To get that lower-than-low...
To get that lower-than-low look, Hot Rods by JSK raised the front subframe into the body, along with the floorpans and trunk floor so nothing under the car is below the bottom of the rocker panels.
JSK installed the 6.1 Hemi...
JSK installed the 6.1 Hemi on a Magnumforce Racing tubular K-frame. They made a fresh air-intake system that meets the hood at the Power Bulge's factory scoop locations, which made them functional.
Auto Meter gauges and a Billet...
Auto Meter gauges and a Billet Specialties steering wheel mounted on a tilt/telescope column highlight the Challenger's cabin.
Although they resemble the...
Although they resemble the factory taillights, JSK fabbed up a set of flush-mount lenses.
Where have you seen this style...
Where have you seen this style of gas filler door before? A lot of pickup trucks use this same aftermarket filler door. Now you know.
The first two years of the E-Body Dodge Challenger have received scads of attention by restorers and customizers alike. That's thanks in part to the engines on the option list that included the 426 Hemi and 440 Six Pack, and the relatively high production number (76,935 total) of the '70 model.
But that doesn't mean the '72-'74s are less worthy of consideration, especially by customizers. In particular, the '72--unhampered by 5-mph bumpers that first appeared on the '73--makes an ideal showcase for the skills of a custom fabricator. Such is the case of this one built by Hot Rods by JSK.
Believe it or not, this is the first-ever Mopar done by the Cumby, Texas, shop. Before it, a procession of tricked-out and high-zoot street rods showed off the handiwork of Jeff Kinsey and his crew.
This car was built for Paula Blake of Royce City, Texas. "She had a Challenger in high school, and she wanted us to build one for her," Jeff says.
But this E-Body project wasn't a remove-and-replace restoration thanks to the extensive fabrication work done during the 19-month build. "There's lots and lots and lots of body mods to that thing that are so subtle, you wouldn't know until you see the car," Jeff says with pride, noting this car was essentially built around its 6.1L Hemi engine.
How subtle are the mods? Well, you may not see them at all unless a stock '72 is parked next to it.
Jeff tells us, "We raised the floorpans up into the car 3-1/2 inches, and we cut the air plenum and everything out from underneath the dash. Next, we put in our own firewall, inner fenderwells, and core support. We raised the [trunk] floor area over the rearend up 51/2 inches, and we sunk the battery in the floor of the rear side of the trunk. We also made rock shields and a semi-belly pan from the rear valance to the back of the rear wheels. We continued by making the wheelwells, our own exhaust cutouts in the rear valance, and our own exhaust tips. Finally, we made our own taillight lenses and flush-mounted the taillights."
And that's not the half of it. The hood and engine bay got at least as much attention before the 6.1L Hemi engine went in. Jeff says, "There's a lot of metal work in the front of that car. We made all our own airboxes that hold the K&N filters and all the tubes going to the engine from the now functional hoodscoops." The engine and five-speed automatic, plus a Magnum Force front suspension, sit on a fabricated subframe that's 31/2 inches higher into the body than stock. all the raised floors and structural members mean nothing hangs down below the pinch welds on the bottom of the rocker panels. Not the 3-inch exhausts, not the parking brake cable--nothing!
The subtle-yet-extensively-fabricated mods continue inside, where a custom console looks original, but is far from it. "You'll notice that it looks factory, but it's all handmade metal," says Jeff, who adds, "We built the instrument cluster and all the trim pieces on the dash." A '77 Cadillac tilt-telescope steering column replaced the original unit, while an '06 Cadillac shifter went in the console to stir the five-speed automatic. It's flanked by a pair of custom buckets from Interior Supply & Services (ISS) in Ft. Worth, with houndstooth-and-leather upholstery by Murphy, Texas' Sean Cook.
When we last talked to Jeff, the Challenger was set to appear at Goodguys' huge Lone Star Nationals at the Texas Motor Speedway, after appearing in some earlier events around Texas, where it's already scored (at least) one Best Mopar trophy.
From the looks of it, this '72 Challenger will likely score a lot more show awards and won't be the last Mopar that Hot Rods by JSK does.