The most aggravating part of the build came when he tried to properly align the hood. "It was extremely frustrating. I remember getting so aggravated with the hood that I could hear Gary laughing as I struggled for hours trying to get it just right." The hard work paid off as he finally made it work. Then Gary walked over and showed him how to adjust the hinges to get it just right. "I raised my voice in disgust as I wondered why he didn't show me this earlier. His response was the same: 'I had no internet or anyone to help me when I was your age. I just spent hours and days learning how it all came to be.'" The lesson was effective and absorbed, but he was still frustrated.
With the metal work done, the final design element he wanted to incorporate were the window louvers that were an option for '71. This required some fiberglass work, as at the time, no one made reproduction louvers, and to find factory louvers was not an option. Fiberglass work is another area that Rick had no previous experience in. Gary taught him the ins and outs of fiberglass work and then walked away, leaving Rick on his own to figure everything out. "I took my time and ended up forming them to perfection before I installed them."
It was finally ready for paint, and Gary let him do this on his own as well, after teaching him a few basics. "I remember standing in the paint booth shaking and Gary told me in confidence, 'I've seen you priming the car, you've got this.' And then he walked away." Before Rick knew what happened, the car was sprayed down, cleared, and ready for wet sanding.
Now, all that was left were the spoilers and decals. Again, going with the '71 theme, he installed '71-style spoilers and decals. The car was really shaping up and looking the way he wanted it to. The interior was refurbished in orange and black and features a shifter that Gary and Pam created for him as a graduation gift. The dash is now a Rallye dash, and is painted Astrotone.
Under the hood is a 360 block that his uncle Phil, builder of race engines for a local machine shop, machined for him. He brought all the parts over and they assembled the engine together so that Rick could learn. "It was a great learning experience. I learned how to dial in a cam and a timing chain and how to assemble the engine." Rick also wanted to hop-up the rear gears to 4.10 ratio, but knew it would kill his highway driving. Gary was trying to sell a Gear Vendors overdrive unit, and Rick jumped on it and installed it in the Road Runner.
The car was finally together and carried on the idea that he was going for perfectly. "I wanted to build the car as if Plymouth kept '71 styling cues on the '73 and '74 models." The marriage of these two different styles went well, and helps 25-year-old Rick's Road Runner stand out from the pack. It defies the laws of modification and traditional style and does it very well. Sometimes even law-abiding citizens break the rules.
"I wanted to build the car as if Plymouth kept '71 styling cues on the '73 and '74 models." -Rick Pellegrino
'74 Plymouth Road Runner
Owned by: Rick Pellegrino, Stoughton, MA
Long gone is the original 318. Now another small-block rests in its place. The 360 boasts a hydraulic Edelbrock cam with .488/.510-inch lift and 234/244-degrees of duration. The heads are ported and polished 340X heads with 2.02/1.60 valves, and Crane roller rockers. Fuel is delivered by a Holley 670 double pumper and the ignition is a Mopar performance system. The rest was left stock. Hooker headers and a true-dual 2 1/2-inch exhaust clear out the chambers and flow into a pair of Magnaflow mufflers out to '71 style tips in the bumper. His uncle, Phil, performed the machine work and together they assembled the engine.
Transmission: A rebuilt 727 automatic with a Gear Vendors overdrive.
Rearend: 8 3/4-inch with Sure Grip with 4.10 gears.
KYB shocks find their way on all four corners with a factory front sway bar and a Hellwig rear bar. Moog parts rebuilt the steering column.
Brakes: OEM front discs and 11-inch rear drums.
Wheels and Tires: Chrysler Rallye wheels measuring 15x8 inches. Tires are 255/60-15 front and 275/60-15 rear Goodyear Eagle GT II.
- Body: Significant modification to the bumpers, panels, and window louvers help this '74 incorporate some of the key design features of the '71 Road Runner. All bodywork was completed by Rick under the instruction of Gary Beineke.
- Paint: A modern mixture of Hemi Orange he calls EV2.
- Interior: The so-called "Halloween Interior" uses '71 panels. The dash is a '74 Ralleye dash painted astrotone and the headliner is from REM. The black carpet was sourced from Year One and the seats were recovered buckets he acquired from his uncle Phil. The steering wheel is a Grant Tuff wheel. The stereo has been upgraded to a Kenwood deck that can hook up to an iPod and uses Infinity Kappa speakers.