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Detroit Muscle Featured Projects

Detroit Muscle Builds

Parts Used In This Episode

Summit Racing
Billet Specialties Win Lite Black Anodized Wheels
Summit Racing
Mickey Thompson Tires
Summit Racing
Moser Engineering Mopar Housing and Axle Package
Summit Racing
Wilwood Disc Brakes
Reilly Motorsports
Custom Tubular Suspension System
Sea Foam
Deep Creep
The Industrial Depot
Tools, Hardware, Shop Supplies

Episode Transcript

(Tommy)>> You're watching Powernation!

(Tommy)>> Today on Detroit Muscle we kick off an all new project, giving this '69 Road Runner an attitude adjustment with a trick new suspension and wheels and tires that will make your mouth water. [ MUSIC ] [ engines revving ] [ MUSIC ]

(Tommy)>> Hey guys, welcome to Detroit Muscle. Now a few of you all probably are thinking that I've just pushed in a big ole pile of fertilizer, but actually I'm gonna have to ask you to think back to some of those kind words that your mom probably used to say, and that would be, it's not what's on the outside but it's actually the inside that matters. I know this old Mopar isn't much to look at in its current condition. With its old ratty wheels and tires, paint that's multicolored and flaking off here and there. The glass, well it does have some optical interference, but our big pile is actually a piece of iconic American muscle. It's a true '69 Road Runner, and some consider these one of the most sought-after Plymouths ever. So, to make things happen the way we want them it's gonna take a whole bunch of parts to get us there. We want our ride to handle. We want it to have plenty of power, but most of all we want it to make one heck of a statement, and in my humble opinion I do believe that the recipe that we've came up with is gonna be downright delicious. I'll tell you, I've been craving this for a while. That's right, we're not restoring this thing, but before all you Mopar people get all cranked up and yelling at the screen, sounding like you're having some kind of seizure or something calm down, take a deep breath. We're not crucifying some kind of rare car here. Also, on these old Mopars they have a fender tag that will give you your order option codes. That thing would be located right over but it along with our build sheet is long gone. If we were wanting to restore this thing those two pieces of information are crucial, but we're really not sweating it at all. That would be because with the style of build that we're doing we have what's really important, and that's the rest of the car. This thing's gonna be a whole lot of fun but it's not all gonna be fairy tales and pixie dust. With the interior we're basically missing everything except for some of the dash and a steering wheel. Oh, and I can't forget that old crusty long-legged lune. A few of you guys are probably saying, man if I was to own that thing I'd have to paint it. I get it. You guys know that I'm all about paint, and this car is actually an odd and rare color for one of these. To get a Road Runner in this Omaha orange you would have to special order this ride. To repaint this thing, well that's gonna cost some serious coil and I don't really want to get into all that. I want to build something that we can downright abuse and have some fun with, and I'm really digging the way this thing looks. That fancy orange paint poking through that black primer, it's got a cool look to it, and who am I to mess with all of mother nature's hard work making this abstract art. When this thing's all done it's gonna be downright sinister. [ mechanical humming ]

(Tommy)>> Usually when people judge the condition of a car, they do a simple walk around but getting one on a lift like this can tell you a completely different story. I've seen some downright scary stuff. Floor pans being held in with glorified bubble gum, frame rails so rusty I didn't know how it was standing on its own, and suspension, well it was almost ready to fall out, but luckily our Road Runner doesn't look too bad. It spent a good bit of its life on the west coast, which usually means the floor pans and frame rails should be pretty solid, and I have to say what I'm seeing kinda gives me that warm and fuzzy feeling on the inside. As for the suspension I'm getting a total different vibe. All this stuff has got to go. You know technology has come a long way in the past 50 years and we're gonna take advantage of that. So, this junk is on its way out the back door. After this quick inspection I do believe we have found us a solid foundation for our build. There's no real evidence that any tin worms have been really chewing on it. Heck the trunk pan is even solid. These cars are so prone to being rusty back here it's almost like they rolled out of the factory with rust in their trunk. Our frame rails, they're super clean and straight. So, I'm gonna give this ride my stamp of approval so we can get this project started. Coming up, me and my buddy Joel start tearing down the suspension on our crusty old bird.

(Tommy)>> Well we're finally ready to start knocking the legs out from under our old Road Runner here. I brought in a buddy of mine, Joel, to help me out with this. The first order of business is getting this front suspension out of the way.

