It's funny how some things that we are exposed to during our youth will stay with us for the rest of our lives. It's like a seed that gets planted within us that is just waiting for the right conditions to grow.
It started for Wayne Tunis of Alberta, Canada, when he learned to drive in his dad's '68 Fury. Then, in the summer of 1970, Wayne's dad was looking to purchase a new car, so Wayne, wanting to be helpful and hoping to influence the decision, went to the local dealer to check out the '71 models. He came back with a brochure for the GTX. Imagining himself behind the wheel from time to time, Wayne thought the Hemi option would be extremely cool but, figuring that dad would never go for that, suggested the 440 instead. Dad humored him for a short while, but then went out and bought a Chrysler Newport with a 383 in it. The idea of a muscle car in the family was apparently going to have to wait until Wayne could find a way to do it himself. Nevertheless, the seed of Mopar high performance was planted.
A few years later, while he was in college, Wayne managed to pick up a '69 340, four-speed Swinger to use as a daily driver. This both satisfied--and further fueled--Wayne's high performance desires. But college, marriage, children and establishing his professional career all still had priority over Wayne's Hemi dreams.
Eventually, Wayne's family and professional priorities made room for another car and he bought a freshly done '71 Hemi 'Cuda convertible replica. The car was (and still is) a lot of fun, but Wayne had some difficulty with it always being considered someone else's car. Besides, as Wayne said, "I began to lust after a little more power.
By this time, Wayne was missing the Dart he used to have so he began considering an original L023 car. During his search, he found Muscle Car Restorations in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, where owner John Balow planted another seed into Wayne's life. Namely, to build a faithful replica of the race Hemi Dart but add enough modern technology to make it streetable, fun, and much safer to drive. The results far exceeded anything that he could have hoped for from the GTX he wanted his dad to buy.
The carbon fiber dash is an...
The carbon fiber dash is an exact replica of the original including the A/C vents except of course for the Auto Meter gauges in a fiberglass panel. With Konig V racing seats, a Stroud harness, a full custom roll cage, a custom console, a tilt wheel, A/C, and a state of the art Pioneer sound and DVD system, Wayne has the best of everything; beautiful, fast, safe, and comfortable.
While most of us would be more than satisfied with a 650 HP 5-speed Hemi Dart, there is a principle of life that causes whatever we feed to grow. Wayne had definitely fed his high performance Mopar desires, so there was still one thing that he didn't realize he was still craving and that was a great handling Mopar. Also, the classic car with modern technology seed hadn't fully developed yet.
As it turns out, John knew of a '72 Pro Touring 'Cuda project that he thought might interest Wayne. The idea was to marry the very best of modern technology with classic Mopar styling to produce the ultimate street 'Cuda. Of course Wayne was on board but with one caveat: It had to have a Hemi. Fortunately, the 6.1 liter version had recently been released and MCR was able to convince PFC Enterprises to let them have one of the earlier castings. PFC also provided the AEM computer and wiring harness. An intercooled Paxton supercharger was also deemed necessary to help provide real Hemi power levels. Wayne also likes to really "drive" his cars so only a manual transmission would do. A Keisler prepped Viper 6-speed fills the bill nicely with enough gear to rocket out of the hole and enough overdrive to achieve orbit.
Supporting the Hemi is Magnum Force tubular K-frame with QA1 adjustable shocks and coil over shocks. An MCR fabricated tubular four-link suspension carries a Mitler Brothers sheet metal 8 rear housing, filled with a 3.55 geared rear end. Stainless Steel Brakes disc brakes promise to bring the 'Cuda back to earth when the ride on the Weld Legacy 18x12 and 18 x 8 wheels is over. Tires are Proxes RA1 335/30 and 225/40, respectively. Also underneath is a full tti 3-inch exhaust with long branch Hemi headers.
Between the wheel tubs and...
Between the wheel tubs and the Pioneer sound, this is what's left of the back seat.
The bodywork was of course handled by MCR but it goes much further than a full restoration. Extensive use of carbon fiber parts not only remove a lot of weight from the car, their ultra high tech look perfectly fits the entire theme of the car. MCR hand fabricated the hood, deck lid, and rear spoiler as well as the entire dash and from carbon fiber. The hood is based on the AAR design but MCR enlarged the scoop and made it fully functional complete with an air box that perfectly mates with a filter box behind the Paxton. The front valance was even wrapped with carbon fiber so the fiber stripe would extend all the way to the leading edge of the car. PPG 1970 Lemon Twist paint practically glows in late afternoon light. Phoenix Graphics produced the custom 6.1-liter Hemi hockey stripe.
