It all started with a comment in the Bench Racing column. We mentioned that the right modified Sebring would certainly be a worthy subject for the magazine. With that simple statement, Melissa Lopez of Lutz, Florida, decided to send us photos of her dad's '72 Satellite Sebring Plus, including before shots of the car, as well as pictures of it during the restoration process.
The project started in 1998 when Melissa's dad, Jody, began the major undertaking, but finding rust in several crucial areas meant that Jody faced an uphill battle. While looking for parts at a local salvage yard, he came across another Sebring body that, as luck would have it, was in better shape than his project car even though the boneyard chassis had been in a bodyline-altering incident.
The next three years of nights and weekends found Jody working diligently under his carport, sandblasting parts and replacing rusted areas of sheetmetal. When he thought the body was ready, he covered it with an epoxy primer before friend Jose Rosa applied an expert coat of '94 Viper Yellow.
While the body was getting its new color, the engine was given to 3D Machine in Tampa, where it was cleaned and prepped with a .030-inch overbore. Jody handled the assembly chores himself, including filling the block with the stock crank and rods attached to Keith Black pistons. The valve actuating device is a Crane Cams hydraulic stick with .508/.528 inches of lift and .234/.244 degrees of duration at .050. Jody chose a set of Edelbrock aluminum heads and topped them off with Crane's adjustable roller-tipped rockers. The fuel is pulled through the Holley 750 carb via the Wieand X-celerator intake. A Mopar electronic distributor is connected to an MSD 6AL ignition and the Dynomax headers send the spent gasses through Flowmaster mufflers. From there, power travels through a 727 TorqueFlite rebuilt and modified by Woody Dunkin of Orlando. Woody filled the 727 with a 10-inch torque converter and a Transgo Shift improvement kit. This is backed by an 8 3/4 rear boasting a Sure Grip with 3.91 gears. Keeping Jody's Satellite on the asphalt is a set of Torque Thrust II wheels wrapped with BFGoodrich rubber on all four corners.
Anybody who has ever wanted to restore one of these late B-Body cars has run into the problem of unavailable parts, so Jody decided he would customize his interior for a more personal touch. The original bucket seats were covered in new material from Legendary Auto Interiors, and since door panels and sail panels were unavailable, he custom-made his own pieces. To further the custom feel, the dash bezel and passenger-side insert were painted yellow. Jody tells us it took several rounds of painting, sanding and repainting until he was satisfied. Since Jody planned on cruising, quality audio hardware was mandatory. A Secret Audio stereo system with a six-disc CD changer sends the tunes through multiple Pioneer speakers.
Jody tells us that his first car was a '71 Satellite, which he had to sell when he joined the Navy. Given the trouble and time it took to work two cars into one beautiful street machine, we have a feeling this car won't be on the auction block anytime soon.
Oh. Remember we said that Jody's daughter sent us the pics? She also sent us photos of her car as well. During Melissa's senior year of high school, Jody, being a glutton for punishment, also built his daughter a daily driver, which just happened to be...another Satellite.