You have to love fresh meat. You know, the latest Mopar you dragged home? The possibilities are wide open. Some cynical admirers are convinced that all the sweet deals on vintage Mopar iron are long gone. It may take more persistence, quick action, and some looking, but there is metal to be found. If you're on the lookout for a specific model at a specific price, it may take some time and effort before hitting pay dirt, but patience pays off. We're not saying that enough looking will turn up a Hemi drop-top for pocket change. Keep a realistic expectation of what the dollar buys.
Having been on the prowl for a '68 Plymouth Barracuda fastback for a couple of years, when a deal came up, we didn't hesitate to buy. The ad offered a '68 fastback Plymouth at either $1,300 cash or trade. The seller was after an A-engine drivetrain for a Slant Six Dart. We had a sweet E-58 360 in a '70 E-Body and a street/strip 727 with a high-stall converter on our workshop floor. The deal was made. We yanked the small-block, rented a trailer, and hit the highway to see what we bought. We committed ourselves to the buy, sight unseen.
It may seem kind of big for a 318, but we had a 750 AFB handy. Turns out it worked great,
The '68 turned out to be what the seller described, no more and no less. It was covered in flat black primer, had a gutted interior, a 318 with a column-shifted 904, and Bondo-filled lower quarters. Most of the interior was stowed away and came with the car. Fifteen years ago we would have considered it a $400 beater. Twenty years ago there were much finer examples in the junkyards, but with the passing of time, our perspectives have changed. While we might have been concerned with paint and upholstery a decade or two ago, today we were delighted by this car's solid floors and chassis rails. The rust-free trunk floor was an unexpected bonus. That it actually ran, drove, and came with papers made it really seem like a deal.
Under Hood Attention
Although the counter read 88,437 miles, we have no way of knowing on which go-around it was travelling. The 318 appeared virgin under its greasy and grimy exterior. Unmistakable factory engine enamel and none of the obvious aftermarket gaskets peering out between the castings were the clues. We were told the factory two-barrel induction had been recently replaced with the swap meet StreetMaster intake. Since we had plenty of carbs at home, we kicked the AFB on the manifold back to the seller to aid with his Dart project, along with the engine fan. We knew it ran and actually sounded pretty sweet, despite the mild blow-by.
The messy rubber fuel line was not a good look, so out came our benders to fab-up some 5/1
The rusty waterfall cascading from the radiator tank was a clear sign of trouble. The radi
A flex fan from who-knows-what had been collecting dust on our shelf for years. As luck wo
Underneath, we found the problem-a strut rod sheared in half. As good fortune would have i
With the broken strut rod, the control arm pivot bushing took a beating. We pressed in som
While the tie rod ends seemed acceptable, we found the idler arm wasted. Here was our majo