We get to hear a lot of reasons why somebody built their car. Kasimere McManus has one of the best yet. Before he started driving, he heard somebody fire up an In-Violet small-block 70 Cuda one afternoon, and he was smitten. Hey, we all know that rumble. Soon after, he was able to buy the 73 Challenger Rallye seen here and begin making noise himself. One of the younger set (hes 20 years old), McManus spends his days working as a mechanical designer for Mack Trucks; on his weekends and evenings, the Dodge gets his attention.
The car is nice in and of itself. Numbers-matching, its one of about 30,000 Challengers built in 1973, this one originally equipped with the 340 V8 and the Rallye package. It became McManus labor of love for the next several years while doing most of the work himself to get it to the condition its in today. For people who think young guys are doing only imports these days, that 340s roar is ample proof there is no replacement for displacement.
After being his regular transportation to school for a year and a half, Kas, his father Kasimere Sr., and friend Scott Packer took the car off the road and began a full restoration. After pulling the driveline out and stripping it down to a shell, it went to Carpers Auto Body where the Penn Salt rear quarters were replaced with virgin metal, and the remaining panels reconditioned for a new coat of Y3 Curious Yellow paint, following up this work with semigloss black applied to the undercarriage. A new vinyl top and strobe stripes rounded out the trim package, accented by the Rallye options that were standard for the 73 model year.
Once back home, work began on the interior. Using pieces from Year One and Legendary, it was retrofitted back to basic stock with the exception of a set of yellow RJS five-point belts and Auto Meter gauges. At the same time, the shocks were upgraded with new Gabriels; a set of Comp Engineering frame connectors tied the body together, and BFGoodrich radials mounted on Weld wheels hung on all four corners. With the stock disc-brake option already in place, a rebuild was all the slow-down system needed.
Meanwhile, the 340 had been turned over to Northern Performance and received significant enhancements. Popped out by .030 inch, into the short-block went a balanced forged crank, 12.5:1 TRW pistons, Mopar Performance rods, and an Ultradyne mechanical camshaft with over .580 lift. The remainder of the valvetrain consists of parts from Ultradyne, Ray Barton, Crane, and Manley. A set of mildly ported Dodge 915 340 heads top off the engine, which gets fuel via a Victor 340 intake and a fat Holley 850 carburetor. Once in the cylinders, an MSD ignition outfit using the 6AL box sparks it off, with DynoMax headers sending it toward the free-flowing muffler setup. The combination is good for 7,000 rpm and makes somewhere in the area of 400hp at the flywheel. On the Mopar Muscle-sponsored Dynotech dyno at Carlisle this summer, the machine showed that it had almost 300 horses at the rear wheels, and the fresh engine was still breaking in!
The rebuild on the 727 was handed off to B&F Auto, and now uses a 3,500-stall TCI converter and a rebuilt stock valvebody. At the other end of the driveshaft, Auburn Posi supplied the Sure Grip, which keeps power to the ground through a 4.10 Richmond gear, and a pinion snubber on the 8¾ housing helps plant the tires.
It took over 11 months to complete, but the effort was well worth it. Kas gives a lot of credit to both his dad and his mom (Jane) for putting up with the space-consuming rebuild effort. Not only is the car turning heads in Quakertown, Pennsylvania, the Challenger took home a Second Place award at the 99 Carlisle All-Chrysler Nationals and a Hot Rod Power Tour Award of Excellence. This year at Carlisle, it took Third Place, a Celebrity Pick honor from Diane Ferro from Totally Auto Inc., and the Mopar Muscle Next Generation Award. Not bad; not bad at all...