Detroit Muscle Builds

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Episode Transcript

(Tommy)>> You're watching Powernation!

(Tommy)>> Today on Detroit Muscle we hunt through a field of automotive history in search of a new project vehicle, and I'll give you a hint. It's a Mopar. [ MUSIC ] [ engines revving ] [ MUSIC ]

(Tommy)>> Hey guys, today we're at the world's largest Mopar salvage yard, and there's 60 plus acres of them here. Now our goal for today is gonna be finding us a new project and dragging it home. [ MUSIC ] You know there's a lot of factors that go into choosing the right project vehicle, and one of the things you need to consider the most is the financial side of things because it costs a lot of money to restore an automobile. You don't want any surprises at the end, and you need to make sure everything makes perfect sense. With that said there's other makes and models that are worth more than others. So consider that before you make your decision. Who doesn't want one of these, a Charger? We just finished one and it was a whole lot of fun to build, but it took us nearly 3 years to put it together and we were working on that thing all the time. So you need to consider that. Your time, what's it worth to you? How quick do you want a ride? Well I always stress to people buy as much car as you can afford in the nicest condition cause it will gain you a tremendous amount on the backside of it, and walking around this field of dreams is a whole lot of fun but I've come to realize I ain't this dedicated. [ MUSIC ] So we're here to see Ted, the owner of Stephens Performance, and it's easy to say that this man is in the know when it comes to a Dodge project. How are you boss?

(Ted)>> Good Tom, how are you?

(Tommy)>> I'm wonderful, not as good as you. Look at all these rides you got sitting around.

(Ted)>> You know, it comes with the territory.

(Tommy)>> Well what we're looking for is nothing that's 100 percent. I don't really need shinny paint. It don't have to be original paint, nothing like that. Do you have anything that needs some work and something we could buy?

(Ted)>> Yeah I've got a couple we can work with. Let's take a look.

(Tommy)>> So excited!

(Ted)>> Well depending on where you want to go price point wide we'd probably start with this. This is a Superbird project. It's in paint, engine's built. All of the pieces are here. It's just a big model car kit.

(Tommy)>> I don't think my checkbook goes that far, but it is a killer car. Tell me about it. What engine package and all that.

(Ted)>> It's a 440 four barrel automatic. Plymouth built 1,953 of these cars, a few Hemi's. The mix between 440 four barrel and 440 six barrel was almost even, which is kind of unusual. These cars were kinda special cars, and surprisingly a lot of them have survived because they were so odd that people saved them.

(Tommy)>> To call this car odd is not a farfetched statement by any means.

(Ted)>> Oddest might be better.

(Tommy)>> These things I know didn't really sell that well when they came off from the factory. A lot of them set around.

(Ted)>> Yeah the dealers actually converted some of them back into RoadRunners. They took the noses off, took the wings off, put bumpers on the front.

(Tommy)>> Cause they couldn't sell it! It's crazy enough to say that because they're so sought after now.

(Ted)>> They are. One of the problems with these cars was insurance. Because of the nose cone and the expense of the nose cone if you ever bumped one of these things in a parking lot it was expensive to repair.

(Tommy)>> What's all been done to it now?

(Ted)>> We painted it. We had to replace the quarter panels on it. I think the trunk floor. We've moved on with the engine rebuild and we've accumulated all the parts to put it together with.

(Tommy)>> When this car's completed I know they're expensive but in all reality what's a reasonable price that someone would pay for one of these things?

(Ted)>> These cars right now are selling between $125,000 and $175,000 depending on how nice the car is. That's for a 440 four barrel car. A six barrel car will bring more than that, and a Hemi will bring a lot more than that.

(Tommy)>> Well I know this thing is definitely out of my price range, and maybe one day I can just drive it, or drive one of them. I know a man that might have one I could drive.

(Ted)>> Some day! You might have to turn a wrench before that happens. Well if the Superbird is out of your price range how about a Superbee?

(Tommy)>> I do like a B-body.

(Ted)>> This is a '70 model. It's a 440 six pack super track pack car. Automatic, 4.10 Dana 60 axle. Pretty low production. If you want to stay with a B-body car this one would work. It's basically ready to paint, but we have all the rest of the pieces to it. All the stuff you don't see we have hidden somewhere.

(Tommy)>> Six pack is awesome but I'm kinda looking for a car, I'm gonna call it like reduced for a quick sale cause I'm probably gonna cut it up.

(Ted)>> We won't be cutting this one up.

(Tommy)>> You don't think so?

(Ted)>> Let's look a little further.

(Tommy)>> You got something else hiding out?

(Ted)>> Yeah I've got one out here that might fit the bill.