You know it shouldn't be all that big of a deal to get this thing torn down. There's only a few bolts that hold this k-member in on this old Plymouth.

(Joel)>> Yeah and these torsion bars can be a real pain to get to too, but it's one of the joys of working on these crusty old cars.

(Tommy)>> Yeah, I remember the first time I tried to get one of these things apart. Man, I didn't even take that tension off of it. Learning experience!

(Joel)>> I bet. [ ratchet clicking ] [ MUSIC ]

(Tommy)>> I ain't on nothing. Need a hammer now. While you get to hammering on that front, I'm gonna jump on the rear.

(Joel)>> Sounds good! [ MUSIC ] [ ratchet clicking ] [ MUSIC ] [ hammer banging ]

(Tommy)>> Dang that's kinda loud! [ MUSIC ] Now we're not saving much of anything from this original suspension. [ MUSIC ] And with a car that's been sitting this long, hardware can be stubborn and difficult to remove. [ MUSIC ] A quick spray with some Deep Creep sure can make your life a lot easier. It works fast to penetrate dirty and corroded threads, and as a result saves you effort. Deep Creep isn't a one trick pony. It can help you remove old and tired suspension components, and it can also protect metal surfaces from moisture and corrosion. [ MUSIC ] And this right here's kind of a good sign. Usually with U-bolts you've got to fight to get them off cause they're on the bottom of the car and they catch all that road debris. Well luckily for us these come right off. [ drill humming ] [ MUSIC ]

(Tommy)>> Now Joel is one of the few guys that I've seen use a pickle fork, and you know what? He may be on to something.

(Joel)>> There we go! [ drill humming ] [ MUSIC ] [ drill humming ] [ MUSIC ]

(Tommy)>> What we're removing out back is literally everything that holds the car up, and with our car being a Mopar it doesn't really have a frame. So, all those parts bolt to just the body. Now up front this k-member comes out as one giant piece. [ drill humming ]

(Tommy)>> Which is kinda handy. We're also gonna add some convenience. This old school column is on its way out, and we'll replace it with a tilt unit. [ MUSIC ] Well, alrighty, you can go on up. [ MUSIC ] I bet these components haven't been out from under this Road Runner since it rolled out from the factory, and by the looks of things laying in the floor it's well overdue for an upgrade. Liking what I'm seeing. That went a whole lot better than what I was anticipating, and you know usually you've got that one bolt that kinda kicks your tail and I didn't really have one back there in the back.

(Joel)>> No everything went smooth on my end too. What do you think? We ought to get all this stuff cleaned up so we can get started on some of that shiny stuff.

(Tommy)>> Yeah, if you want to grab a jack, I'll grab a couple of boxes. Next up, it's out with the old and in with the new as we install the suspension in our '69 Road Runner.

(Tommy)>> You know it's easy to say that cars from yesterday have a feel all of their own whenever you're sitting behind the wheel, and you know whenever you hear the stories about people telling you how great they used to drive. Well, I've been curious in the past if they weren't wearing some rose-colored glasses. We've all seen those old movies when they're just riding down the road but they're doing this number, and that's on a Sunday ride. It's not that they drove bad, it's just whenever compared to modern times they leave a lot to be desired. Next thing I want to talk about is the sheer physical size. Just look at this stuff. It's heavy, and usually heavy cars aren't fast cars. Lastly this is a torque bar design front suspension commonly found in four-by-four pickup trucks. We all know that they handle like a sports car. So, to solve all those old car problems we've got a full setup from Reilly Motorsports. It's got a rack and pinion front steering unit for precise control with the steering wheel. The k-member is tubular, and that's got a couple of added benefits to it. One of them, you can tell that it's got a lot more clearance under the hood for those high-performance options. Also, the geometry on it has been changed from that original setup for better handling and steering. We also have coil overs on both sides so that we can dial in those corners as needed. Now this kit just about bolts right into place. However, you do have to remove just a couple of small brackets. [ saw buzzing ]

(Tommy)>> This is gonna require throwing some sparks and drilling out a few spot welds. After that we're gonna get our hammer on, manually and pneumatically. [ air chisel humming ]

(Tommy)>> Now this k-member bolts into the place that the original one came out of, and you're also gonna be using the factory hardware. Now these four bolts are kinda special. They've got this big bolstered end on them that helps line everything up. After you get all four of your bolts started by hand you can cinch them down. [ MUSIC ] [ drill humming ]

