This month we have a letter from 23-year-old Jason Jendzeizyk as he tells us a little back story to his '74 Valiant Sedan and sends our editor some comments on a past editorial.
Dear Mopar Muscle Magazine,
My name is Jason Jendzeizyk and I'm a frequent reader of your magazine. After purchasing the latest issue and reading the article by Randy Bolig, "Goin' Back to the Good Ole Days" in the March '10 issue, I could not read any further and had to put down the magazine and begin this email. I've been inspired to share with you my own Mopar and the story that goes along with it, as I couldn't agree with Randy's new buildup theory more as it was the same idea behind the rebuild of my car, one that I hope you will consider including in your Young Guns page.
I am 23 years old, and I live and work in Schenectady, New York, as a graphic artist. I never got to experience the "Good Ole Days" that Randy wrote about, the same days my father and uncle always told me about. I would listen to stories about my father's '71 Barracuda and my uncle's '69 Roadrunner, I would see old pictures of them working in the driveway at my Grandparents' house, and I would see the trophies they won from Lebanon Valley Dragway. The most common stories I heard were how both of them regret parting ways with their cars over the years. But seeing and hearing isn't the same as experiencing; I only wish I could have been around to experience this all for myself because, as we all know, things aren't nearly the same today.
When I made the decision to begin a project car of my own, I knew I wanted a Mopar as my father and his brother had both owned around my age. I would have loved to find a 'Cuda or Roadrunner that I could have built as a clone of theirs, but being a 21-year-old full-time college student meant that my budget was small and these cars were unfortunately way out of my price range. I looked for what seemed like ages for the perfect car to buy and call my own, but my hopes of Sassy Grass paintjobs and big-block power were all but crushed by reality. What I did come across, however, was a car that I almost passed up at first glance. It was a '74 Plymouth Valiant sedan. As soon as I saw four doors, it was dismissed. The more I thought about it, though, the more it grew on me. The car had a 318, a three-speed automatic, and fairly low mileage-around 75,000 miles-and most importantly it was in my price range. Soon I wanted nothing more than to own this car, despite its four-door nature. It had a few modifications that helped me make up my mind; the previous owner installed a four-barrel carb, a 340 spec cam, an exhaust, and a small tachometer. I convinced my father to make the trip with me to Rhode Island where the car was located, and in August of 2007 a deal was struck and I was the proud owner of my first Mopar. The car came with documentation from the original owner that included the original window sticker, sales receipt, and every service the car had from then on.
The rest of the summer and into the early fall I drove the car nearly every day with the biggest grin on my face. I loved the way the car drove and the looks people gave it. The thumbs up and shouts I got from others on the road can't be topped. I would bring the car to all the local hangout spots and cruise-ins. Whenever I was approached by someone about the car, it seemed everyone had a relative, neighbor, friend, or they themselves owned a similar car.
A nice, healthy 408 rests...
A nice, healthy 408 rests under this Valiant's hood. As a side note, "Randy, yes your neighbors will hate you! If you don't believe me, ask mine. They've had the displeasure of hearing my 408 warm up at 6 a.m.," says Jason.
After Jason ran into engine trouble shoftly after it sat for the winter, he found new motivation from a brand-new 408 Magnum. He rebuilt the 904 transmission and is now back on the road. Jason's dedication to his classic Mopar is great to see, and we hope you appreciate it as much as we do. Some of us on the staff really did have one of those, or something similar.
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Do You Feel Lucky? Do you want to see your Mopar here? Do you want to be immortalized as a Mopar Muscle Young Gun? Is your car the nastiest thing on four wheels at your high school or college? Then send in your entry to email@example.com, or to Mopar Muscle, Young Guns, 9036 Brittany Way, Tampa, FL 33619. Here's all you need to do: Send us some photos of you and your car, a description of your car, what you have done to it, and future plans for it. Be sure to include contact information and current email address. Good luck!