Finally, Jeff threw up his hands, pulled out his old books, and built the engine himself from scratch. "By the time it was all over, I could have bought a crate Hemi," he says. But at least he had the satisfaction of building the engine himself. Jeff uses an Edelbrock Performer intake, Crane cam, and Demon 750 carb. He bored the block .030 over and had the heads cc'd by Barnes & Reese. Do you like the air cleaner? That little piece of ingenuity is from Air Inlet Systems of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.
All the hard work and frustration was rewarded in 2002 at the Bristol Bash. There, Jeff's 'Cuda took First Place in both the E-Body Modified and Pro Street categories.
The only thing (besides cc'ing) Jeff didn't do himself was the paintwork. Buddy David Boggs of Car's Best Friend in Asheville, North Carolina, coated the 'Cuda with Sublime even though the car was originally Top Banana. Jeff chose Sublime because 1970 was the only year the color was offered.
Even though the 'Cuda is now a 440, Jeff left the 383 emblems on, again going for the stock look. "It's about a 10:1 [compression] motor right now," he says. "I don't have any [timeslips] yet, but I'm hoping it can run in the mid-12s. You can't build a car like this without making some passes, but I won't run it hard because I don't want to tear it up."
Jeff wasn't so judicious as a 16-year-old, when his '70 Nova SS and later his '68 SS ragtop Camaro couldn't stand up to his pounding. When he drove his friend's rugged Road Runner, though, he was hooked. "I bought my first [Mopar] in 1975," Jeff says. "It was a '69 Road Runner, and I still have it. I have all the original parts, but it's in my basement right now waiting for the money [for a restoration]. I have had a couple others, like a '67 Satellite big-block, and I bought the '68 Coronet thinking I was going to tub it and put a big-block in it. It's like once you start with Mopars, you can't quit." We know, Jeff . . . we know.
Body: '70 'Cuda
Owner: Jeff Hornsby
Location: Weaverville, North Carolina
Engine: 456ci 440 bored .030 over with TRW pistons, Crane cam, Mopar Performance valves, Demon 750 carb, and Edelbrock Performer intake
Transmission: Cooks 727 automatic
Rear: Dana 9 3⁄4, 4.10 gears
Wheels: Stockton Rallye
Details: Tubbed; no rear seat (carpeted); eight-point 'cage; frame tied; leaf-spring shortened.