Purchased car for $500.00 in December of 2010 and on a whim I decide to participate in the "hot rod power tour". At that time I currently resided in Sparta, Mi where I was raised but still traveled for my job as a boilermaker. My father owned "Rogue River Automotive" for 38 years at that time. I had known about the car for approximately two years prior but I kept putting it off because, "who the hell wants a big ol four door"?. As time went on I finally decided to drive to Ohio in the middle of winter to take a look. I had even brought my father along for some company.
After nearly 4 hrs on the road, we had finally arrived with a sore ass and lungs chard with cigarette smoke. After getting out of the truck, all I could see is a beautiful front end sticking out of the snow bank. As I began to get closer, It was nothing like I had visioned. The metallic blue with black vinyl top sparked my interest because any 72 Coronet I had ever seen in the past was green on green or brown on brown, so on; and so forth. The drivers fender was rusted, quarters bashed, marker lights broke and I had to carefully open the door to avoid further damage. After opening the door, my jaw dropped! It literally looked like it had just rolled off the lot and had only 52,000 miles! Factory air, rear defrost, power trunk, 318 2bbl, 904 trans, etc! I had to rescue this car and I immediately threw down 500 bucks and said "that's the best I can do". The seller agreed and we began to start shoveling. A couple hours later we were able to get it on the trailer manually. Half the 318 was in the trunk along with the a/c. And off we went!
After arriving back to Sparta Mi, I just dropped the trailer and left the car on it.
At the time, I was currently working in Mobile, Al so I had to go back to work. The car sat for a couple months until I got some more time off.
After a couple of months I ended up taking a long weekend to come back to Michigan on a mission; to get it running. I had no idea what it was or even if the bottom end was still good so I crossed my fingers just for luck and put the engine back together in my father's shop. About 8 hours later, I was ready for ignition. After getting fuel to the carb it literally fired right up like it was running yesterday! No smoke, no mis, nothing! The damn thing didn't even have any exhaust leaks and already had dual exhaust with burnt out glaspacks. Oh my! Soon after I was on a test drive! Wow! The car drove out absolutely beautiful other than the good ol Mopar steering. I remember telling my father that it definitely needs a new gear box and he just chuckled. Once again I was back on the road to bama.
After another 3 months, I had a brain storm! I could do the body work, grab a for sale sign, and enter the hot rod magazine power tour. I immediately called "dad" and asked to borrow the shop for 6 days, he laughed.....and said "no way in hell can that be done in 6"! I said "watch me!" I worked 20 hrs each day and slept for 4! On day 7 that car was on I-65 south bound with the hammer down!
After hitting the Indiana line, I had a bear on my tail and thought to myself "¢№ck me!" 80 in a 70! What a prick! And off I went! After hitting the Bama line, the car stopped charging and was able to wheel in to a local orielys to purchase a new alternator and regulator. After nearly an hour, I was back on the road! I finally made it to the RV park in Theodore, Al. All my co-workers could not believe it.
I still had a month before the tour start in Cocoa Beach, FL so I figured I had plenty of time to do the finishing touches on blocking and buffing the body, add a 4bbl, etc. Yeeeaaah right! What I had thought was just valve float at upper rpm began to progressively get worse as I drove it back and forth to my job site, which ended up being two erased cam lobes. The following Saturday afternoon, my foreman gave me permission to rebuild the top end while lending a hand inside of the 165 ft storage tank we were building on the corner of daulphin island and Deer River Rd for Milard refrigeration.
I started the project at 3:30 that afternoon after working an 8 hr shift and was breaking in the new Lunati 262 at 11:30.
Not only was I under the gun over the car but I also had my mind set on a beautiful bar tender down the road from my RV park! ......and off I went to get a shower and off to "bill and Charlie's" bar I went! That little 318 was running like a scalded dog but the bar tender wouldn't give me the time of day... but the more Johnny I drank, the more courage I got!
Exactly two days later, the transmission let loose and boy was I pissed! So, I took a local guys offer to use his garage and after I pulled the pan, I found the band strut laying in all the nasty clutch material. I had no tools to pull off a tranny rebuild, nor did I have the time because the tour was like only two weeks away!
I ended up taking it to a local trans shop and had Dad ship me parts. Hours turned into days and days turned into a week before I called the shop. The guys response was " getting close, just trying to figure out the shift kit".....oh Lord! It's just a damn SK kit for Pete sake! 'Do you want me to come down and help" "I have to be in Cocoa Beach in 4 days"! .........2 days later......I get the call to pick it up! On the way back to the RV park I could feel the kick down rod holding the throttle back....now I'm pissed! It ended up being bent to hell and back, exhaust was loose, and Back to the shop I went the next morning! Needless to say, I never made Cocoa Beach in time but I ended up picking it up in Montgomery and stopped in Muskegon because Detroit was going to be a wash out.
A few years later my Father had passed and I could never part with the car. I ended up finding all the documents in the glove box, including the original window sticker, bill of sale, etc. The car cost was only 2,700 and change back in 72. The car is numbers matching and all original except my custom paint work, and hood. All interior, top, jam paint, original spare, full documentation, etc, and the car now has 60,000 original miles and the A/C will freeze you out! Over the years I have fine tuned many aspects including a GM HEI ignition and she still runs like a scalded dog!
Someday the car will be passed down to my oldest son who took his first ride in it leaving the hospital after he was born.
That bar tender that wouldn't give me the time of day is now my wife with 3 children and we have been together for 8 yrs now..... lol ...She always tells me that I dont need any more cars! Currently I have the 72 Coronet, 56 Chevy stepside , 66 Caprice, 70 monte SS, 79 Z28, 95 silverado Mark 3, and a 04 silverado Z71.........so to keep the piece I had to buy her a new 2018 gmc Acadia LT!..........no such thing as having too many! ..
The car was nicknamed the "Wannabee" because my father had told me to buy some "Super Bee" emblems and just cut the wings off and call it the "wanna bee" ✌️ R.I.P Dad!
Special thanks to:
Mom and Dad ( R.I.P, forever gone but never forgotten), Jimmy, Lisa, Eric, and Walt.