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A Tribute to a Car

I sure am glad you didn't give in to the suggestions of making that Satellite a Roadrunner tribute car. Man what history so far Hawk! :popcorn:

And finishing the restoration just 4 hours before the show? :poke:
And finishing the restoration just 4 hours before the show? :poke:
Haha. Yeah, well, there are a number of folks (including many on FBBO) that will say that's my trademark. If I'm honest with myself, I do best when I put a timeline and pressure on myself to get things done. Then I will do whatever it takes to try and get it done. And, usually, quite a bit gets done because I am motivated to make it happen. A few car related examples where this has happened:
* Finishing the 73 Road Runner in time for the show, as described above.
* Getting the restoration of my 70 Road Runner done in August 2015 in time to drive it across country in September.
* Finishing getting the 416 stroker motor done on the 73 in time to drive it across country (OK, that was a fail, as I tried for September 2021. Covid ramped up, so I can use that as an excuse/ reason, but in reality the car really wasn't ready until May of 2022. More on that to come in future installments.)
* Getting the 500 stroker motor done and installed in my 70 Road Runner to do the Hot Rod Power tour
Haha. Yeah, well, there are a number of folks (including many on FBBO) that will say that's my trademark. If I'm honest with myself, I do best when I put a timeline and pressure on myself to get things done....
Did this song frustrate or motivate progress when it was inevitably playing somewhere in the background back then? lol

Did this song frustrate or motivate progress when it was inevitably playing somewhere in the background back then? lol


Actually, while Under Pressure may be applicable, I remember this particular song when I was in my garage doing some work on the car. It came on and I cranked it up. Of course, it has nothing to do with anything, but for some reason, I still remember that moment...
Neat story Hawk , my 67 has been with us for 16 yrs now.
My youngest grandson 12 takes care of it like he built it. :lol:
A Second First

So from the last installment the car restoration was finished. I now had a cool, running, driving car that worked well. I did have some issues, including a vibration that took me a long time to solve, but it didn't happen except for on the highway at certain speeds, so it wasn't on the critical list. I enjoyed driving it sparingly and doing some car shows and just family driving.

Below is a picture of me with my son at a car show. this is probably around 1998.

My son liked the car and I remember once when we drove from my in-law's house. We had two cars with us (my wife's and the Road Runner). My son wanted to be in the Road Runner but my wife was afraid of the two hour drive and the noise. But she gave in and my son (maybe 5 years old) sat in the back in his child seat. Probably 15 minutes into the trip, he fell sound asleep and I had to keep reaching back to try and sit him up since he was hunched over sideways! But he was content and enjoyed the ride!

By the way, I should mention that my father-in-law owns a speed shop. Cars he has been involved with own at least 9 NHRA national records, so I had access to any and all machinery (and knowledge) needed to upgrade the 340 engine. It needed a rebuild, so it got one, 'Hawk style'. My father-in-law tried to talk me out of it because he said it wouldn't be good on the street, but I knew better...

...well it sucked. The compression was too high and I had a single plane manifold on it. When I finaly listened to my father-in-law, he did a secret cut on the pistons to bring compression down to 9.33:1. Nowadays this is common, but it helped the quench area and made the combustion chamber effectively more compact so the flame wave didn't need to travel as far. The engine also got a dual plane manifold and other work to make cam and all parts work together. NOW it ran like a scared ape! That was a great lesson to me: All the hype about speed parts doesn't mean much unless you pair the right parts and combination to make the engine run well for its intended purpose!

Anyway, fast forward to 2010. My son is 16 years old. I decided that the Road Runner was really cool as my first car, so I gave it to my son as his first car. It was my first car, and now his first car! My wife was less than thrilled about her baby getting a hot rod with no airbags, antilock brakes, crumple zones, etc. to protect him. I promised her I would really teach him how to drive it, and I did. We even went to a high performance driving school together. The final day allowed use of our own cars, and we drove on a third of the Pocono raceway, along with twists and turns on the infield. My son reeled in a fox body Mustang in the rain with the big 'ol B body! I have a cool video of it, but I can't post those here. But trust me, it was fun to sit in the car and experience it. (The video doesn't convey the violence of the car in the turns, but it is still neat.)

