"Doing local car shows and cruises was becoming a bore . . . this is a musclecar, and I think a lot of people forget that and why they have that name. These cars were built to race, not just to sit, cruise, or be trailer queens."

So says Kevin Haranczak, the owner of this immaculate GY1 Curious Yellow '71 440 Six Pack Road Runner that placed Second in a field of 32 entries at the 2000 Detroit Autorama.

Thirty-year-old Kevin and his dad, Don, maintain an eyebrow-raising fleet of hairy Mopars at their Warren, Michigan, digs. These include a '70 'Cuda 383 four-speed, a '70 Charger 500, a '70 340 Duster, a '77 Aspen R/T, and an '87 Charger GLHS. No clones here. This Road Runner is the real deal-not some gussied-up Satellite.

The car, minus the driveline, was purchased in 1990. The interesting thing was somewhere down the line, the original Six Pack engine was removed and replaced with a Hemi.

"For a $20,000 [asking price] car, it needed a lot of work," says Kevin. "Back when I bought it, Hemis were more expensive than they are now; they were really up there before the [MP replacement] blocks came out," said Kevin. Instead of dropping 20 Gs, Kevin walked off with the rolling chassis for a slightly more reasonable $6,500. "It was a Kentucky car," he says, "so there was nothing major going on with the body, and no panels had been replaced. What it did have, however, was an old-fashioned trailer hitch that had been welded to the framerails and drilled into the bumper. Whoever did it was pretty crude about putting it on."

Kevin was a teenager when he bought the Road Runner, and as a young man, his attention naturally wandered toward other interests. Kevin placed the car on hiatus for the next 10 years, only to revive it a decade later-this time with a full-blown resto on the menu.

The 440 block, born the day after Christmas in 1970, received a .030 overbore, along with a fresh set of Diamond flat-top pistons and Eagle rods attached to a stock stroke crank. This, along with the 906-casting heads, creates a pleasing 11:1 compression. The valve openings were enlarged to 2.18/1.88 and have been treated to a full port job. The Six Pack intake features a trio of Holley two-barrel carbs (jetted 78 front and rear, 62 center) fed by a Carter high-volume fuel pump. The cam is a Crane roller unit measuring 226/230 degrees duration at .050. The lift is one of those "racing secrets," installed in the block, four degrees retarded. Kevin reports 400 hp at 5,200 rpm and 430 lb-ft of torque at 4,500 rpm.

Ignition is a Mopar Performance distributor, a hidden MSD 6AL, plus a Blaster 2 coil. It's already black. You just have to peel the sticker off to make it look stock. Spark travels through Moroso wires with the lettering removed, and NGK plugs put the fire in the hole.

"I don't use any fancy platinum plugs," says Kevin. "The aftermarket ignitions don't seem to like 'em."

The exhaust system retains the stock manifolds, which are extrude honed and port-matched to the heads. Larry and Tim at Auto Muffler in Warren, Michigan, installed the 211/42-inch exhaust and an X-style crossover trailed by Dynomax mufflers. Kevin says, "The car got both faster and quieter after I put the X on." The tips, incidentally, are refinished originals.

Russ Cunhin, Kevin's buddy who works for a local Chrysler dealership, rebuilt the 727 TorqueFlite. An 11-inch, 2500-stall Dynamic converter and a trans cooler with the factory Slap-Stick linkage ensure trouble-free shifts.

Much of the gains made on the "Big B" come from chassis work. Stock elements underneath include the G60-15 Goodyear Polyglas white-letter tires, 15x7 Rallye wheels, the 3.73 gear in the 831/44 rear, and the stock front disc/rear drum-brake setup. Kevin had been running 3.55s, but he says "since porting the heads and extrude honing the exhaust manifolds, it made power higher in the rpm range, so we stepped the gear up a little."

Chassis changes include a set of 90/10 Summit drag shocks up front and Competition Engineering 50/50 shocks in the rear. Both are destickered and painted black. A leaf-spring setup devoid of rear clamps and a rear axle set for a minus-four-degrees pinion angle finish the suspension.

Kevin explains, "It helps a lot when you run stock tires. This lets the rearend rotate more and softens the blow to the tires. It also lets the leaf springs flex more, so you don't have a hard bang on launch that spins the tires. Everything flexes and rolls. You want everything to move a little bit."

This particular Road Runner featured two factory sway bars. After running it with neither in place, some squirrelly top-end braking characteristics became evident, and Kevin reinstalled the front unit.

Inside, Kevin treated the cockpit to a Legendary interior, featuring yellow seat inserts (which never came from the factory). "I just tell everyone that they're prototype pieces," he says. "Production seat inserts were only [available] in red and orange." The original 7,000 rpm tach and factory AM/FM cassette stereo remain. The rest of the interior, including the door panels, dash, and headliner, are all factory-original.

When purchased, the body was straight, although the paint had seen better days. Kevin set about refurbishing it, but that was before its nine-year slumber. "We had the body almost done, but [then] I put it away. Over the years, moving it from storage place to storage place, the body became nicked and chipped, so by the time we got back to it, we had to start over."

Kevin began the body revitalization process by applying two coats of epoxy primer and four coats of blocking primer. This was followed by four coats of GY1 Curious Yellow and four coats of clear. A two-stage wet-sanding, using 1200 and 1500 grit paper, completed the topcoat redo.

With the Road Runner complete, Kevin set his eye on more than show field fun. As with most Mopar enthusiasts, the true joy of ownership is found behind the wheel. For Kevin, this means participation in such activities as Factory Appearing drag racing.

"I stall at 1,200 rpm," says Kevin, "and when the light turns green, I roll the throttle on." Kevin shifts at 5,800 rpm (redline is 6,200), and he rolls through the traps at 5,600 rpm-and yes, he's the proud owner of a timeslip bearing a 12.20 e.t. at 116 mph.

Such is the joy of a Factory Appearing drag racer. It's a bone-stock resto, which allows purists to admire the quality of workmanship, while the all-out speed freaks can dig the car's ability to get from here to there in a hurry. So, is it a show car or a race car? If you ask Kevin, he'll tell you it does both well. In other words, this Road Runner pulls double duty.

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