THE SECOND REBIRTH (2005-????)
The car's been blessed with garage living for most of it's life and only endured a minor fender-bender and a few dents and dings in the 22 years that I've owned it, so it's remained realatively rust-free, but it needed work to be show-worthy.
She was Viper blue when she was rolled into the shop, but the shade will be lightened just a little by adding more pearl. There will be a few custom touches added. The hood black-out will be painted, the bumpers tucked in and a different DODGE emblem on the rear.
These pictures were taken before I stripped her down to a shell. As I said, it looked great from 20 feet but up close, it was a crappy paint job. Drips or thin paint along the bottom surfaces and waves in the panels.
September 2005, on the way to the body shop.
The car was being reworked by Mike West at A-Team collision in Marietta, GA. It was sent to the shop on Sept. 26, 2005, with a promise of 4-5 week turn-around. I had expected it back in time to have it reassembled by Thanksgiving for the Turkey Run in Daytona, but that was not to be. After 5 1/2 months of watching it mostly sit and collect dust and listening to a lot of BS. I decided to call it quits with them and liberated my car from their clutches. Words to live by. "Dont Ever Pay in Advance!" and if your in the Atlanta, GA area, think twice about doing business with Mike West and A-Team Collision. I was lucky since I got everything but my front windshield and trunk lock back, but many others who had their car there got screwed. A-Team's now out of business and I was told by a former employee that Mike is/was in jail.
Here's some of the crap we discovered from the earlier repair work. Overall, there weren't many surprises with rust. (Of course, I hadn't taken a good look at the frame yet! Check out page 6.)
We did find that there was a scary amount of stress damage done by too much torque on the passenger side, so a little straightening was needed and AutoRust torque boxes and Mopar subframe connectors have been installed. That should stiffen things up.
We also discovered lead at each door sill under the factory paint. Apparently the body had been damaged at the factory prior to assembly or they used lead fill standard where the quarter panel meets the rocker.
The engine compartment was smoothed out and misc. holes filled where no longer needed.
Here's the mock-up of the rear logo using a modern logo from an Intrepid.
The wheels are Hot Wheels "68" style wheels with Nitto 555 rubber. 17x8 w/ 245/45-17 front and 17x9 w/ 275/40-17 rear. The rear needed a 5/16" shim to compensate for the 24mm offset. With 0 offset I was hitting the fender opening.
New rear wheel and comparision with old 295/50-15 which hit the fender. ( Man, I wish they still made the Cragar Gambler wheels and in 17". I think they still look great! )
Here's how it's looked after 4 months at the body shop. Finally into the paint booth!
The first hint of the color.
After I get someone to finish the body work, it will be the interior and then the suspension. The interior was redone in the 80's and looks quite dated as a result. (Anybody remember when diamond tuck was cool!?) I'm going non-stock for the seats since they don't make buns for 73 seats and they were uncomfortable anyway. No support and little adjustment. Maybe someday I'll have the panels covered in leather as well, but that's way on down the road.
I originally had seats from a '93 Mazda MX6 to use, but Katzkin doesn't make a kit for them since they were originally leather. Apparantly the headrests are different. So I've gotten seats from a Nissan 240SX instead. They will be recovered in leather with suede inserts and a R/T logo embroidered in the seat-backs. They fit well and the brackets should be simple to fabricate. The rear will be customized to blend with the panels and recovered in leather as well.
I've already done a complete rewire with a Ron Francis kit, installed a killer sound system and have a new Sanden powered AC system, alarm system with power doors ready to go. As for the suspension, I'm looking at the Baer or Wilwood brake systems and upgrading all the bushings to poly.
New Fuse Box.
The motor's been fully freshened up, even though it only had about 4000 miles put on it since it was rebuilt 15 years ago. Carbon build-up and leaks abounded since it sat so much. I can't wait to see what she'll do with the new heads, cam and exhaust. It's specs are forged alum. pistons with a 9.2/1 comp. Comp. Cam - CRB XE274H-10 pushing Rhodes lifters with Crane roller rockers on top of Edelbrock alum. heads with Edelbrock intake and Carter carb. Mallory lights the mix and exhaust is Hedman Elite ceramic coated headers with 1 3/4" primaries and a 3" Flowmaster pipes and mufflers. I got useful info. on the Edelbrock aluminum heads and the cam from Mopar Muscle magazine articles. I'm hoping for 480-500 HP and 500 lbs. of torque. Should be doable. We'll see.
The newly freshened mill, waiting for a proper home.