Here is my son in the car a day or so after the car became his.

He brought it to some car shows to. Here we are at the Pypes car show. My best guess is this is 2011

After that (and at with my blessing), it became a daily driver for him - it was the only way he would build neat memories of the car. It saw snow and rain and sun and... ...whatever. (It did have a garage spot, so it didn't normally sit outside though.)


My son became quite a fixture at school. No one else had a bright yellow hot rod they could drive to school. He was well known for his car!
One story during the high school years: My son had school timing down to a science. He knew exactly when he needed to leave to get to school just in time. So he started the car at almost the exact same time every morning. My neighbors began using that in their timing to get ready for work. When the Road Runner started (with a roar), my neighbor knew he had to finish getting ready and get in their car to go to work!

My son drove the car through high school and then college. Then in his senior year in college, disaster struck. It was late 2016, and he was heading back to school. He was set to graduate in May of 2017. On his way back to school as he was on the highway, the engine threw a rod out the side of the block. The engine was totally destroyed.



Now remember, My father-in-law owns a speed shop. Labor is free and all machines needed are available. But the block was still toast. Yes, you can sleeve cylinders that got trashed, but the pan rail was also damaged. The number matching engine was gone.



Suddenly, my son's time with the car ended. He needed other wheels quickly, and there was no ability to rebuild an engine quickly enough to get this going - just finding another 340 block is hard enough.

So in early 2017 the Road Runner entered a period of slumber...

Next: The resurrection
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The “secret cut” in the pistons for more compression done by your father-in-law?

And high performance driving school with your son?

This car is growing on me more and more.
The Resurrection

The Road Runner sat from 2017 through 2021. We were incurring storage fees, and my son approached me and said that he wanted to give the car back to me, as he was not in a position to do what was needed. First, he had no funds to do the work required, but he also didn't have a place to put it due to him living in the city. He did not want to sell the car as is; he would feel better if I made whatever decision regarding the car's future. I had found a replacement block at Carlisle circa 2018 and bought it. It was a standard bore used block, and it just so happened that it was cast 2 days prior to the original block. So as a replacement block, it was as good as you can get.

Here it is in storage

In 2021 I decided that I needed to get the car on the road. So I drug it out of the storage unit and started working on it.

The engine build is well documented in other threads here on FBBO. Short story is since I had to buy a crank and rods, I built it into a 340 stroker displacing 416 cubic inches. My 'budget build' ended up being a blueprinted stroker with aluminum heads! It was at the beginning of the build that I decided to take this car on a cross country trip, similar to what I did in 2015 with my 70 Road Runner.

While it was out, I rebuilt the whole front suspension, went through rear brakes and all functionality issues. Once the car was running, I finally managed to solve the long time vibration issue. It turned out to be related to my rear axle and upgrading the leaf springs (which didn't fit with the ISO suspension). I deleted the ISO suspension, put shims in it, and solved the issue. Along the way, I also added a Gear Vendor's overdrive so the car could handle the duties of driving cross country.

We took it on a three day excursion to skyline drive and the car performed well, except it was under-carbureted with a 600 CFM Edelbrock.

Based on that trip, I rebuilt and installed an 800 CFM Thermoquad out of a 400. Essentially the next day, we finally headed out on our 2 month cross country trip in May of 2022. The car really performed well. We had a caliper and master cylinder issue early on in the trip, along with a tire that tore the internal bands and got a lump (had to replace them). These were all things that hadn't been touched during the car's 'hibernation', so these issues were not unexpected. But we got them addressed and had a great time.

Here are a couple of shots from the trip.





After we got back, it was time to think about what to do with the car. I started driving it frequently to my father-in-law's shop, but I was noticing that it's years of use were starting to take a toll on the body - rust was coming back and had to be addressed.

I was mull this over for a year before...

