Big Hoosier tires fit inside "borrowed" '65 Coronet rear wheelwells, while a two-tone Tang
The transmission is what you'd expect to find in a top-line '63 Plymouth-the 727 TorqueFlite. Mike moved its original pushbutton control panel off of the dash, for a very good reason. "It was just too dangerous on the left-hand side," he recalls. "Sometimes, Michelle had to put her hand through the steering wheel to try to manipulate it. She was like, 'I really want the push buttons, but we can't have it there!' I went, ok!" The buttons now reside in a pod in the center of a console that Mike made. He also made the center-dash housing, located where the original radio speaker was, that now holds a set of TPI gauges.
Mike adds that Michelle also wanted power steering, which he accommodated-along with cutting the OEM Sport Fury steering wheel down and fabricating a custom horn button that centers the original horn ring. Also on the inside is the factory rear seat that has been narrowed. Plus, the stock front buckets received custom headrests before he turned the rest of the interior refinishing chores over to local custom-stitcher Steven Markley.
Outside, Mike used the front-to-rear character line that Exner's crew styled in to separate the two colors of paint-Tangerine Orange over Cool Vanilla, with both colors sprayed over a silver underbase coat.
In all, Candie was over a year in the making. But the awards were soon to come when Michelle started showing it. She really enjoys the camaraderie at the shows, and meeting people there." He adds that showing Candie has been a form of therapy for Michelle, who's been battling some serious illnesses in recent years. "So, this is kind of an escape for her to get out and about" he adds, while stating they may do more driving and cruising in it than showing it in the coming year.
What's it like driving such a sweet custom? "It's great!" exclaims Mike. "It's got good throttle response. She's driven it all over, and to surrounding towns, and it does real good. It's got an aluminum radiator in it, so it doesn't get hot in stop-and-go traffic. But if she wants to get on it, she can definitely do that as well."
Do the Brownings have any advice for those considering a Mopar project, whether or not it's an early B-Body? "Don't listen to anybody else-go with exactly what you want to do," says Mike. "I had so many nay-sayers when I started on this project, telling me not to put in the space-age-looking console in it, don't put the gauges in the center of the dash. You've got to stick to your guns and build it how you envision it."