(Tommy)>> Next on the installation is you have to drill a couple of holes on each side of the frame rail. Then you can install your plate and hardware supplied in the kit. [ drill humming ]

(Tommy)>> Once we get our control arms in place, we need to head on over to the table to put some spring in our step. Who writes this stuff? I've got to assemble my coil overs real quick so that we can move on. With this Reilly Motorsports setup you've got a few options depending on your needs and your purpose that you're building the car. Now if you're gonna take one to the drag strip well you may be choosing something like what we've got, but if you're going to a road course, or maybe even a hot streetcar you may want to choose something different, but what's great about this whole setup is you have those options. [ MUSIC ]

(Tommy)>> With all these trick parts this isn't a final install. It's essentially a glorified mockup. We're wanting to make sure everything fits as it should, and we don't find anything odd. All these parts will be coming out for an engine bay makeover. [ MUSIC ] Now the last thing that I'm gonna be bolting on to the front end of our upgraded suspension here is gonna be the optional sway bar. If you were choosing to go down the path of drag racing with your build there's really no need for one of these and it's not a have to, and these things can also limit the amount of transfer of weight to the rear of the car. Plus, this big hunk of metal, it's kinda heavy. Now with our ride we are gonna stretch this thing out on the highway, and one of these is gonna give us benefit. I'm gonna go ahead and bolt this thing on, and then we can pretty much count all this done. After getting this Reilly Motorsports altercation front suspension in place it's easy to see that we have taken our Road Runner to the next level. Next on Detroit Muscle, we put some new shoes on our ride and check out the stance of our lean and mean machine.

(Tommy)>> While you guys were gone, I went ahead and finished up the suspension on our Road Runner, tackling the front and the back side. You may also notice that we've upgraded our rear axle. What we're running now is a Mosier Engineering Muscle Pack that we picked up from Summit Racing, and it is one trick piece. We wanted to keep it all Mopar. So, an eight- and three-quarter nodular center section was mandatory. We combined that with a Detroit Locker Tru Trac, custom alloy axle shafts, big bearing ends, and some big Wilwood brakes. Plus, we opted for the black powder coat. While we're on the subject of the brakes we're gonna jump on this end and take care of the front. Now our Road Runner from the factory came with drum brakes all the way around. These will stop you and slow you down, but whenever it comes to performance there's a lot better options out there. Also with our Reilly Motorsports setup, this front spindle is of the Mustang Two design, and that itself is gonna require us to upgrade the brakes. Now we went to Summit for a whole new setup. It comes with an aluminum hug that's gonna save us some weight. The brake surface is drilled and slotted, and we have six piston calipers. First order of business to getting these on is I need to install a bearing and a seal. [ MUSIC ] You know you've got a bearing, a washer, a castle nut, and a cotter pin, but I've got a question for you. How do you guys bend these things? Is there a right way, is there a wrong way? This is the way I was taught by my old man. It's neat and tidy. [ MUSIC ] With a high-end kit like this assembly usually goes pretty smooth. You've got a couple of brackets and few pieces of hardware, and so on. Plus, they've got good looks to boot. [ MUSIC ] Whenever it comes to setting the tone of the attitude of your ride your wheel choice has a huge effect on it. We wanted ours to make a statement like those of you walking around with a mullet. It needed to have business up front, party in the rear. So, we've got some narrow pizza cutters for the nose and some wide rollers for the back side. We've decided to go with a set of wheels from Billet Specialties. These Win Lites definitely look the part. They're engineered with high performance in mind, like their knurled bead lock that drastically reduces tire slippage. [ MUSIC ] [ drill buzzing ]

(Tommy)>> Combining these with a pair of Mickey Thompson ET Street SS tires ensures we'll have plenty of bite on the road or the racetrack. That's enough jawing for now. Let's get this thing on the ground. [ MUSIC ] [ drill humming ]

(Joel)>> Well Tom, I wasn't sure about this wheel and tire combo but now that we've got them mounted, I think she's gonna look pretty wicked.

(Tommy)>> Oh man yeah! I can't wait to see this thing on the ground. If you want to do the honors.

(Joel)>> You got it. [ MUSIC ]

(Tommy)>> This transformation will be some work, but with the sweat from our brow, a few high-performance components, this thing is gonna be one sweet piece of Detroit muscle when we're done. It's time to go home. If you want to learn about this build and a whole lot more visit Powernation TV dot com. We'll see you guys next time, and remember. Keep it between the ditches.
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