(Tommy)>> Alrighty! Coming up, that's what I'm talking about. A piece of American muscle that hasn't seen daylight for a while.

(Tommy)>> Hey guys, welcome back. We're here at Stephen's Performance and it's time for us to see the goods. Ted said he's got kind of a bargain car. I know it ain't gonna be cheap but I'm anxious to see it.

(Ted)>> That depends on your definition of cheap.

(Tommy)>> That's what I'm talking about.

(Ted)>> How about it?

(Tommy)>> That looks more in my price range for sure.

(Ted)>> Well with what you've told me that you want to do, which involves a sawz-all, this might be more along the lines of something you could do that with.

(Tommy)>> So you say we wouldn't be crucifying this car if we cut it up a bit?

(Ted)>> Not if you don't cut it up much. This one just came in from California. It's a good dry car. We have a supplier out there, Brother Dave, on the west coast that brings us nice cars like this from time to time, and these are great builders. This car doesn't have an engine or transmission in it but it's a good solid body, and it is a RoadRunner, and it's a good color.

(Tommy)>> Can we dig it out of here to see what it looks like in the daylight?

(Ted)>> Sure! Alright if you're looking for a project car, '69 RoadRunner. It don't get any better than that. Good floors, good trunk, good quarter panels, almost unheard of today. Like I said it came from California. So we're not dealing with any salt rot or anything like that like most people on this side of the country are accustom to. So I think this would be a good car to work with.

(Tommy)>> Now if we put a Hemi in it is that a problem?

(Ted)>> Nope, put whatever you want in it.

(Tommy)>> All I can tell you is my plan for this thing is it's going to be pretty fast and look pretty aggressive. I'm normally a paint and body guy but I don't think I'm gonna touch it at all.

(Ted)>> I like the green hood.

(Tommy)>> That may just have to go. I'll bring it back.

(Ted)>> You could rattle can it black.

(Tommy)>> Or I could just bring it back.

(Ted)>> Or you could bring it back.

(Tommy)>> It's missing a few pieces. I'm gonna need a grille. Looks like some other trim, windshield, that kind of thing. Think we can go on a scavenger hunt?

(Ted)>> We can do it.

(Tommy)>> Alright I'll follow you cause you know where this stuff's at.

(Ted)>> Get the tools. [ MUSIC ]

(Tommy)>> Depending on the style of your restoration and how complete the car is that you're working on a place like this could be your salvation. Did you find us some goodies?

(Ted)>> Yeah there's a pretty good looking grille and headlight bezel. I don't know what they're laying in this car for. You find something new every time you come out here. I think that'll work pretty good for what we're working with here. It kinda matches the car.

(Tommy)>> Yeah it's kinda aged out and used. Now I know our car's kinda crusty but I still want some blingy bumpers, and some trim, and new glass, and we're probably still gonna need a few other pieces that they don't even make.

(Ted)>> Yeah some things, I think we need turn signal lamps for that car and those aren't available. We should be able to come up with a good set of used ones, and we actually make the lenses for those. We'll have some. There's your bling! You'll have new turn signal lenses.

(Tommy)>> Man yeah but that's you having those used pieces is kinda what separates you from everybody else cause not everybody wants used pieces.

(Ted)>> No they don't. Like a guy working with a survivor car, he doesn't want to put new reproduction parts on his car cause they may not look quite right. So he's looking for nice used stuff that matches the rest of the car.

(Tommy)>> You said nice used stuff. Can we find some of them turn signal pieces?

(Ted)>> Yeah let's have a look. Let's go up another row or two. [ MUSIC ]

(Tommy)>> After picking through the boneyard it was time to hit the warehouse. I know you made a list on that beauty.

(Ted)>> Yeah I've got an Atlanta's phone book size list for that steaming pile. I mean a piece of American automotive history.

(Tommy)>> Come on man, be nice!

(Ted)>> Okay! [ MUSIC ] Okay we're gonna need side marker lenses. Here they are, and turn signal lenses. Now these, both of these are licensed with Chrysler. They are exact reproductions of the original parts. They have the exact markings and Chrysler's pentastar logo. So if you're looking for the right stuff this is it. The correct stuff!

(Tommy)>> That's nice! [ MUSIC ]

(Ted)>> That'll about size up the outside of it.

(Tommy)>> Well I've got plenty to do now it looks like.

(Ted)>> That'll keep you busy for a day or two.

(Tommy)>> I'm sure I'm gonna be calling you needing something else.

(Ted)>> Glad to have you. Y'all come back now you hear? [ MUSIC ]

(Marc)>> Coming up, we open the history books and see why these cars are so sought after.

