Scott Sprague of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is one of those true car guys. No matter what, he has to have a car to play with. Case in point-it's 1995, Scott is 27 years old and finds a '72 'Cuda sitting in the desert of New Mexico. Within two months, he was able to replace the interior, install a 440 under the hood, and even slam it into a parked car the very day he got insurance on it. He found out early that having a substantial amount of horsepower, a fairly steep gear in the rearend, and down shifting into Third gear while traveling too fast has an adverse affect on the ability to control a car. after a short period of musclecar ownership (the aforementioned two months), he now had to decide how to replace it.
That leads us to the Coronet you see here . . . yes, we said Coronet. Just because it doesn't have the badging of a car that was marketed as a performance model like the Super Bee, doesn't mean that it can't end up that way.
After extensive remodeling of the 'Cuda's body panels and frame structure, the engine was removed and sold for its parts. Scott and his wife, Missy, couldn't go long without a car to enjoy, and it was actually Missy who found the Coronet in a local Auto Trader magazine. the car was in Coraopolis, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Pittsburgh, and as luck would have it, only about a block from Missy's grandmother's house. It was a one-owner car, and after the elderly woman that owned it passed away, her son decided to sell it. They were able to buy it for $3,800.
The car only had 23,000 original miles on it, but one side of it had been repainted in 1971. Apparently, the lady scraped the side while pulling it into her garage, and the paint on that side of the car didn't exactly match the rest. Other than that, the car still had everything intact and was factory original.
The Spragues took it home and drove it for the next year or so with the 318 in it. Finally, Scott had enough of the small-block, so he yanked it out and put the 440 from his former 'Cuda into it. He built another 727 for it and put 4.56 gears in the rear.
Now he felt better, and with this combination, it ran 11.80 in the quarter. It was driven for about 20,000 miles-including 400-roundtrip miles to the Mopar Nationals-in this configuration.
When October 2005 rolled around, Scott decided the Coronet needed a new look. Todd McKillop of Pittsburgh was charged with the task of smoothing the metal and applying the Electric Lime Green paint (a newer Jeep color). It only took about two months to get the body painted with Scott helping as much as he could after work and on weekends. After the paint was applied, the car was taken back to his house for the reassembly. Like all good plans, he had an addition to his. He felt the engine also needed an upgrade to go with the freshly painted body. His friend Jerry donated a set of Edelbrock Performer heads to the cause, and during the winter of 2005, a 493-inch wedge was put together.
Jim Pranis was in charge of helping Scott get the 493-inch wedge to propel the Coronet to
When spring arrived, Scott and the gang hurried to finish the reassembly before the weather got nice. it took until July 2006 to complete, but just in time to drive it to the Mopar Nationals.
When Scott returned home from the event, he decided to test the car at the local dragstrip. After installing a set of Hoosier Street Slicks loaned to him by friend, Dave Furedy, he was able to manage a 1.49 60-foot time and a very impressive 10.95 quarter-mile e.t. with a trap speed of 120 mph.
So what's the moral of this story? Just because a car may not be badged a musclecar, doesn't mean that it isn't hiding its muscle. Scott will be proving that fact at the '07 Hot Rod Pump Gas Drags when he goes in to do the Mopar fans proud.