"When I got home, my wife...
"When I got home, my wife was not very happy with me for coming home with, as she called it, 'a rusted-out old piece of junk.' That made me even more determined to make it a nice car."
At the Shreveport, Louisiana, stop on the Hot Rod Power Tour, a Mopar boy from the Midwest took home Mopar Muscle's Coolest Mopar honors. Gary Killeen single-handedly made sure Plymouth power was well represented. The Killeen brothers brought Gary's '70 Road Runner and Roger's '71 'Cuda from Cuba, Missouri.
Gary's Road Runner fell into his lap at just the right price, but at just the wrong time. "I talked to a friend who had purchased the car, and he was telling me how cool the Air Grabber hood was," Gary says. "He told me (then) he was going to restore the car. I talked to him a year later and found he had started the restoration, but found it was too much money and work to finish. He told me he would take $6,500 for the car. The same day he told me that, I had just purchased another '70 orange Road Runner to restore. I went and looked at his car, saw it was Curious Yellow, with an Air Grabber Hood, Pistol Grip four-speed, and tic-toc-tac. I didn't think I could go wrong buying it for $6,500.
"When I got home, my wife was not very happy with me for coming home with, as she called it, 'a rusted-out old piece of junk.' That made me even more determined to make it a nice car. I put the other (orange) '70 Road Runner on hold and started restoration on this one immediately. I had built a small personal body shop behind my existing garage-complete with a paint booth. I hired Jason Lambing, a friend who was a bodyman, to work part-time on my cars."
The body needed lots of work. Gary and Jason replaced both front floorpans, trunk, both rear framerails, the bumper brackets on the rear, both rear quarters, trunk extensions, wheelwells, and just about everything else on the car. Legendary supplied the white vinyl interior for the bench seats and the black carpet. Cragar 15x8 wheels hooked up to front and rear drum brakes and a Mopar 8 3/4, 3.55-gear rearend. The 440ci engine was bored .060 over and outfitted with 10:1-compression Keith Black Pistons. The cam is a specially ground Mopar Purple Shaft hydraulic piece. The air goes in through an Air Grabber hoodscoop and Six-barrel intake, and it leaves through a TTI exhaust system with Flowmaster mufflers. McLain Racing Engines in Cuba brewed the 440.
"After about 1 1/2 years, and after becoming good friends with everyone at Year One, she was complete," Gary says. "Twenty minutes before we left on the morning of the Power Tour, Jason was taking off the last of the masking tape from painting the stripes on the hood. We ran our 2,600 miles on the Power Tour trouble free, except for my horn that went bad. At Year One, they took theirs off the display and gave it to me at no charge."
In addition to being Shreveport's coolest Mopar, the Road Runner won the Barfly award for the nicest Mopar at the Ft. Worth, Texas, stop.
"We had a great time," Gary says, "and are ready to do the Power Tour again next year with the other '70 Road Runner."
Roger's ride came to him on a recommendation from Gary. Roger was intrigued by the car's impressive resume. "I was told about the car by my brother," Roger says. "When I looked at it, I liked it. But what really turned me on about the car was it had taken First Place at Mopar Monster Weekend in St. Louis. This is the largest show in the Midwest. After looking at it several times and knowing its history, I fell in love with it."
The original body restoration was performed by Paul Benson of Cuba. The 'Cuda also features a 440 bored .030 over. It has 10:1-compression pistons, aluminum rods, and a Six-barrel intake, with otherwise stock components. Roger's car has front disc brakes and Rallye wheels, and his 727 Slap Stick automatic goes to a 3.91-gear, 8 3/4 rear. The 'Cuda also has its factory rear sway bars.
"Twenty minutes before we...
"Twenty minutes before we left on the morning of the Power Tour, Jason was taking off the last of the masking tape from painting the stripes on the hood."