WE SPENT IT AT CARLISLE – Mopar Action Article Extra

The Chrysler Nats at Carlisle was another big success, but the nickel and diming is getting ridiculous.
By Al Dente
Photos by TheBruntBros
Page 6 of the 2013 Carlisle All-Chrysler Nationals Official Event Directory was devoted to the stars and car in the film, “Christine,” to celebrate the flick’s 30th anniversary. Meeting the stars, Alexandra Paul, William Ostrander, Malcom Danare and Steve Tash in Bldg T was cool, but everyone wanted to see the real star that Carlisle touted: Christine herself—the 1958 Plymouth Fury owned by Bill Gibson. She was there all right, but hidden behind a black curtain draped in back of the human starts. Shell out $20 worth of merchandise (autographs, CDs etc.) and you qualified as one of the chosen few to be escorted behind the black curtain and have your photo taken with the car. But you had to supply the camera or iPhone. C’mon, now. You gotta pay for parking (cha-ching!) and you gotta pay to get into the show (cha-ching!), and you gotta pay extra to see the star attraction? What’s up with that? Look, there was that nice little photo of Christine on page 6, so shut up.That said, Carlisle overall is a top-flight show—the best you’ll find in the state of Pennsylvania anyway. Highlight of the event was the fabulous display of Max Wedge cars—20 in all—in the retro dealership. Special guests included Roger Lindamood who was there with Ralph Ronzello who owns a couple of Roger’s Maxie race cars, plus a ’63 tribute car to be featured in our June issue. Roger’s son Randy, was there with his Lindamood 2013 Gen 2 Hemi Challenger.Here are some of the photos that were not included in the April issue article plus a sidebar on Jim Roach’s ’72 ‘Cuda.


The sign promised (or seemed to promise) a good look at Bill Gibson’s “Christine” ’58 Plymouth Fury. In reality, all you got to look at was this image on a black curtain behind which was the car.


You had to fork over $20 for merchandise to become one of the chosen few to take a peek and a photo (with your camera). Mo’fans weren’t happy.


Steve Tash, one of the “Christine” cast was signing autographs and selling movie stuff to help you make your $20 nut to see the car.


You could see the “Christine’ cast for free during their presentation and Q&A session on the stage in front of the grandstand. But then, you could have also seen Richard Ehrenberg for free had he chosen to attend.


We featured the back of Randy Holloway’s head in the June issue. Here’s the rest of him with his Screamin’ Demon.


Joel Johnson’s 1971 Charger SE that he restored was on display in Bldg T. It is one of 90 with the 383/4-speed/3.23 Sure-Grip combinations, and one of 150 with the factory power sunroof gunmetal with Gunmetal interior, leather and power windows.


Ethan Forry’s ’76 Plymouth Volare Road Runner began life as a demonstrator at the Woy Bros. dealership in Somerset, PA. A Super Track Pak car, the original owner, John Smith, never installed the front spoiler which stayed in the trunk. After 4 years, John sold the car to his neighbor, Jeff Brant who used it for cruising, drag racing and towing his boat. Jeff installed headers and dual exhaust, and claims his 318 2-Bbl with 2.71 open gears beat a big block GTO in three consecutive encounters. Before Jeff sold the car to Wilbur “Bill” Wentz, he reinstalled the factory exjaust manifolds and single exhaust.


Bill Lambing’s ’77 Fury cop car had been signed by all of the surviving cast of “The Dukes of Hazzard.” The car was stationed behind Deputy Enos Strate (Sonny Shroyer) who was autographing posters.


For a couple of bucks you could have yourself, your kids or your dog photographed inside a Dukes Charger.


The Max Wedge collection inside the retro dealership featured Ray and Pat Naders ’63 Plymouth super Stock. The Naders purchased this car new from Griffin Motors in Meadville, PA. Ray campaigned the car from “63-’74 under “Nader’s Raiders.” Ray restored the 18,917-mile car in 1994.


Bryan Moyer, Sr. had his ’71 Challenger R/T on display in the Survivors’ tent. It is only one of 3 ’71 Challenger R/Ts known to exist with orange stripes, and the only black one. It is also the only original unrestored orange stripe car.

 

FISH STORY
By Jim Roach

 

It all started with going to look at a 340 motor for sale back in 2001. My father and I met a guy who was at his parents’ garage to look at this motor for sale. After talking and the guy going on about what he needed to put an addition on his house, the question came up, “What did the motor come out of?” The guy proceeded to explain that he had this ‘Cuda when he was a teenager and the plans were to put the 340 in this ‘Cuda years ago, but he never got around to it. The next question came up, “Do you still have this ‘Cuda?” The guy explained he indeed still had the ‘Cuda and it was in his backyard. You could tell he really didn’t want to sell it, but where the addition was going on his house, it would actually block the ‘Cuda in his yard and he would never be able to get it out.