(Marc)>> Well any time we have a new project in the shop it's a good day for me, and since Tommy got the joy of hanging out with Ted and picking up the car I sent him out on some errands, and you may notice we've got a new face here in the shop. This is Daniel Boshears, no relation, and he's actually a good friend of ours. He's helped us out a lot over the years behind the camera on projects we needed help on. He's well connected in the industry. He works with Ted at Stephen's Performance. Also Tim Wellborn at the Wellborn Muscle Car Museum. He does consulting for race teams. He's been in several automotive publications. I could go on and on but needless to say really excited to have you here Daniel.

(Daniel)>> Thanks Marc, I appreciate you introducing me and I appreciate you guys also bringing me in on this particular project. These RoadRunners are one of my favorites.

(Marc)>> Yeah I know, this is right up your alley, but when I looked at it the first time I was a little skeptical cause it looks rough.

(Daniel)>> Yeah it looks rough but it's got it where it counts. The floors are good, the frame rails are good. We don't have any major repairs to do, and it's a really good canvas for the project we've got in mind.

(Marc)>> And you know Tommy's always pegging me as a Mustang guy, and although I do lean a little toward the blue oval I love all muscle cars, and when it comes to Mopars '69 RoadRunner top of my list.

(Daniel)>> Yeah they're one of my favorites too, and after all these RoadRunners are muscle car royalty. [ meep meep ]

(Daniel)>> In 1968 Plymouth decided to get a little crazy with its muscle cars and they unleashed a stripped down bare bones version of its tried and true Belvedere. [ engine revving ]

(Daniel)>> And they named it after a cartoon character. [ meep meep ]

(Daniel)>> The RoadRunner was an instant hit. Many a Ford and Chevy spent time chasing down the bird car, but like the Coyote they had a hard time catching it. [ MUSIC ]

(Lester)>> What I like about driving the car is how it handles. The car handles great. The engine has never came out of the car. It still runs excellent.

(Daniel)>> The power in this baby is a 383 four barrel. [ engine revving ]

(Daniel)>> It hammers out 335 horsepower and for a little extra cash you could throw in a six pack, or even a Hemi if you really wanted to leave them in the dust. And the allure in 1968 for these vehicles was outstanding. Plymouth expect to sell 20,000 of these fast cars. The good news for the dealers is that these flew off the lot. They crushed their sales projections with 45,000 cars sold by the end of the year. [ engine revving ]

(Daniel)>> 1969 kicked off a strong year for the cartoon car. Sales soared by nearly 200 percent with just over 80,000 RoadRunners sold. This relic from that era is in pristine condition, and the owner, well you may recognize him.

(Ted)>> This car is all original. Probably one of the best paint cars we have.

(Daniel)>> This car has a 440 six pack. Off the lot you could take this car straight to the track and even win a race or two. Lacking trim, no hub caps, and an oversized hood scoop, this iconic Mopar packed everything under the hood for someone to settle a score on the street or at the track.

(Marc)>> But by 1970 the sales had plummeted for the RoadRunners. Actually cut the numbers in half. They just couldn't recreate what they made with the '68 and '69's, which makes these more sought after today. So we're really lucky to get our hands on this one.

(Daniel)>> What's worse than finding a flat tire on your vehicle? How about finding out pesky rodents have claimed squatters rights and moved into your prized automobile? To help landlords evict these pesky tenants Mouse Blocker has a device that emits ultrasonic sounds that are uncomfortable for rodents, and it has a flashing light that simulates movement of a predator nearby. Now the ultrasonic sound has three different settings, the loudest of which being 115 decibels. Mouse Blocker tells us that they like to refer to that setting as eviction mode. Now when you go pick one of these up they're available in two power sources. Now the one we have here is 110 volt. It's being used by hundreds of dealerships and repair facilities all around the country to protect your inventory. Now on the other hand the 12 volt unit, it can be placed in the car and hooked directly to your battery. Now I know what you're thinking. It'll probably run my battery down. Well it won't. It has a built in sensor that will detect voltage, and when it sees less than 11 volts it will turn itself off. So go right out and pick yourself up a Mouse Blocker so you can start protecting your car or your customer's vehicles.

(Tommy)>> Up next, you heard talk of a sawz-all. We'll give you the plan for our iconic muscle car next on Detroit Muscle.

(Marc)>> I like the green on this hood but that's not the right hood is it?

(Daniel)>> No that's a Satellite hood. You can tell by the lines in it. Alright guys we're about ready to start taking this car apart and the first thing we need to do is get our tools together, and I don't know about you Marc but I'm ready to get my hands dirty.

