Back in his August, 2010 "Off The Line" column, Editor Bolig invited you to send in the pictures and stories of the Plymouths, Dodges, Chryslers, and other Mopar-built rides that you've owned for the past decade or so, and have no plans to ever get rid of.
We got a lot of great stories and photos, which we'll share with you below. We also got some stuff that we couldn't use-either the photos were too small or too blurry, or were printed out by a home computer (and don't scan very well, per our art department). Some folks sent in pictures of Mopars they no longer have, ignoring what Randy said in his column ("We don't need images of cars you used to own, just the ones you own and have owned a while-let's say at least ten years.")
So, here are the stories and pictures that your fellow Mopar Muscle readers sent in of their long-term rides.
Who: Albert Carter
Where: Farnham, Virginia
What: '69 Plymouth GTX hardtop
Albert purchased his 1969 Plymouth GTX back on July 7, 1969 from Richmond Chrysler-Plymouth in Richmond, Virginia, a car that carried a $4,124.00 sticker price. The R4 Red B-Body was fitted with the standard powertrain for the GTX back then-a 440 Magnum backed by a 727 Torqueflite automatic, with 3.23 gears out back.
From that day until 1990, this GTX was Albert's daily driver before he parked it and did a full-on restoration, which he completed in 2004.
Albert adds that his GTX is still a numbers-matching car that's never been raced (though he says he's made quite a few tire burnings/fast take-offs with it over the years). And, he adds, it has just over 300,000 one-owner miles on it!
Who: Chris Holley
Where: Montgomery, Pennsylvania
What: '69 Dodge Dart Swinger Custom
From Driver to Drag-Ready
When Chris saw this Swinger advertised for sale in 1989, he found a 340 under the hood instead of an OEM 318 or Slant 6. It also had a set of chrome Lakewood traction bars, and the exterior chrome had been shaved off and its holes welded shut.
Since then, Chris' Dart has gone through a lot of changes. The brakes have gone from factory drums to the current Wilwood four-wheel disc set-up. He's replaced the stock 904 Torqueflite (and rebuilt that replacement 904 at least once), and the 340's been rebuilt while keeping the same block, heads and crank. Right now it has Edelbrock aluminum heads, an MSD/Mopar electronic ignition, and the same Mopar Direct Connection camshaft that he put in during his first rebuild in 1990.
He replaced the bumpers, hood and front fenders with fiberglass ones from U.S. Body Source, and he had it painted white basecoat/clearcoat back in 1993. Underneath, in back, it's got split mono leaf springs, Caltrac traction bars and Rancho shocks. In front, a used pair of Slant 6 torsion bars and 90/10 drag shocks let the Dart's weight transfer rearward on takeoff. Chris says that its best in the 1/4-mile is in the mid-11's at 115 mph.
Chris says that he still has the same feeling about the Dart that he had the first day he drove it home. It's been part of his life since he was a kid, moving with him every time he did, and always garaged. It's provided him with his own personal automotive education-a rolling physics lab, test bed, and a source of joy for countless hours that could never be replaced with anything else. Everybody that knows him knows about the Dart, and they know he's keeping it forever!
Who: George Sarno
Where: Elmira, New York
What: '72 Plymouth Duster
Family Cruiser-By George!
George ordered his Duster new in late 1971, a year after he got out of the service, choosing the base model over the Duster 340 for insurance (and newly-married/family) reasons, and choosing just about every item he could on the '72 Duster option sheet except for bucket seats and a console. It was his family's daily driver until an accident in June of '92 led to him restoring it.
The Duster received new quarters, plus a lot of new parts up front--hood, grille upper grille support, lower grille panel and front bumper. The 318 got its share of attention, gaining a stock 340 intake manifold and a 600 cfm Edelbrock four-barrel, electronic ignition and dual exhausts (using the stock 318 manifolds).
George says that he's tried to keep it looking as stock and original as possible, and he's succeeded. He says that it runs and handles great, is fun to drive, and he's shown it in local events in and around Elmira and New York State's Southern Tier, as well as at Chryslers at Carlisle (twice).
He says that he'll pass it on someday...but not just yet.
Who: Bob O'Keefe
Where: Lenoir, North Carolina
What: '74 Plymouth 'Cuda 360
Back in October of 1973 when he was just a year out of high school, Bob put down a deposit on a new '74 'Cuda 360. In January, the dealer told him that the E-Body cars were being discontinued and the one he'd ordered was not going to be built, but they'd try and locate one for him. In late March of 1974 (a few weeks after Ma Mopar ended E-Body Challenger/Barracuda production for good), one was found at a dealer in Tennessee that had the 360 and four-speed Bob wanted, as well as TX9 Black paint which was Bob's first choice. He drove it daily through the '70s, putting over 100,000 miles on it, before parking it when family and financial pressures got bad in 1981 (but not so bad that he considered selling it).
