The crowning achievement for Tom was the Silver O.E status his car achieved at the 2004 Mopar Nationals. A fitting achievement for this refined portion of our odd couple.
Bold AchievementDavid Freeman met Matt Delaney of Delaney Auto Designs at the Mopar Nats in 2000. At the time, Matt was sparking a lot of interest with his Viper-powered '68 Charger. Over the next year, the two men became good friends, and began to design a car that would follow the Charger. During that year, John Mihalopoulos came up with the idea of building a new-age-style AAR 'Cuda. John mentioned adding a few twists to the concept; an independent rear suspension and a coil-sprung front suspension were two good ideas. To power the pseudo-AAR, nothing less than a Hemi would do. Before you get all "AARs never came with a Hemi" on us, we said they were building a new-age-type car, and anything was possible.
With the basic idea outlined, it was time to locate the right parts to pull off this bold achievement. It was decided that a Heidt's Superide independent rear suspension would fit nicely. the narrowest assembly that Heidts makes fits between the stock 'Cuda framerails with some minor bracket fabricating. With the rear suspension decided on, it was time to focus on the front. An Alter-K-tion front K-member was used because of its good design, and its incorporation of the needed coil-over shock mounts as part of the kit. This eliminated the stock torsion bar front suspension, and opened a lot of area for miscellaneous items, such as headers for the Hemi. It also converted the steering to a rack-and-pinion style that would out perform any stock-style system. To make sure the 'Cuda could stop with enough force to pop your eyes out of their sockets, Wilwood six-piston calipers were installed on the front and four-piston units on the back. Aiding the brake function is a neat piece called a Hydroboost. These hydraulic brake-assist retrofit systems are designed to be a direct bolt-in replacement for your factory vacuum brake booster, or used to upgrade your factory manual brake system to power assist. Since building a machine that handles like it's on rails is a moot point without good rubber, Nitto 17- and 18-inch Z-rated tires hold on to the tarmac for dear life.
We mentioned earlier that header clearance for a Hemi was needed, and John Arruzza got the nod to build 540 ci of it. The Keith Black block is filled with goodies from companies like Stage V, Callies, Eagle, Ross, Edelbrock, MSD, Indy, and Comp Cams. Following up the Hemi is a Viper six-speed kit by Keisler Automotive Engineering.
Adding a few accessories to the 'Cuda would be needed in keeping with the modern theme. The stock gauges were revamped and updated, and the speedometer was converted to an electronic unit to work with the Viper transmission. Vintage air was installed to cool the passengers, and the custom seats were covered in black and gray leather. Hi-tech tunes are a must, so an XM Radio with Fosgate and infinity components let the tunes shake the car.