(Marc)>> Yeah but before we start digging in let's talk about some of the specifics of this car and where we're headed. Well the second thing I noticed about this car after I got past this ugly black paint was the wheels and tires. It's kinda cool cause they're old school. These tires are probably as old as I am. They're all dry rotted. Obviously the wheels are rusty. These have to go. If you look past that to the drums they're rusty, and plus we wanted to upgrade to disc brakes on something like this. As for the suspension, well there's a lot on the aftermarket available. We'll probably pick something along those lines for that.

(Daniel)>> Now I know this thing isn't pretty but that doesn't make it uncool. I'm starting to notice a little Omaha orange shining through back here. Now I'm not much of an orange guy but if were my car I would start sanding as much of this black off as possible and try to help expose some of that rare color. Now the black primer coupled with the surface rust give this thing a cool factor all to its own, and for this particular project we'll probably just leave it alone. The one thing we're not gonna leave alone is this interior.

(Marc)>> Well it doesn't take but a quick glance inside here to realize what bad a shape this is in. Let's just take a look at the seat for starters. This is a bench seat. So we're probably not gonna save it but if we wanted to the frame is okay. Everything else would have to go. All the foam's broken down. The upholstery, it's vinyl, and it's cracked and dried. I mean just look at this. You can't even imagine the smell in here. Just be glad you can't smell it. There's a lot of stuff missing, like the door panels and other trim panels. There's no carpet in here, no headliner. So part of the work's done but the rest of this has got to go. We'll probably retain the dash and the steering column, but other than that this thing's gonna be a whole new interior when we're done with it.

(Daniel)>> Man that interior is nasty. Alright let's talk about under the hood. As you can see this old RoadRunner and its original 383 parted ways years ago, which leaves us with endless possibilities, and when I say endless possibilities I mean as long as it's Mopar.

(Marc)>> And it doesn't get any more Mopar than a Hemi, right Pat?

(Pat)>> Yes I agree with that, but not particularly this one in this condition, but you have something good to start with.

(Marc)>> So this is a 6.4 liter out of a 2016 Ram 2,500. It came out of a junkyard obviously. Light burn is the description.

(Pat)>> Light burn, okay, well I don't know if I'd agree with that because you have a melted valve cover, but there's some lines and some hoses that aren't melted. So it might not have gotten too bad, but I think you've got something that's really, really gonna make some power.

(Daniel)>> Well what we're trying to find is about 550 horsepower.

(Pat)>> Okay well that's not a big deal. These are good heads. The 6.4 has a good cylinder head, good architecture. A couple of four barrels on a tall ram sticking out of it with a standalone ignition system, I think we can get there.

(Daniel)>> And we believe so.

(Pat)>> These are the most creative intake plugs I've ever seen, which now. I've been looking for a new set of gloves and I think we run those through the washing machine.

(Daniel)>> I've got to have two of those too, by the way.

(Pat)>> Let's get this down to the shop and we'll see if we can get this thing apart.

(Daniel)>> I'm getting back to work. Y'all do that. [ MUSIC ] [ drill buzzing ] [ MUSIC ]

(Daniel)>> Well I bet you're wondering what those little blocks of wood are for. Old scraps of wood make great skis. [ MUSIC ] Now that we got that old bench out of the way we can tackle the back seat. It may look like I'm being a little rough with this old thing but it's because we have to unclip the springs from the retainers in the floor pan, and to be honest we aren't keeping much of the original interior in this old car anyway. [ MUSIC ]

(Tommy)>> Looks like we're getting our money's worth out of this new guy.

(Daniel)>> Well I could have done it faster but I didn't really want to do it in the first place.

(Tommy)>> I got you. Well while we were up in the principal's office I guess you could say taking care of some documentation Marc's got some pretty big news.

(Marc)>> Well my time here in Detroit Muscle has sadly come to an end. Tommy and I have had over five great seasons together and we've enjoyed every minute of it, but I'm not leaving. I'm actually just moving next door to a brand new show called Music City Trucks where I'll be joined by my co-host Brandon Burke. We'll be having a new kind of fun building anything from lifted four wheel drive trucks slinging mud to shredding tires on high performance pickups. We're mixing Nashville's flavor with the excitement of cool truck builds. We share our passion for trucks, and we're excited to kick off this new chapter. Well Brandon and I have really hit it off well and we've got some amazing builds planned, and I can't wait to bring some Detroit Muscle flare into the truck world.

(Tommy)>> Now Marc I want to wish you the best and let you know that our door is gonna be open. So if you want to come for a visit by all means come see us.

(Marc)>> I appreciate that and you're always welcome next door too. I guess that's my cue to leave. Hey if you ever need that one phone call you can call me.

(Tommy)>> Probably be the first, won't be the last. Now with this guy Daniel is a bit younger than we are and that's alright cause he's got a skill set that's above and beyond, and I can't wait for you guys to see what we've got planned.
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