Bob says that he's promised this car to his daughter when he's gone, which he hopes won't be for a long time yet.
Who: Ron Crandell
Where: Hilton, New York
What: '66 Dodge Charger
273? What 273?
Ron's Charger is a "coulda/woulda/shoulda" car that he bought in July of 1967 (for $2,599 + NY State taxes) and has kept all along. Right now, its odometer is showing just 16,600 original miles.
It wasn't until 2003 that Bob started the restoration work on his 'Cuda, but other family health and financial problems have kept him from finishing the job. He hasn't done the final paint and bodywork yet, and the bumpers are off for re-chroming, but what Bob's done makes this last-year E-Body look as good as it did when it rolled out of Hamtramck Assembly.
And, yeah, it's got a Hemi-it's one of 250 Hemi, four-speed Chargers built in 1966.
For more than a few years, Ron had "273" fender badges on it, because he was sick and tired of everyone wanting to look under the hood and see the Hemi. (If he'd charged admission to see it, New York State probably would've taxed it!)
The hood and C-pillars are the only places on the body that have seen new paint sice the Charger was new-the hood got new Bright Red paint plus a scoop, while the rear roof pillars were painted in lace by two friends of Ron's back in 1969 (who are stil friends with Ron to this day!)
The Hemi has only had two sets of spark plugs in it, and the interior is all original and in great condition. Except for the tires, wheels, battery (and the hood scoop and lace-painted C-pillars), this Charger's original, including the factory "spoiler" on the trunk lid.
The picture of Ron and his son was taken back on Easter Sunday of '68, and you can see the "273" fender badge on the Charger.
Who: Dean Oellig
Where: Grantville, Pennsylvania
What: '64 Plymouth Barracuda
Dean's daughter Christine saw Randy's column and thought of her father, a Mopar owner/builder and collector since his teenage years, and a longtime Mopar Muscle reader.
Per Christine, Dean's favorite is this '64 Barracuda, his first car. When he bought it, it was primer gray with a drag racing history, a 340 under the hood, the OEM pushbutton 904 Torqueflite, and a set of fenderwell headers. Dean's replaced the original transmission with a console-shifted 727, plus he swapped in an 8 3/4-inch rear end from the same '71 Duster that yielded the 727.
Dean loves doing bodywork and painting (so says Christine), so the early 'Cuda got a coat of yellow paint with an orange "up and over" stripe on the C-pillars and roof. He also rounded out the rear wheelwells and slightly flared the quarters around them.
Other addiditions/changes include a set of 273 exhaust manifolds replacing the fenderwell headers (to get the car legal in PA), Cragar S/S wheels, a pair of Gabriel "HighJacker" shocks in back (and the sticker that came with them to the dash), padding and shag carpet on the back of the flip-down rear seat-and Dean's graduation tassel, in place on the rearview mirror since the day he graduated.
Christine adds, "Nothing can replace the car shows, car meets, and long rides as a family this car has given us. I can only hope this car will be passed on to my sister and I, who would love to also 'Keep it Forever.'"
Who: Jason Skerratt
Where: Quesnel, British Columbia, Canada
What: '69 Dodge Coronet 440 hardtop
What do you do if you don't have an original '69 Dodge Super Bee? You go the route Jason did, and convert this barn-found '69 Coronet 440 that he's had since 1990 (bought for $600 when he was 16) into a Bee. It had to be a Bee, because his Dad had a '68 Super Bee when he was a young man, and whose 12.50-second 1/4-mile times are the stuff of family legend.
When he got it, Jason added a four-barrel to the 318 under the hood, but the major work on the car ended up taking 18 years.
Under the Six Pack-style hood is a 1977 truck 440 that's been bored .030-inch over, and built by Terry Flebbe with a forged steel crank, Eagle H-beam rods, JE pistons, Edelbrock heads, a hydraulic roller camshaft, and a 3x2-barrel carburetor setup like the late-'69 A12-equipped Bees had. Transmission's a 5-speed Tremec, with a 4.10-geared Dana 60 out back. Wheels are Billet Specialties five-spokes wrapped in Mickey Thompson rubber, and the restored body wears root beer orange paint.
This '69 isn't Jason's only Mopar, as he also has a '68 GTX, '67 Coronet 500 and a '73 Duster...and his one-time-Bee-owning Dad now has a '70 Charger 500.
Who: James Howerton
Where: Escondido, California
What: '65 Dodge Dart two-door sedan
When you see the words "Hemi" and ''65 Dart" in the same sentence, you automatically think of something inspired by "Dandy" Dick Landy, with a 426 Hemi in it. Not this time.
