Ever since we purchased our ’64 Dodge Polara at the 2011 Mopar Nationals, we’ve been eager to get the project running and driving. And, while we have made progress on our B-Body, we still have a ways to go before we’re ready to go racing. We are, however, getting the car closer to being able to drive on the street, and in this month’s issue, we’ll get the windshield and rear window installed, as well as some lightweight fiberglass components from Sled City Fiberglass. With these items in place, we should be able to take our car down the road for the first time, and maybe even sneak onto the drag strip for a test pass.
When you begin a project with a basket case like we did, there are always unexpected obstacles when the car is being put back together. As we pieced our Dodge together from the boxes of parts we got with it, it was apparent that we didn’t get quite all of the items with our purchase. Don’t misunderstand, we knew this car was in pieces when we bought it, and that all of the parts may or may not be with it. We also got some cool extras like radio and shifter delete panels, keeping us from having to find those parts at a swap meet or online. We already replaced the missing 318 Poly engine and cast-iron transmission with a big-block and late model 727, but we had some other major components, like the front and rear glass, and bumpers, that needed to be installed to make our car complete.
The bumpers of a ’64 Dodge, especially the front bumper, are chromed steel, and are very heavy. We didn’t get the bumpers when we purchased our Dodge, so we had to decide whether to replace them with factory bumpers, or a lighter alternative. Sled City Fiberglass offers great, lightweight replacement bumpers made from fiberglass, so we called Larry and ordered both the front and rear bumpers for our Dodge. Eventually, this car will be a dedicated race car so any weight we can save, especially from the front of the vehicle, will help us achieve quicker elapsed times.
03 We also installed a hood and Max-Wedge style scoop from Sled City. We installed the sc
04 The hood is a pin-on design, and we opted to fasten the hood to our car using Dzus fas
05 The fiberglass parts from Sled City needed some sanding before being ready for paint.
Sled City Fiberglass also offers a fiberglass hood, which would be a good way to shave a few more pounds from the front of our Dodge. The Sled City hood is a pin-on design, and we installed the hood using Dzus fasteners and brackets that we got from Summit Racing Equipment. Dzus fasteners are easy to use, aerodynamic, and give the car a clean, somewhat modern look. To complement our fiberglass hood, we chose a Max-Wedge style hood scoop also from Sled City. Sled City offers this scoop in factory height, 5-inch height, or with a 5-inch forward height which is in-between the height of the other two scoop options.
We chose the mid-height scoop, and placed the order for our hood, bumpers, and scoop. Most of this fiberglass is made to order, so we had to be patient, but the finished product was worth the weight. Larry delivered our parts to the Mopar Nationals to save us the shipping costs, and once we were back from the show, we wasted no time installing the products. Up front, the fiberglass bumper shaves some 60 pounds from the car’s weight, and the hood and scoop were a full 50 pounds lighter than the factory hood and hinges. The rear bumper also saves significant weight, and the bumpers install using the factory bumper brackets.
Up front, the fiberglass bumper shaves some 60 pounds from the car’s weight, and the hood and scoop were a full 50 pounds lighter than the factory hood and hinges.
After fabricating our Dzus fastener brackets and locating the holes for the fasteners in the hood, we installed the hood scoop and cut a hole for fresh air to get to the carburetor. All of the Sled City parts needed some finish sanding to be ready for paint, and we spent some time blocking the parts, priming them, and then painting them. Since our car is already painted, we decided just to spray our hood in flat black, and chose silver metallic for our bumpers. Down the road we may choose to have these parts professionally refinished, but for now just getting the parts in color and installed was our priority. The rest of this project car has an average paint job, so once we decide to refinish the car, we’ll likely spend a little more time on the fiberglass and repaint it as well. With the fiberglass installed, it was time to direct our attention to the other glass, specifically the front and rear windows.
Since our car didn’t have a windshield or rear glass when we bought it, and since our eventual plans are to compete in Nostalgia Super Stock with this Dodge, we were tempted to install polycarbonate (Lexan) windows to save weight. Because this car is starting off as a street/strip vehicle, and since the original side glass is in such good shape, we decided that real glass windows would make the car a better looking, more complete, and legal as a street car. Finding windows for a ’64 Dodge is no easy task, so we called one of the leaders in Mopar aftermarket and quality used parts, Stephens Performance.
07 The front windshield uses a locking style rubber gasket, and the gasket is placed on t
08 With the front and rear glass installed, the reveal molding can be clipped into place.
Stephens stocks all types of Mopar parts, and if you need something that isn’t available new, chances are they will have it in their used inventory. The windshield for our Dodge was no big deal, and Stephens had a new windshield in stock and ready to ship. The rear glass isn’t available new, so we were fortunate that Stephens had a clean used rear glass in stock. Since the windshield and rear glass in the ’64 Dodge are installed using rubber gaskets, we got those from Stephens as well. Factory rubber window gaskets lose their flexibility with age, making the glass difficult to install. New gaskets are cheap insurance when installing the front and rear glass, ensuring the glass installs easily without breaking.
Before having our windows installed, we checked out our car’s reveal clips that hold the front and rear window molding in place, and found the rear to be intact, but most of the front clips to be missing. Since you can’t get to these clips with the windows in place, we called RT Specialties and ordered new clips for the front window. With new reveal molding clips installed, it was time to get the windows in place. We have installed windows ourselves, but this is one of the areas where we recommend professional help. If you don’t install glass on a regular basis, you may not have the tools or experience to do the job correctly. With that in mind, we called our local glass installer, Country Boy Auto Glass, to have the job done right. In about twenty minutes, the back glass was installed in our Dodge, and the trim was in place. The front glass installed easily as well, though we did need to slightly “modify” one piece of the corner trim that had been previously damaged to make it fit properly.
With our fiberglass and front and rear windows installed, our car is now in what we consider roadworthy condition, but maybe not race-ready condition. Of course, at this point we didn’t know how quick our car was going to run, but we were about to find out. We had committed to have the car at the Mopar Muscle All-Mopar Southern Nationals at South Georgia Motorsports Park over Memorial Day weekend, and didn’t get the glass installed until Thursday afternoon before the event. This gave us time for a quick trip up and down the street just to make sure the car steered correctly and the brakes worked, before loading the car on the trailer to go to the event.