No MoPar now, but maybe…

Hi my name is Ken. I'm 48 - ok, 49 in a couple day - and live in Vancouver, WA. I've been a gear-head all my life, although doing mostly motorcycles the last 7 years or so.

Dad had MoPar's growing up, the first I remember was a Monaco Wagon, probably a '68. It was actually the first car I ever drove, I was 13 or 14, so that would have been '73 or '74. I know it had a 383 that one day holed a cylinder. The car ended up in the back 40 at my godfathers farm in Oklahoma.

The next was another big one, a '64 Polara 4-door no-post hardtop. 383 with a push button Tourqflite, it's the car I drive most after I got my license in '76. Dad bought it in Oklahoma to make the trip back to Washington. I don't remember what he paid, but I bet it was like $400-500. It broke a lower ball joint (which were pressed in?) and Dad picked up a new 'A' arm for it. Dad was a procrastinator, so one day after school, I went out and replaced the 'A' arm. I'd been helping him wrench on cars since I was 9, and just dug in and did it. I learned how to slide a car around a corner in that car (amazing how easy that 383 would brake loose those PolyGlass tires) and there was nothing more fun than pushing 2nd gear at 60MPH. :-D

Wait, I forgot the other MoPar we had. A '61 Imperial. Jeeze what a boat!

Anyway, probably somewhere around '77, Dad picked up a Duster from a insurance company. It had been rear ended, and other than having no tail lights (and later we found a sprung door that would open spontaniously) it ran OK. Slant six of course, and I think that one was an auto. Again, it sat in the yard for a couple months waiting for Dad, so I went out one day and pulled the tail lights off the old '64 (it was dead by then, don't remember for sure, but I think it spun a rod. Not while I was drivng thankfully!) A little bailing wire, some crimp splices and we had tail lights. We drove it like that some 8 months until the tags expired. I stuck that one in a ditch one day, racing a budy of mine in his old Dodge truck. No harm, a little mud and he pulled me out. :D

Another Duster came along, that had be hit on the drivers side. The door was moved about 6" at the bottom. This one I did not fix - well, at least not the body. I went in the Navy, and dad cut the drivers side door frame from the 1st Duster and welded it into the "new" Duster - another slant 6, but this one was a 3-speed on-the-floor stick. With a bench seat, and little else, it defined "stripper".

Sure enough, I came home on leave to see the new Duster not moving. What happened? Well, dad had parted the old one, and then someone stole the radiator out of the new one! It so happened we had a '67-ish Rambler in the yard - yes, we had our own mini-junk yard on and off - so I pulled the radiator out of it, and stuck it in the Duster. The lower outlet was on the wrong side - a piece of tubing (exhaust I think) and an extra hose and wala! running car. Except the clutch was froze because Dad left the dust cover off and it got moisture in there. A BFS (big fricking screwdriver) and a couple times popping the clutch, and then the 'wala! Dad drove that car as a daily driver for the next 7 or 8 years (he had like a 60 round trip commute), and then my little brother inherited it. I won't tell you what he and his buddies did to it while they were in HS!

Later, I had a Duster of my own briefly, a '73 318. For reasons I no longer remember it got traded off, but I have always like the 'A' bodies. I'm to the point now that I think it would be fun to get a project car, so I'm starting a search for a '67-72 Dart/Valiant. Probably won't get one anytime soon (I was laid off a few weeks ago, so untill I get back to work, "fun" money is a little tight!) but I can collect ideas, and research parts.

Oh, and there was a time in the '90's I did some circle-track racing (Chevy's, they were cheap!) so I've built a few cars from the ground up.

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