Holley 750 double-pumper with a Proform center section is the icing on the cake. An electric fan and March V belt pulley and brackets means more power is going off the other end of the crankshaft. An MSD 6AL and related parts, plus an Exide battery, hits juice to the fuel mix.
That left the interior. When the pedal hits the floor, a Grant steering wheel and some Auto Meter gauges, including a large-face tach, are what Josh sees in front of him while his hand is on a Hurst Pistol Grip quarter stick. Wayne's well-honed carpentry skills proved helpful here, as a custom console was built to house the shifter and peripherals. Josh says, "This car was stock and driven to high school. Once I graduated and got a full-time job, I had [more money] to work on it. My dad and I did a little of it each year to make it what it is today. So I give a special thanks to my dad and mom and all my friends who helped me with it."
Wayne, a retired carpenter, has owned his '72 Demon since 2003, the latest in a string of Chrysler products that have graced his driveway and garage during the last four decades. "I wanted to replace the Demon I bought new in 1972," he says. "I liked them, and you don't see many of them these days, and Josh already had the Duster."
"Thanks, mom, for giving up your side of the garage so i can keep my car indoors."-josh clark"I want to thank my wife, mary anne, for letting me put my car together and my son, josh, for helping me build it."-wayne clark