A-Body Mopars are cool...but did you know that A-Bodies like Rod Plott's '73 Plymouth Scamp are an easy and affordable way to get into the Mopar hobby?
That's because Ma Mopar cranked out these hardtops by the tens of thousands way back when--no fewer than 45,000 a year from Scamp's 1971 introduction through 1974, with about 20,000-30,000 more for 1975 and 1976, including the plush Valiant Brougham two-door hardtops, which joined the Valiant line in mid-1974.
Out of those thousands, one particular '73 Scamp was sold new in Colorado, and had traveled only 91,000 miles before Rod saw it listed for sale on eBay. "It was a grocery getter when I got it, and was Honey Gold inside and out--a lazy little grandma's car," he recalls. "When I saw it on eBay, I liked the fact that it looked like it was in good condition. But it had a timing chain that went out on it, so it ended up sitting for a long time."
Goodyear-shod Foose five-spokes...
Goodyear-shod Foose five-spokes fill the fenderwells.
But the ex–grocery-getter had its good points. "It had the upgrades for 1973, like the front power disc brakes and electronic ignition," says Rod. It also had the new-for-'73 big-bolt-pattern wheels shared with the B- and E-Body cars, Torsion-Quiet Ride chassis rubberization, and ventless door glass.
When Rod got his Scamp home, any thought of keeping it 318-powered was quickly forgotten. "I'm a big fan of the '70 Dart Swinger 340," he says, "so that's what I cloned it after. The rear bumper's very similar, and there are other similarities to the Dart." The Scamp is identical to the Swinger from the A-pillars aft--the front sheetmetal, grille, and nameplates are the only visible differences between the Plymouth and Dodge versions.
In order to make a Scamp 340 out of his '73, Rod cured some of the Scamp's age-related ailments, starting with the body. He says that, thanks to its time in Colorado, away from heavily-salted roads, major surgery wasn't needed. "It didn't need to have any sheetmetal replaced," Rod says of the prepaint bodywork, which included rust repair on the lower quarters. "The car was undercoated at the factory."
Don't you wish a 340 like...
Don't you wish a 340 like this was on the option list in 1973?
Out went the stock front bench...
Out went the stock front bench seat, and in went Legendary-covered buckets. Legendary Auto Interiors also provided the reproduction rear seat covers and carpets.
Though the body was saved, the Scamp's stock powertrain and interior weren't. Because of that, into the engine bay went a 340 with an Edelbrock carburetor and intake. "I tried to get it to be like what the 340 was," says Rod of his '73's potent small-block.
Inside, the stock front bench seat came out, and period-correct buckets went in, as did Legendary Auto Interior's seat covers and reproduction carpets. Outside, PPG's two-stage FC7 Plum Crazy paint, with a white bumblebee stripe and matte black on the hood, replaced the original OEM Honey Gold acrylic enamel.
Once done, Rod had a head-turner--one that people knew was a Mopar when they saw it, but they weren't sure which one it was. "A lot of people roll down their windows and ask me questions about it, or ask if it has a Hemi," says Rod. "They've called it everything from a Charger to a Challenger to all kinds of things, but rarely do they get it right."
Rod adds, "Don't forget--good Mopar friends help make every project possible and better!" He gives special thanks to Dale Riley, Ken Gulley, and Travis Gamble for their help on his '73 Scamp 340.
'73 Plymouth Scamp
Owned by: Rod Plott, Joplin, Missouri
- Engine: Vintage 340 rebuilt by Dyn-A-Tech Engine Specialists, Galena, Kansas, with a .040-inch overbore, heads with 2.02-inch intake and 1.60-inch exhaust valves, a Mopar "Purple Shaft" Camshaft (.455-inch lift), forged steel crankshaft, Edelbrock carburetor and intake, and Doug's Headers.
- Transmission: Original column-shifted 904 Torqueflite
- Rearend: Original 8 1/4 rear with 3.23 gears
- Suspension: Original front torsion bars were adjusted to give a lower stance, while air shocks in back combine with the stock leaf springs.
- Brakes: Front disc/rear drums, with low-dust front pads (to keep the wheels clean)
- Wheels and Tires: Foose "Nitrous" wheels (17 x 7 inch front, 18 x 7 inch rear) on ultra-low-profile Goodyear tires 225/50R17 in front, 245/50R17 in back)
- Body: Original, no-rust '73 A-Body hardtop was shaved of its side marker lights and badging, and had minor rust repair done, before it was prepped for paint
- Paint: Travis Gamble sprayed on the two-stage PPG FC7 Plum Crazy paint as well as the White bumblebee stripe and blackout on the hood.
- Interior: Period-correct front buckets replaced the OEM split front bench, and all the seats wear Legendary's repro white vinyl seat covers over Legendary's 80/20 loop pile black carpets. 2000-watt sound system features a Pioneer head unit hidden in the glovebox, and second battery (in trunk).