My father and I followed this guy over to his house which was a few blocks away. When we got to his house the guy opened the gate to his yard and there was a 1974 Plymouth ‘Cuda lying in the corner of his yard with all of the windows down and his very large dog chained to the front bumper. The dog proceeded to jump up on the hood and the roof of the ‘Cuda and barked at us. He then jumped off of the ‘Cuda and jumped through the driver side window and laid down inside. I really couldn’t believe my eyes that someone would actually chain their dog to a car like that. The guy finally got his dog out of the car which gave us a chance to take a closer look at the car. It really was in bad shape. The roof and hood were severely dented from the dog jumping up and down on it. It looked as though it had been parked there since the late ‘80s, so the body was rusted pretty badly. Knowing that I couldn’t leave that ‘Cuda in that backyard to die, we worked out a deal for the car and the 340 and dragged it home.

Stripping the ‘Cuda was fun, but it showed what poor condition it was in. The quarters were gone, there was no trunk floor, there were no front floors, and when I pulled the headliner I found an entire tunnel system made by mice that were living in the car along with the dog. We stripped the ‘Cuda to a shell and sent it off to be bead blasted. When we got it back we were really in shock. Besides all of the body damage we knew about, the entire firewall looked like Swiss cheese and the driver side quarter panel had another quarter panel welded on over top of it, which was actually hiding more damage.

The project began by collecting the parts that were needed the get the ‘Cuda back into shape. I started ordering as many parts as my bank account would allow. Within the next few years, I was getting a pretty good collection of parts, but then another proposition fell into my lap. My father and I were at a cruise night, and there was a beautiful 1970 ‘Cuda sitting there with a For Sale sign in the window. We started talking to the owner and it ended up that this particular ‘Cuda wasn’t for sale, but he had another one that he was trying to sell the interior out of. Being that my ‘Cuda had a white interior and I wanted to switch it to a black ulterior, we set up a meeting to look at the interior and other parts that he had.

When we got to his house, he opened the garage and there was a 1972 Plymouth ‘Cuda sitting there with no front end, no motor, no transmission, and the frame rails were smashed. He explained that he had just finished this ‘Cuda and was out watching a football game at the local high school when an elderly lady came around the corner and ran smack into the passenger side nose of the car. With the ‘Cuda being totaled, he pulled the motor and trans out and he was trying to part the rest of it out.

The ‘Cuda had brand new quarter panels, original rust free floors, and the trunk only had a few small spots that needed to be repaired. The way the accident happened it didn’t tweak the body at all. It actually popped all of the spot welds from the passenger side floor and part of the transmission cross member. We decided that we could use a lot more than just the interior and worked out a deal and brought it home.

After going over both ‘Cudas, we found a local body shop that would take on the task of taking the front frame rails and transmission cross member from the first ‘Cuda (1974) and attaching them to my second ‘Cuda (1972). After a few months on the frame machine, I finally had a rolling chassis. The next task was fixing a few small spots on my new ‘Cuda and getting ready to start changing things around to make her mine.

1 was at our local Thursday night Cruise and I was talking to a friend of mine. I started telling him about the ‘Cuda. After explaining where I got my original ‘Cuda from, he told me that he knew the guy I bought it from and had no clue that he still owned the car up until I bought it. He told me all kinds of stories about how he knew the owner before the guy that I bought it from used to pump gas at a local gas station and the ‘Cuda would come in all the time for gas. Then his buddy bought it and he used to ride around all the time with him in it. He even told me about a time when his buddy was street racing with the ‘Cuda and spun the car around and hit a street sign with the driver side quarter panel and put a huge crease in the body (that is why the other quarter panel was welded on top of it). After bringing back so many fond memories, he offered to help with the bodywork and reassembly. The ‘Cuda went to his house which ended up being around the corner from where it originally laid for so many years.

Working in a small enclosed car port on the side of his house, the bodywork was done. It was converted from an automatic to a 4-speed and it was painted black. Not having a lot of room at his house when the main shell was done, it had to be transported back to my parents’ house where we started reassembling it. While I was reassembling the car, he worked on the fenders, hood, and grille. We ran into several major problems with the front end. The front fenders had to be used from the original ‘Cuda and were in bad shape. This was before you could get new fenders and the patch panels were small, so a lot of the pieces had to be made. Then as he was starting to fix the grille, he took it out into his back yard to work on it and after he took the rubber molding piece off of the front, he picked it up and the grille broke into 7 pieces. I searched high and low and the only grille I could find at the tune was an NOS one and they guy wanted $2,500 for it. Not being able to afford that, the grille was pieced back together and fixed.

After working on the ‘Cuda for several years and with the help of my family and friends, in September of 2005, 1 was finally able to take my ‘Cuda on its maiden voyage. I have a photo album documenting everything that we went through to bring my ‘Cuda back to life and now have several large trophies from the many car shows that I have attended with her. From taking 2 ‘Cudas and making them 1, to converting it to a 4-speed, to installing the 340, to changing it to a black interior, to installing A/C, to tucking the front and rear bumpers in close to the body, to installing a 70 ‘Cuda spoiler, to putting a flat black hockey stick stripe on the gloss black paint, really shows that all of the little details that really made it all worth it.

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