One day it's going to happen-we'll be driving down the road, spot a little old lady in a vintage Mopar, and end up scoring a virtual cream puff. That's the thought in our heads every time we check out an old car on the road, hoping to see a Q-Tip peering over the steering wheel. It's what makes us drive through old neighborhoods trying to catch glimpses of cars in garages and backyards. It's why we always scan the classified ads, even though we can't afford another project and have nowhere to put it even if we could. One day, somewhere, somehow, we're going to be in the right place at the right time and score the dream.
The real-life tale of Terry Cox and his '64 Dodge 330 keeps that fire burning and gives us hope. Shortly after moving to California's Yucca Valley several years ago, Terry spotted this white '64 330 going down the highway with a little old lady in the driver's seat and a full laundry basket in the back. It would be a full two years before spotting the car again, this time sitting on the side of the road with a For Sale sign in the window. "I bought it on the spot," Terry said.
Special ordered originally, the car had spent its entire life in Yucca Valley, and sported a rather unique list of options: power steering, power brakes, cable-remote driver's-side mirror, day/night rear view mirror, AM radio, and rubber floor mats instead of carpeting. Powertrain options consisted of a big-block, push-button 727 automatic, and 831/44-inch rear end.
Of course, no car pushing 40 years old is without a few scars, so after Terry signed his name to the pink slip he dropped it off at Checker Flag Autobody, where he and Chris Hays worked the metal back into shape before applying the white Ditzler Deltron top coat. While the interior was in excellent condition and still retains the original copper, tan, and brown upholstery, rubber floor mat, and special "Golden Anniversary" steering wheel, the engine was another story. "When I first bought the car it didn't sound right," Terry said, "and after a complete teardown, the engine was too far gone to be saved." In its place is a 440 HP motor from a '67 Charger that's been fitted with .030-over Keith Black Signature Series pistons and 906 heads, giving a final compression ratio of 11.7:1. Hard parts include Manley oversized valves, Harlan Sharp roller rockers, a Crower .515 intake/.518 exhaust lift cam and severe-duty lifters, Mallory Unilite ignition, 9-quart oil pan and a Mopar Performance M1 intake topped with a Holley carb.
"The exhaust system was the hardest part of putting it back on the road," Terry told us. At the time he built it, there were no headers available that tucked up out of harm's way or didn't go through the inner fenderwells, so "with the help of Tommy Crawford Exhaust Systems, we made tuned equal-length headers and a completely mandrel-bent 3-inch exhaust system. Tommy was very helpful with my car, and very patient, too."
The original '64 transmission was replaced with a '65 unit in order to eliminate the '64's trunion-style driveshaft yoke, while the front pump was replaced with a later style to accept a more modern torque converter. Out back, the original tapered-axle style 831/44 was swapped for a modern unit that's been narrowed 4 inches, filled with Strange axles, 4:10 gears, and hung on the original leaf springs. Koni shocks at all four corners, PST front and rear sway bars, and Crager wheels sporting 3.5x15 and 275-60-15 BFGoodrich rubber round out the package.
What can we say; some guys have all the luck. But we don't hold it against them, because the more stories like this we hear, the more reasons we have to keep driving down the alleys and scanning the classifieds, waiting for the clich to come rolling into our lives.