In my early years, my family owned Chrysler products. As far back as I can remember, it was a Dodge, Plymouth, or even a "cousin" DeSoto that I was riding in. Lancers, big body Dart's, Fury's and the like were the cars I remember my Mom driving, and I stayed with "Mopar" for the rest of my life in one way or another.
I played guitar and sang, and monkey'ed with cars, including quite a bit of drag racing at Lebanon Valley and Utica-Rome Dragways. That was my teen life into my early 20's.
My first car was my Mom's old 4 door 66 Belvedere. I made custom seat covers out of 2" thick blue fur, and a custom console from old couch cushion foam and white naugahyde. What a ride....My friends were "wowed" at the custom work..... From there, it just mushroomed...... custom vans in the 70's....I wish I had kept a better record of my work, but back then we didn't have "digital camera's".....we didn't even have a hand held calculator!.....No computers...No cell phones....Ahhhh, the "good ol' days".
Anyway, here's a few examples of the Mopars (and others) that I've dreamed up and built.
When I was a teen, I tried to buy a Dodge Demon 340 that caught my eye.... No one would "co-sign" for me, so I missed the deal. When I turned 50, I found a bare bones model and did a complete 340 conversion on it. Here she be.
One day about 10 years back, I was driving home from Herkimer NY, minding my own business, when I saw a faint "Mopar" glimmer out of the corner of my eye..... I quickly swung the car around, and found my next project..... A bone stock 273 '67 Barracuda in need of a restoration.....BUT, it was a rust free California survivor! We sealed the deal, and I'm still driving the car today.....Always something to tinker with, but it's a whole lot of cruisin' fun.
Here's the "Lil' Cuda"
Those are the original seat covers from 1967......Look at the pic with the carpet pulled back to expose the floorboards...They're like new....This is a California car with 64K+ original miles! I installed hand-cut mahogany veneer on the rallye dash and removeable console......and there's a "new old stock" Craig Power Play 8-Track/FM in there that'll just about blow your head off. She's a fun cruiser..... Numbers matching motor and transmission....273 V8 with a hardened 904 Auto, and 8-3/4 rear....completely rebuilt.
Here's another Cuda...A 1974 340 car....When I found it, it was pretty rough....Someone tried to externally balance the internally balanced 340, the interior was unfinished, and the rear of the car had some damage. I took care of the problems in short order, installed some new chrome, and then detailed the car with classic Billboard side accents, a front end "facelift", some new logos and a bunch of TLC in general..... She purred, and cruised great.....And when I put the foot down, she screamed.
When I look for cars to restore or customize, I try to find them with new or good paint and bodies....This one had both, but the 2 tone paint was a bit out there, and it was just a "bare body" car....no striping, ram air, or accents of any kind..... However, I chose to leave it and add a full custom Mopar styling package to dress it up.... It's a 74 Dart Sport (a Demon by any other namje is still a Demon.....).....360 drag motor with a heavy 727 ground pounder and a beefed up 8-1/4-3.55 rear. By far, this was my favorite driving car....It gave me loud chirps with every shift, and was just plain FUN to drive....I installed the first of a custom Hurst shifting unit I designed for these cars....I've made the plans available.
Here's what might seem an unlikely candidate for a customization, BUT it was a real hoot to drive....and you know me.....I couldn't settle for just "any car" looks.....A 2001 Sebring Convertible I bought in NY (for too much dough, I might add....it was a former "rental car" and they did NOT divulge that info).....I laid out designs on paper and decided to beef up the styling using accents from the "Saleen" Mustangs....Rear deck spoiler, Hood Scoop, and 5 on 100mm AR chromies...Firestone raised whites, and a full front bra for the bugs. This model had the big V6 tagged the "Magnum" with a variable intake system....It really had too much torque for the car....When you romped it, the front end would just about lose it's steering ability....But she was a fun ride for a while.....and most assuredly a "One-Off" custom convertible.
I added a little extra chrome
in the interior too...that only a
Sebring owner would pro'lly
notice.... Really set it apart.
Click here to add text.HOW 'BOUT A BLAST FROM THE PAST................. This is my radical custom '64 Chevy panel van that I built back in 1977.....I designed the very FIRST fold-out room that housed a twin sized bed.....This beasty also had a gas operated "Gull-Wing" door in place of the 2 original hinged doors on the side, and fully functional fold-out kitchen in the back doors, fully modded front and rear end styling...flares, etc..... I won so many awards with this thing it was CRAZY. Loads of fun. That's a 305 V8 behind the window on the motor box.... I'll post additional photos as they're found (I'm diggin' up the past....in a good way).
When my son was in his first few months old, he would sit in his tiny car seat on top of thet 2" thick hardwood motorbox cover....the warmth of the motor kept him happy and snoozin' through quite a few drive-in movies!....and yes, that's a 12" mirrored ball hangin' above the motor box....For shows only....Motorized, and we used a powerful spotlight to fire it up....the effect was amazing, and the crowds loved it..
I've owned a number of Ford trucks and vans in my day, but this one has been the most fun to build and drive so far. It doesn't hold the place in my heart that a couple of my previous trucks do because of all the memories with my son and daughter.....BUT, it's a real hoot. 1983 F-100....It sports a 302 Auto OD, beefed up suspension, and a completely redesigned and customized interior, and some other custom additions like hand-made Red-Oak side boards, logos and chrome accents. I was thinking of a turquoise '57 Ford interior one day....and guess what happened......!!!
If I can THINK it, I can DO it (usually).....So, I just DO it. I bought this truck for $1800. with COLD A/C....added a few missing pieces of chrome, did the interior, tuned it and spitshined it.....No payments, low insurance, and LOTS of fun. Can't beat it.
When I found this 86 XLT Lariat F-150, the paint was oxidized, striping was shot, interior was shot, and it was just a dull truck....I swapped my old tow rig even for this.... I buffed it to a really high gloss and the paint came alive....put on new pinstriping....polished the chrome and trim....restriped and cleaned the wheels....and restored the interior plastic parts, with a mild custom touch. I then swapped it even for a '56 F-100, all original....V8, oil bath air cleaner, 3 speed manual.....Cool old truck. I did a small amount of work on it to doll it up a bit....didn't really want to get into the restoration....Big job, and just too little time.
Repainted the original wheels and added Firestones...A '72 Demon front bumper...Chrome headlight covers....Blackout grille...Twin spotlights....Can you say "cooooool" ?