Not everyone was lucky enough to be handed the keys to a muscle car when they were a teenager. As frustrating as that idea may be to some of us, 19-year-old Evan Placek wasn't handed anything. He had to put in the man hours before he could drive his '71 Duster. The restoration took three years, but now he's got one of the coolest rides at Oregon State University and respect from fellow Mopar owners.
The Hazardous Waste Green paint looks like something Homer Simpson -a nuclear powerplant w
When Evan was 14, his father found the Duster on eBay and bought it so together they could restore it. The car was in rough shape, but his father was confident that he could teach Evan how to revive the ailing muscle car. "The previous owner was going to turn it into a bracket car," he says. "It needed a lot of work to make it presentable." Evan and his father were just the duo to put in the work, so they started hitting the car hard every day after he came home from school and finished his allotted homework and studying.
To kick things off, Evan and his father stripped the car down to bare metal and repaired all of the bodywork themselves. "My dad took the time to teach me every step of the way so that I would come out of the project with the knowledge of how to do it and know everything about the car," he recalls. Once his dad was confident enough, he set Evan loose on the Duster. With his new knowledge, Evan appreciated the work more and spent countless hours fine-tuning every detail of the car.
When it was time to move onto the engine, the 318-powered Duster was in luck. "We had a spare 360 that came with the car, so we were able to build the engine outside of the car," says Evan. Again, just like with the bodywork, Evan's father guided him through the engine build. Once the block was back from Gray's Automotive and Machine Shop in Tigard, Oregon, where it was cleaned up at .030 inch over, SpeedPro flat top pistons connected to factory rods and crank were installed.
To take advantage of the recently installed Mopar Perforamnce "Purple Shaft" cam, a set of Edelbrock Performance RPM aluminum heads with Comp roller rockers were thrown on. The increased air volume is also compounded with an Edelbrock RPM Air-Gap and Performer carburetor. The healthy small-block sends its power through a TorqueFlite rebuilt by Frontier Transmission in McMinnville, Oregon, with a B&M Tork Master 2,300 converter. Out back there is an 81/4 rear with Sure Grip and a 3.23.
Here's Evan working on the Duster back in high school.
The restoration took about 3 years to finish, but the end result is this stunning '71 Duster that Evan had to work hard to earn. If you're wondering what color it is, he says it's called Industrial Hazardous Waste Green. Once the Geiger Counter (used to measure radiation) stopped buzzing, Evan climbed behind the wheel and took it on the road-a road filled with first place car show trophies. "I've taken first place in the 1970s class at the Newberg Old Fashioned Festival Car Show the past three years-2008, 2009, 2010," he claims. We can see why he wants to show of this accomplishment. All the hard work paid off and now he's on to his next project-a '70 Roadrunner for this dad. Like father, like son!
For more than 32 years, the COMP Cams mission has never changed. Strive to produce the highest-performing products possible, provide customers with superior service, and lead the industry in technological development. While the COMP Performance Group has grown to multiple companies and hundreds of employees, we still retain the competitive spirit and desire to be the very best that has positioned COMP Cams as the absolute leader in valvetrain components.
COMP Cams' competitive drive, superior engineering, and cutting-edge technology has helped us to produce more champions than any other camshaft manufacturer. We work with the best teams in circle track, drag racing, road race, and off-road racing. Whether you're looking for horsepower, reliability, or gas mileage, COMP Cams has the products that will deliver.