But that wasn't all. Mopars at the Strip was where Stephanie, at age 16, got her first chance to drive the pink 'Cuda-and where she took second place in her class in the weekend's autocross competion. Not only that, but that's where she did her first burnout, which our Kevin DiOssi captured with his camera. "I wasn't expecting the show to be that big," she says of the all-Mopar weekend whose exploits in Vegas don't stay in Vegas. "I thought it was just going to be a few hundred people, but it was a lot bigger than that."

Big as it was, there was something bigger ahead for Stephanie after the show-a nearly 1,700-mile-long trip home to Baton Rouge. "I was kind of scared at first," says Stephanie of the trip, but she was far from alone on the 27-hour straight-through trip. Her uncle accompanied her, and the rest of the family kept track of her cross-country progress. "My brother Michael and Stephanie left early on Monday morning while the rest of the family flew home to Louisiana," says Steven. "They wanted to drive back, so they drove it straight through. We were tracking them on GPS, and we were getting updates, including excessive speed notifications, as they were coming toward Baton Rouge." When they got home, there was another surprise waiting for them-a family get-together. "Most of the family had never seen the car," says Steven, "so upon their arrival we had a big crawfish boil in the backyard."

Does Stephanie or Steve have any advice for any Mopar builders to be? Steve remembers the role his grandfather played in his grandson's past, as a mentor that kept him interested in cars (Mopars, especially) and out of trouble. "My advice is to gravitate toward a family member who is into cars and do a lot of research on how to perform a project," he says. "You have to understand what your capabilities are, where to start, how much money to spend on the first project, and go from there. A lot of people have a lot of frustration when they go through this the first time, so you definitely need to read ahead and understand what you want to drive and how much of a budget you have."

Fast Facts

'72 Plymouth 'Cuda 340
Owned by: Stephanie Williams, Baton Rouge, Lousiana

Mopar Power

  • Engine: Original 340 was treated to a rebuild that included a Hughes hydraulic camshaft and lifters, an Edelbrock AirGap intake with a 650 cfm Holley on top, MSD electronic ignition, Doug's Headers and a Pypes 2 1/2-inch exhaust system with cross-over pipe, cutouts and 40-series Flowmaster mufflers.
  • Transmission: 727 Torqueflite was rebuilt with a shift kit and other goodies from Mancini Racing.
  • Rearend: 3.23-geared 8-3/4 with an open differential

Sure Grip

  • Suspension: (Front) Longitudinal heavy-duty torsion bars, unequal length A-Arms and tubular Edelbrock shocks with a front anti-sway bar (Rear) Leaf springs and tubular Edelbrock shocks with a rear anti-sway bar
  • Brakes: Restored OEM front disc/rear drum brakes, power-assisted.
  • Wheels and Tires: Chromed Rallye wheels (15 x 7 inches in front, 15 x 8 inches in back) wear BFGoodrich Radial TA's, 235/60R15 in front, 275/60R15 in back.

High Impact

  • Body: Original 1972 Plymouth E-Body two-door unibody was restored with lower rear quarter patch panels and new steel in the C-Pillars near the rear window
  • Paint: Non-original FM3 Moulin Rouge was applied in PPG basecoat/clearcoat by Uncle Mike Williams and Brian Dowdy at Golden Age Restorations, Orland, California. They also painted on the luminescent AAR-style side stripes.
  • Interior: Restored original '72 'Cuda, with new seat covers by Cleveland Upholstery, Orland, California.