"What started as some touch-ups turned into a full rotisserie restoration." --Steve Linthicum
Before you begin any project, it's always a good idea to give yourself a set of rules. Rule one usually revolves around your budget, but each rule after that becomes your personal preference. For Steve Linthicum, rule number two was that he wanted to buy a car that was as close to complete as possible. He knew he didn't want to get deeply involved in a restoration. Boy did he have another thing coming!
The search for Steve's car came back in 2000. "I already had a '67 383 Charger, but I wanted a 440 four-speed B-Body," he tells us. Well, as you know, this is easier said than done. To take matters to the next level, he also wanted to find one that was complete so he wouldn't have to mess around with restoring one. "It's hard to find a car with everything I was looking for: price, options, original condition, and color," he confesses. So, after several years of poor results in the search department, a detour came in the form of a beautifully restored, numbers matching, 383 four-speed '69 Road Runner. After this acquisition, he thought his search was over.
Plans got back in shape two years later at Chryslers at Carlisle when a '70 GTX caught his eye. "I saw this beautiful GTX sitting there and I must have come back to see it 20 times before the end of the show," Steve confesses. "I knew then that this was the kind of car I was looking for. Unfortunately, the car wasn't for sale."
A new search began, and this time he wouldn't settle for anything other than a GTX. It took him about a year, but he finally found the one that was right for him in Stockdale, Arizona. It was a '70 440-powered GTX with a four-speed, air grabber scoop, and it was painted FK5 Burnt Orange, which happens to be Steve's favorite color. "The restoration on the car was a couple of years old and there were some noticeable spots in the paint that needed work," he says. "It was something I could work with."
After getting the car back home, he took it to his friend Dave Vrankin who happens to restore classic cars for a living. "When I took the car to him he pointed out a couple more areas of concern," Steve says. "At his recommendation, Dave, Mike Baldwin, and myself stripped all the paint off the car to see what we were working with and it exposed all kinds of problems." His "restored car" appeared to need a lot of new metal and we were too far to turn back now. "What started as some touch-ups turned into a full rotisserie restoration."
Nothing was going as planned, so, as luck would have it, the plan to keep it stock also took a turn. Since Dave specialized in restomods and hot rods, Steve decided to exploit his talents and add a custom flair to the GTX to match his taste. After three years and 600 hours of body, paint, and assembly, Steve's GTX was finally to the caliber he was hoping for.
As with any project, there are bumps in the road. Unfortunately for Steve, what he thought was a turnkey, ready-to-go car ended up snowballing into a three-year project. He's entirely satisfied with the time, effort, and money it took to bring the vision to life because it's not every day someone legitimately has the dream car, built their way. It just took a little bit of rule-breaking to bring this masterpiece to fruition.
A ’70 B-Body never had a gauge...
A ’70 B-Body never had a gauge or clock mounted to the console, but Steve adapted this Auto Meter cluster to fit in that location, and it looks great.
There is no shortness of cool...
There is no shortness of cool things to look at under this well-executed engine bay: a March Performance pulley system, polished aluminum radiator, and body-color six-pack air cleaner setup.