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
After Wayne had his car for a while, he decided that even though his car began life as a real 340/four-speed Demon that wasn't enough for him. He opted for 416 cubes with a little more rod from Eagle. Again, Bill Reppert did the assembly work on the block, using a 4-inch Mopar long arm and a little less compression. Since the old man knows how to run the valves, he chose a solid lifter Comp stick with .511-inch lift and 280-degrees duration, coupled to 1.6-ratio Crane rockers. The combination is still pretty close to Josh's-Edlebrock heads, M1 intake, tti exhaust, MSD ignition, and an electric fan.
Inside the Demon is a Grant wheel, a big Auto Meter tach and gauges, and an OEM-type Pistol Grip coming off the floor. A smaller custom wooden console is between the bucket seats. Like Josh's Kenwood, Wayne upgraded to a modern AM/FM stereo with an aftermarket outfit from Jensen.
Suspension work on the Demon was also similar to Josh's, right down to a pinion snubber on the 8-3/4 differential (the gears are a little tighter than Josh's 3.91 at 4.10). For wheels, Wayne went with Centerline Auto Drags and BFGoodrich tires. AAR Fiberglass supplied the hood with its Six Pack scoop, and front and rear fiberglass bumpers. Josh and his buddy Taz helped with the bodywork.
Bob Zelko layed down the Flame Red and silver PPG paint, with Scotties Designs doing the nice custom lettering, including the humorous Clark's Muscle Cars decal in the rear window and a 340 callout on the scoop that keeps Brand-X poseurs in the dark.
Wayne and Josh attend cruises and shows frequently together in their pair of Mopars. For the Clarks, building and enjoying these cars has been a great way to keep it all in the family-the A-team from Allentown.
'72 Dodge Demon 416
The elder Clark's engine boasts 416 inches of small-block to stay just ahead of Josh.
- Engine: Starting with a 340 base, machinist Bill Reppert prepped and aligned bored the block, adding a Mopar 4-inch crankshaft, Eagle rods, and 9.5:1 compression Diamond pistons for a true displacement that is 76-inches larger than stock. The street mill was topped off with Edelbrock Performer heads, a Mopar M1 intake, and a Barry Grant Race Demon. A tti exhaust system, MSD 6AL box and ignition parts, and an electric fan round out what is visible. In the center of all this went a Comp Cams solid lifter cam, plus Crane rockers and lifters.
- Transmission: The A833 factory box remains in place, as this was a real 340 car when the project started.
- Differential: The factory 8-3/4 unit now hosts a tight 4.10 gear in place of the 3.55 that came off the assembly line.
- Horsepower & Performance: Street use, but we think this may be the only legal way to beat your own kid!
- Suspension: With Super Stock springs and a pinion snubber for bite, Wayne also added gas shocks.
- Brakes: Front discs and rear drums.
- Rims & Rubbers: 15x5.5 Centerline Auto Drags and BFGoodrich 205/R75-15 in front and wider 15x7.5 version with 275-R60/15s in back.
- Body: The Demon was prepped by Wayne, Josh, and Taz. The car received an AAR fiberglass hood with a molded-in Six Pack scoop, plus front and rear fiberglass bumpers.
- Paint: Bob Zelko handled the pigment gunnery-PPG Flame Red with silver graphics. Scotties Designs did all the extra lettering.
- Interior: OEM black vinyl buckets are separated by a small wooden console and the shifter coming up through the transmission tunnel. There is also a Grant steering wheel and Auto Meter gauges in the cockpit.
Fast Facts'73 Plymouth 408
- Engine: The 225 came out and a 360 block went in, although it was fully prepped by Bill Reppert for a stroker crank and now pushes out 408 inches of air. Eagle H-beams, 10.0:1 Diamond slugs, an MSD timing outfit, and a Comp hydraulic cam are on the inside. With a Holley 750 and tti headers on either end, the air moves through the M1 intake/Edelbrock heads before being converted into energy and sent with a rumble to the exhaust tips.
- Transmission: The automatic is a fully manual 727 that Bill Reppert worked his magic on.
- Differential: An 8-3/4 unit out back, housing a Sure Grip-assisted 3.91 gear.
- Horsepower & Performance: Street use, but can keep up with the old man with no problem.
- Suspension: Gas shocks, Super Stock springs, and a pinion snubber.
- Brakes: Front discs and rear drums.
- Rims & Rubbers: Cool 15x6 semi-custom-made rims and BFGoodrich TA Radials: 205/R75-15 in front and wider 15x8 versions with 275-R60/15s in back.
- Body: The Duster got a few mods-a real '73 scoop outfit, fiberglass bumpers, and the big rear spoiler thanks to Wayne, Josh, and Bob.
- Paint: Bob Zelko's spray gun artistry laid down PPG bright green metallic. White stripes along the body lines are a plus, and Scotties Designs did all the extra lettering.
- Interior: White vinyl buckets now separated by the wooden console that Wayne built, which hosts the shifter, gauges, and extras. A Kenwood stereo is in the dash, with a Grant steering wheel as the tiller. Auto Meter gauges round it out.
The younger Clark's ride depends on 408 inches of small-block to keep up with dad.
The console in Josh's Duster is a custom unit crafted by Josh and his dad. Nice job, guys.