The '65-vintage V-8 fender...
The '65-vintage V-8 fender badges are the only side trim bits on Paul's Sport Satellite.
Further additions revolved around an ACCEL electronic fuel-injection system, which uses '96 Neon 24 lb/hr injectors with prototype fuel rails from Ross Machine Engineering. "I worked with them because there's a fundamental flaw with the original [Magnum] fuel system," Paul says. "Chrysler feeds the driver-side bank of injectors from the fuel pump in the tank, and then they use a very skinny hose to go between the fuel rail on the driver's side to the one on the passenger side. So when you fire up the engine, cylinder numbers five and seven fire. When they fire, the whole pressure in the rail drops momentarily, and then they want to fire cylinder number two, which is as far away as you can get from that spot. So the fuel pressure drops over there, and that cylinder always ends up lean." The fuel rails, prototyped on Paul's Sport Satellite, cured the number two cylinder starvation problem.
Paul has plenty of good words for ACCEL's tech staff, who's been most helpful on this project. "We've worked with them for two years, and we're still working with them and learning from each other. Most of the time people put those systems in, and they're trying to make power. This was the first time that someone was absolutely serious about improving fuel mileage and drivability first." Paul also notes that because ACCEL didn't make a wiring harness for fuel-injected Mopars, he adapted (with a lot of work) one of their universal harnesses to fit his 340 Magnum.
The 340 Magnum/Richmond gear...
The 340 Magnum/Richmond gear five-speed powertrain are best appreciated in motion. There's plenty of power under the big pedal-and plenty of fuel left in the tank when you get home!
Downstream, there's a RAM clutch assembly, a Hurst-shifted Richmond Gear five-speed, and a 2.94-geared, Sure Grip-equipped "742" rearend.
The chassis got the combination resto/modification treatment, with an eye toward shaving off weight wherever possible. That meant Wilwood discs replaced the heavy 11-inch iron drum brakes at all four corners, Magnum Force tubular control arms on the front suspension, and OEM-style torsion bars and leaf springs. Steering is done with a rebuilt non-power-assisted original steering box.
Inside the cabin, the stock split front bench went out, replaced by a pair of heated '96 Chrysler Sebring buckets, with the stock rear bench retained, all upholstered in silver-grey leather by Better Leather in Lutz, Florida. Redline Gauge Works rebuilt the in-dash gauges, while Paul added an oil-pressure gauge on the original column-shifter tab. Interior features include a console with dual cupholders, plus an Alpine AM/FM/XM Satellite receiver with CD player in the dash.
The '96 Sebring buckets fit...
The '96 Sebring buckets fit just right and are ideal for long-distance (e.g., Hot Rod Power Tour) cruising or local around-town runs.
With all the upgrades, and even with additions like power front windows and the Sebring buckets, Paul's Sport Satellite weighs about 200 pounds less that it did before the project started.
What's it like to drive? Very good, thank you. "I can take it out of first gear, put it into fifth, take my foot off the clutch, and the car will accelerate without complaint, and that's all torque," Paul says. Does it sound like a car built for cruising? You bet! "It was meant to cruise. At that time, I was trying to get 18-20 mpg on the highway and 15 or better in town, and we did better than both of those [targets]," says Paul. "if we had to do it all over again, we would have built the engine just a little differently, and we would get more out of it; there's more left [in it]. We'd actually increase the compression again, ever so slightly, and we'd do a couple more things differently."
"It's not a show car. It's nice, but it's not perfect," Paul adds. "Actually, I drive it to work, to shopping centers, fast-food restaurants-it goes everywhere. It's got regular car insurance on it, not antique."
Does he have any advice for someone looking to make a "Frankenstein-ish" Mopar cruiser like his? "The trick is working the fuel injection, and the guys at ACCEL can help you with that," Paul says. "There are some things in the short-block that we don't give away. there's some 'magic' in the short-block. A lot of people say that you can't find horsepower or performance in the short-block. The reality is, you really can if you look hard enough."