...The Sale
Hawk, did you ever dyno that 340 after you stroked it?

And this pic you posted...man o man is that a sweet shot :)

Hawk, did you ever dyno that 340 after you stroked it?

And this pic you posted...man o man is that a sweet shot :)
No, it was never put on a dyno. It has low(er) compression (9.4:1), so it was built to be a driver, not a huge horsepower beast that will win bragging rights. But I believe the torque curve is very flat and quite impressive. It really is a joy to drive, both around town and on the highway. I guess it is around 400 HP and maybe 450 lb ft of torque. Of course, that is just a 'seat of the pants' guess, and I am trying not to inflate it to stroke my own ego. Regardless, the car really is a joy to just drive.

Thanks for the comment about the shot. We had a number of great pictures and memories during the trip. It's hard to pick one, but that one certainly ranks amongst the top for sure!
The Sale

Thanks for those of you that have hung around for this story. This is the final chapter (at least for me). If nothing else, it has been therapeutic for me to write about it.

So after the trip across country, I continued to enjoy driving it, especially by taking it up to my father-in-law's occasionally. But the fact that it had been exposed to weather, and even salt when my son had it as his daily driver, had taken its toll. In fairy tales, the car gets beautifully restored and everyone lives happily ever after. But this is real life, and I simply did not have the money to pay someone to do the bodywork required. I can do everything else but I can't do bodywork and paint. Maybe one day I can learn, but I have to be realistic and recognize my limitations.

I care about the car too much to just let the rust continue to eat it away. At this point, it has several rust spots. None (to my knowledge) are terrible to repair, but left alone they will continue and eventually run havoc with the car. So this left me with just one realistic choice to make sure I did the best for the car: sell it. I didn't want to be 'that guy' who has a car rot away in his yard, refusing to sell it because "one day I'll restore it".

After the Power Tour I got the car ready and planned to sell it at Carlisle. I collected all the parts that would go with the car. Here are some of them, although the spare doors didn't fit in the picture. I also found more parts after this picture was taken. Basically almost everything that was 73 Road Runner specific would go along with the sale.

Once at Carlisle, I parked the car with the 'For Sale' sign. In the best case, I hoped that the buyer would be someone that really cared for the car. I didn't want a flipper or someone who I didn't feel would be a good caretaker for the car.

Reality exceeded my best hopes. Not only do I feel the buyer will be a great caretaker for the car, but he is a young enthusiast in his upper 20's. Score!!!

At Carlisle, we had made a conditional sales agreement, pending a successful test drive. The new buyer came to my house a week later to make sure the car drove as nicely as I said it did. He was very pleased with the drive and said it drove even nicer than he expected. The deal was finalized and my car got a new owner.

After he left, I had a lot of emotions. I knew this was the right decision, but it was still a hard one to make. There was now an empty spot, both in my garage and my heart.

However, the new owner had entered the car into a car show. So this past weekend, I drove up and visited with him and his family. I got to hang out with them for the show and felt even better about the way everything turned out.

I truly hope and wish that the new owner enjoys the car as much as I did. As long as he wants to, I will continue to keep in touch with him and will help him with the car any way I can.

So maybe I didn't lose the car - perhaps I instead gained another car friend??? :drinks:
Hawk, thanks again for your story. After seeing the final chapter starting to unfold at Carlisle, I'm pleased to see it finished with an ending that looks good for all involved. As has been stated many times on this site, we are all just caretakers along their journey. It's definitely easier, and a whole lot more fun, to acquire the good ones, than to let them go. Hope the rest of us can do as well as you did when the time comes.
Hawk, thanks for bringing us along for the ride and seeing the your 73’s history.
If that car could talk I’m sure it would thank you for all the care you took and how it was included intimately as part of your family.
I like how you came to the decision in the end. A hard one to do but I can stand behind it. The heartbreak is inevitable with a history like that no doubt.
But big picture here…you did right by all - you, your family, the car, the new owner and now us here on FBBO with the story and memory.
Thank you again. Good stuff man.