James found his one-owner-original Dart about eight years ago, and the first engine that he swapped in was a 360, replacing the OEM Leaning Tower of Power. But that wasn't enough for James, who's since swapped the 360 for a 5.7L Hemi (and a modern overdrive automatic) from an '05 Magnum. The go forward/go backward switch--sometimes called an "automatic transmission shifter"--on a '66 Barracuda console was adapted to work with the modern gearbox, and that same old Barracuda also yielded the console and its front bucket seats. A narrowed rear end, rear leaf springs moved inboard three inches, mini-tubs, and a Cap Auto Products tubular rack-and-pinion steering system are just a few of the chassis highlights.
Except for the hood stripes (which run across a '70 Road Runner hood center that James added on), the paint on this '65 is the original acrylic enamel.
Who: Jim Molitwenik
Where: Castlegar, British Columbia, Canada
What: '68 Dodge Charger
Another B.C. B-Body
Back in 1995, Jim saw a '68 Charger advertised for sale in a nearby British Columbia, town. He left a note on it for the owner to call if it was ever for sale. A couple of months later, he got the call, and soon after, the 383-powered, non-R/T Charger was his. It was rough. But Jim resto-modded it into the car he wanted, and could afford, over the years.
Replacing the 383 is a 440 bored .030-inch over, with a forged crank, "Six-Pack" pistons, and an Edelbrock camshaft, dual quad intake, 600 cfm carburetors and high-flow water pump. There's also an aluminum radiator and MSD ignition, and Hooker Super Comp headers flowing into a three-inch exhaust with a crossover and Flowmaster mufflers. The 440 is backed by a 727 with a shift kit and a 3,000 stall converter, with an 8 3/4-inch rear end with a 3.54-geared Sure Grip in back.
Chassis features include front disc brakes, a driveshaft loop, KYB shocks and heavy duty rear springs, plus BFG-shod Cragars. Inside, other than an aftermarket tach and a Grant steering wheel, the cabin is stock '68 Charger.
Jim says the Charger is still a thrill to drive every time-and it makes him feel 20 years old again when he does. He can set the carbs' progressive linkage to give 16 mpg on cruises, and he can drive it in 100-degree-plus weather with the coolant temperature not going over 180 degrees.
Who: Ron Wright
Where: Cazenovia, New York
What: '66 Dodge Coronet 500 hardtop
The Wright Way
Ron bought his Coronet new in March of 1966, ordering it with a 383 four-barrel, four-speed, a 3.23-geared Sure Grip and a Music Master AM radio. The dealer--Penn-York Valley Motors in Sayre, PA-- was hesitant to sell it without options like power steering or power brakes, because (as Ron says) he was concerned about future trade-in value. That's something Ron wasn't worried about then-or now.
It was his daily cruiser and sometimes drag racer through 1969, with a 4.10 rear end, Hemi rear leaf springs, "915" heads and a 440 intake manifold, a Racer Brown camshaft and Jardine 4-into-1 headers going on. In 1969, Ron got married, and parked the Coronet. During the '70s, he pulled the 383 out for a rebuild, but he didn't get to it for a long time. His plan was, once his kids were out of the house, he'd resume work on his '66 again.
Ron's twin sons (pictured with Ron, above) towed the B-Body to their buddy's place in 1993, and helped him refinish the Coronet's underbody and front end. A few years later, Ron took all the key engine parts to a local machine shop. The block was bored .030-inch over and decked .030-inch, the crank was turned .010-inch under, the heads were pocket-ported and hardened valve seats installed. Ron rebuilt the engine with Clevite bearings, TRW pistons, a Crane camshaft, Melling oil pump and Cloyes double timing chain. However, excessive valve lifter preload kept the engine from running once it started, and the project was again put on the back burner.
Finally, in 2007, Ron got going again on the Coronet, and-while he and his wife were on vacation-Ron's sons towed it to their buddy's place and did a week-long thrash that got the car finished, state-inspected and registered. Ron says that after neary 40 years, it felt great to drive the Coronet on the road again.
Who: Jim Ray
Where: Moparville, USA
What: '70 Plymouth Sport Satellite hardtop
Now A Superbird
Jim's B-Body wasn't one of the 1,920 factory built Superbirds, but that didn't stop him from creating one out of the Sport Satellite that he'd owned for a long time-and was in dire need of help.
Before the Ted Janak reproduction nose cone and wing went on, off came some very-rusted steel (both rear quarters, the trunk floor and extensions, outer wheel houses), replaced by reproduction parts. In fact, Jim did everything on it except the paint and vinyl top-he rebuilt the original 383 (now bored out .030-inch) with Edelbrock Performer RPM heads, a Hughes Engines roller camshaft, a ported and port-matched Six Barrel intake and 3x2-barrel carburetors, tti exhaust system, and much more. Jim thanks his wife and family, plus CBR Service, Springerville Auto Service, Valley Auto Parts, and Nick's Classic Parts for all their help and support.
Lest you think this is the only Mopar in the garage at Jim's place, think again. He and his family also have a Max Wedge-equipped '64 B-Body, a '70 Challenger, a '67 Coronet R/T and a '69 two-seater AMX.