It looks a little tight but...
It looks a little tight but actually, this Paxton supercharged and intercooled 6.1 liter Hemi fits very nicely in this 35-year-old engine bay. The installation is super clean.
Once strapped into the leather wrapped Konig V Racing seats with the 5-point Stroud harness, Wayne can monitor a full array of Auto Meter gauges while his hands grip a carbon fiber weave Grant steering wheel and throw a carbon fiber wrapped pistol grip shifter. Also inside is a complete MCR built roll cage that helps to tie together and strengthen the entire chassis of the car. Environmental control is provided by a Classic Auto Air A/C conversion. And, in the unlikely event that Wayne is ever bored with the sound of 518 rear wheel horse power, he has enough Pioneer sound system power to practically blow the windows out of the car.
So, will this Hemi finally satisfy Wayne's desire for Mopar Performance? Well, not yet anyway. The two of them are still getting acquainted with one another. Right now this thing has more capability than Wayne has nerve but we suspect that he will narrow that gap rather quickly.
The hood scoop is modeled...
The hood scoop is modeled after the AAR version but has been enlarged and made fully functional.
'72 Plymouth 'Cuda
Engine: Chrysler 6.1 liter Hemi Paxton supercharged with intercooler. Max boost is about 10 pounds. AEM computer controls every aspect of engine operation and can be tuned for long trips on pump gas or max power with racing fuel. The 518 RWHP was produced with premium unleaded. MCR is not saying much about the rest of the engine build except to say that custom pistons were necessary to handle the boost, and that this thing really likes boost. TTI long branch headers and a complete 3-inch exhaust system allow this thing to properly exhale.
There is a lot going on out...
There is a lot going on out back. You can see more SSBC brakes, including an emergency caliper, more QA1 coil over shocks, a four-link MCR built suspension, a custom sway bar, and even the 3-inch exhaust and Dynomax mufflers.
Transmission: T-56 Viper 6-speed prepared by Keisler. Enough first gear to launch it hard and enough overdrive to match most anything on the Autobahn.
Rearend: Mitler Brothers sheet metal fabricated unit with an Ultimate Driveline 3.55 gear set.
Horsepower and performance: 518 horsepower at the rear wheels measured on a Mustang Dyno. Torque at the rear wheels measured 474 lb-ft.
Suspension: Magnum Force tubular K-frame and control arms with adjustable QA1 shocks and coil over shocks. MCR fabricated the mounting. The rear is controlled by an MCR fabricated tubular four-link.
Brakes: SSBC Elite all around with adjustable proportioning valve. Deceleration is actually more important than acceleration.
Wheels: Weld Legacy 18x12 and 18x8
Rubber: Proxes RA1 335 and 225
Body: This amazing restoration by Muscle Car Restorations was done in the AAR 'Cuda style. Even though the hood, deck lid and spoiler are all hand built carbon fiber parts, the body appears stock except for the hood scoop. The hood and the scoop were formed from an original AAR hood but the scoop was enlarged and made fully functional with ductwork and a filter box underneath. Even the hood frame is custom carbon fiber work. MCR even wrapped the center of the upper valance with carbon fiber so the carbon look would extend all the way to the nose of the car. Phoenix Graphics made a custom 6.1-liter Hemi stripe.
Paint: PPG base coat/clear coat 1970 Code Y1 Lemon Twist. The clear coats over the carbon fiber fabric produce an amazing amount of depth in those surfaces.
Interior: The inside of this 'Cuda is anything but stock. The dash is another hand made carbon fiber piece and is loaded with Auto Meter gauges set in a fiberglass panel. The Grant wheel is a carbon fiber weave and the pistol grip shifter is wrapped with carbon fiber and then clear coated smooth. Wayne sits in leather Konig V racing seats and gets a level of security from a 5-point Stroud harness and a custom MCR built cage.
A Pioneer DVD touch screen system controls the audio and visuals and a CD changer in the truck. The Pioneer remote and an iPod snap fit into the MCR built console.