Cutting Edges


A showcase of the fine art of automotive metalcraft.

We’ve always envied the other Mopar magazines, the way they can take a bunch of cars, or exhaust pipes, or ashtray handles and put them all in one feature under a common theme. We’ve never been able to figure out how they do that. So we hired a consultant. Now, after four years of intensive effort, and untold amounts of the publisher’s money, we’ve finally come up with our first “theme” feature. We call it “Cutting Edges,” which should come as no surprise, as you can see from the title in big letters at the top of the page –a great effort by our art director. The common theme here is sheetmetal abuse. You know, examples of folks taking all kinds of cutting, grinding, hacking, and bashing instruments, and attacking poor, innocent slabs of sheetmental, and the structures that hold them together. It’s sort of the way we approach automotive journalism. We’ve selected three examples of cutups that are at the head of their class in their respective fields—right, left and center.

So without further ado, we proudly present Mopar Action’s first “theme” feature (drumroll please).

The Littlest Charger Of Them All

When Randy Weist found himself making his own replacement body panels and patches in restoring his ’69 General Lee Charger, he wondered why not make an entire car from scratch-built panels. A full size patch-panel car was beyond his budget, so he made his charger a bit smaller—possibly the smallest model that a normal-size adult could fit into without having to wrap his legs around his neck. You’ve seen those little go-kart versions of full-size cars, and some even have a roof—but there’s usually a head sticking through it. Randy’s car has a roof hatch that closes with him inside.

That’s Randy with his full-size Charger. Tell us how many patch panels you think are on the car, and, if you guess correctly, you’ll win an all-expense paid vacation for two in Afghanistan
Ahhh, those classic Coke bottle lines. But in this case, it’s Diet Coke. The Charger measures 8-ft. long and 3-1/2-ft. wide. It weighs about 200 lbs.
“Down the hatch,” as the saying goes. But in this case, it’s you going down the hatch.

Randy used good old unibody construction, constructing support members fore and aft out of 14-gauge sheetmetal. The crossmembers were dropped so the seat could be lower than the side rails.

Randy puts the finishing touches on his mini Charger. Looks like there’s some ‘Cuda influence in the grille. Hard to believe, but he does fit inside, as the local street racers will attest.

Randy wears ballistic underwear to protect against possible road rash, as this little beastie, with its 8 hp Tecumseh mill can boil along at 54 MPH. But plans are afoot to drop in a 440 (that’ll be cc’s not cubic inches) for a more Mopar flavor.  That should make Randy unstoppable in the quarter (he didn’t tell us what he has for brakes, but we assume he has some), and whup all the Chevys and Fords in his class.


The Short Sport featured here is based on a ’92 Plymouth Voyager. After cutting 58-in. of useless mileage-degrading sheetmetal, seats, doors, carpeting, etc., the now “green” van is reduced to 10 feet, bumper-to-bumper, and bounces along on a 5-ft. wheelbase. But watch that gas mileage soar.

We think so, if the price of gas gets back up to over $4/gallon. And, even if it doesn’t, we predict Mo’fans will be beating dealers’ doors down for this nifty little car. Built in secret during the DaimlerChrysler period, under the code name, Schmadt Kar, but rebadged after the split to the more catchy “Short Sport,” this little honey seats two and has tons of luggage room (relative to its size, of course). The plan was not only to build the car on the line, but to have conversion centers (new car dealers, muffler shops etc), where you could drive in with your big gas-guzzling  minivan or SUV, and, in a matter of a couple of hours, drive off in a stylish, svelte megamileage machine. Neat, eh?

Since all the cutting was done in the middle, the Sport retains the stock hatch, so you can still pile in the goodies from your local building supply outlet.
This highly detailed scale model, used for a presentation to DC execs in Stuttgart
, shows the car with the hatch closed. Talk about restyling, the Short Sport sets new standards in form following function.


Green wheels are a brilliant touch for a contrast to the acres of gray primer. Ram is certainly a cut above. Don’t ask these guys what they do in case of rain, or you might just walk away with only one arm.

A couple of years ago, we joined the Motor Press Guild—a west coast organization of auto journalists and pr professionals. The fact that we were on the east coast made no difference to the overenthusiastic member-recruiter at the time, who wanted to impress the higher ups with how many new recruits he could bring into the organization. So, we became a member. For about five minutes. Once they realized who we were, and what we did, they politely asked us to leave. Actually, they just kicked us out—something about standards, character, height and a bunch of other lame excuses. No big deal, we would never join an organization that would have us as a member, anyhow.

Except one.

Graphics are artfully applied with much effort into the choice of font and spacing. Wonder if these guys do stuff besides cars and trucks?

The Southside Hacksaw Club of Louisville, KY. We don’t know if this is a local chapter of a national or global group or what, but that doesn’t matter. These guys really have it together. I mean, just walking around with a .45 cal. hacksaw on your hip has got to make you feel five feet taller (a real boon to the vertically challenged amonst us). And the name itself—bold, honest. There’s no mistaking what these guys are about, unlike some organizations with vague names like the Green Grass Society—you don’t know if they are growers or mowers or smokers. Name aside, these guys do good work. No filling and filing here, just good sharp edges that’ll take your fingers clean to the bone—essentially what Mopar Action does to your mind.

Neat tonneau gives the truck a clean finished look. It took a lot of fine bashing and tweaking to give the quarter panel just right appearance of random damage.
Hey, are these guys artists, or what? This shows they’re as talented with the welder as they are with the ‘saw.
Exhaust flame setup adds just the right touch. Warning label demonstrates high regard for safety.

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