• When you click on links to various merchants on this site and make a purchase, this can result in this site earning a commission. Affiliate programs and affiliations include, but are not limited to, the eBay Partner Network.

My '66 Charger Saga So Far

More progress on the Charger, not long now until she is back on the road for the first time since ’86!

The paint is turning out great, and I think I managed to get pretty darn close to the factory Poly color. Took my time and was extremely meticulous cleaning out every nook and cranny on all the components. There were remnants of factory paint, then layers of oily dirt, then a hastily applied coat of “teal” paint that was a crude attempt at Chrysler engine blue. In some areas I was able to simply wipe off the teal paint with a rag due to having zero prep before application. That has all been undone, back to bare metal. Thoroughly cleaned, degreased, primed and painted to the best of my ability.

IMG_9473.jpg


IMG_9395.jpg


I have had some tins of One Shot paints for a while, and decided to apply some white to the timing indicator and the balancer. Even though the motor is timed from before disassembly, I have a feeling it may need a tweak now all the components are new and nice. Plus it just looks good having this done.

IMG_9470.jpg


IMG_9471.jpg


After pulling the old timing set, I thoroughly cleaned the block and painted the visible areas using the same method as the other components. I installed a new double roller timing set from Cloyes, as the old one had way too much slack in it. To the point that I am convinced it could likely have been the cause of the 3 bent pushrods. Pre lubed it, and go the fuel pump wobbly cup on too.

IMG_9412.jpg


I completed the dissembly of the tail light housing and trims. 4 of the screws were SEVERELY rusted and no removal effort I made worked. Even drilling them out was a battle, so I ended up slowly and carefully grinding the heads off of them. Managed to do it with almost no contact on the tail light housings, so I am pretty pleased with the result!

IMG_9472.jpg


My housings are suffering from some flaking of the reflective material inside. Like every other part I have touched so far, I will be refinishing them. I have a reflective silver paint that I will be applying to make sure they function properly and the light is nice and uniform.

IMG_9474.jpg


I also received the factory air cleaner and will be refinishing that soon as well. Anyone got a recommendation for a filter to drop in this thing? Came off of a ’66 Coronet. This is my first time working with this style of air cleaner. My ’59 had simple frog mouth scoops and I made filter inserts for them.

To anyone and everyone who has come this far in the story, thank you for following along!
 
After 18 hours of prep and painting...

I got the last of the engine components refinished, most notably the cylinder heads. I also picked up a pair of the "318 Poly" decals as I like the way they looked on a few other cars I saw in person. Next weekend is going to be the reassembly of the engine and I am VERY excited!

IMG_9543.jpg


I spent a lot of time refinishing the taillight assembly too. The reflective coating was flaking off from inside the buckets, so I spent a while removing the flakes then sanding everything to level out and smooth the surface. After getting them as smooth as possible I gave them a nice even coat of primer.

IMG_9530.jpg


You can see me in the background of that picture after 10 hours in 98 degree FL weather. I have seen the debate on white versus silver for the inside of the buckets, and decided I liked the idea of more of a "mirrored" finish since that is what the factory had. I have worked with "chrome" spray paints before and been nothing but disappointed, but I used a Rustoleum product and was actually pleasantly surprised at how similar the finish was to the original!

IMG_9550.jpg


I picked up new stainless 8-32 screws for the trims, as the PO had secured the old surrounds on with aggressive and incorrectly threaded rusty ones. I also added the new Detroit Muscle gaskets for the lenses which fit perfectly. At first I was unsure about them being white, but then when I saw where they sat I figured it made sense rather than having a black line around the lens.

IMG_9552.jpg


The lenses fit nicely, and from my reminded me of the huge improvement that the new ones made on the '59. I just wish they were the same price! Try $60 instead of $600... I am sure everyone on here already knows it but that Mopar Tax is real haha.

IMG_9554.jpg


The trims were surprisingly fiddly to get installed, but I got there in the end. I was being extremely careful not to mar the new lenses or chrome. lots of tweaking and adjustment later I got everything lined up relatively well. I did a quick test fit on the car and am pretty happy with the result. Have to pull it one more time to tweak a couple more things, including adjusting the trunk lid, but I am overall quite pleased with the improvement. The taillight now looks as good as the new rear emblem!

IMG_9558.jpg


Next weekend the wife is out of town again, so we are on to "Mission Rebuild a Poly" which should be fun! I have put tons of work in to make sure it is just right, and I can't wait to see how much happier it runs after all of the improvements. Stay tuned!
 
Big progress over the weekend, albeit thwarted by half a day of rain on Sunday. Got the surfaces cleaned and prepped, and dropped the new gaskets in place after a final inspection of everything that was about to be sealed up.

IMG_9620.jpg


A friend of mine came over and helped me lug the heads back on. I am genuinely thankful to the person who wrote the post explaining about how you can slide the rockers to the side to insert the pushrods. I was genuinely baffled until I came across that details, and it made things SO MUCH EASIER! With those in place, I got the heads torqued down to spec thanks to the info on poly318.com and they are there to stay. And yes, I used sealant on the threads!!

IMG_9623.jpg


I pre-lubricated all of the contact points in the valvetrain, then got everything covered up to keep out any dust and debris. I can't tell you how nice it is to have this engine in the correct color, and with 16 straight pushrods! I still need to go back and adjust the valves, but that will come after I get the front end assembled.

IMG_9641.jpg


After prepping the surfaces, on the block and heads, I dropped on the new gaskets and used some RTV in the appropriate places, then dropped the intake manifold down onto everything. Got it cranked down to spec with the new hardware, since the old bolts were extremely crusty. I went for Grade 8 with stainless washers to prevent the heads from tearing up the paint. I was not sure which of these bolts needed sealant, so I played it safe and used it on all of them.

IMG_9652.jpg


I got the new thermostat and housing installed, and the carb was already rebuilt from before the teardown so that just dropped right on as it is. I am thinking I may pull the coil back off and paint that bracket black, but we will see how I do on time.

IMG_9657.jpg


I dropped on the factory style air cleaner that I picked up on here to keep dust and debris out of the carb, but quickly my OCD kicked in and I pulled it back off to start stripping it back for paint so it can look as fresh as everything else on the engine. Turns out I had a K&N filter on the shelf that dropped right into this air cleaner, so that made things easy!

IMG_9663.jpg


I still have a couple more hours to put into stripping the rest of the air cleaner and getting it painted up, but I can see the finish line now! Next weekend will be the front end assembly and we should be close to ready for a first start after that.
 
Looking good !! Another red Charger on the road soon..

My back isn't thrilled with me at the moment, but I am determined to have it running very soon, and driving shortly after that. Should have some of the kinks worked out just in time for the weather to start cooling down!
 
I'm back! Sorry for the long lapse in communication. Work got crazy and I am now in the process of purchasing a home (with a garage finally!) Here is a super short recap of what I have done recently, I will hopefully get you some photos in the near future!

- I scrapped all the brake lines and the master cylinder, and installed a power/dual circuit one with new lines. Shoes and wheel cylinders appeared to be new aligning with PO's description

- I installed a new dash pad, defrost vents, glovebox and various dashboard hardware

- I re-keyed the whole vehicle so everything matches to one key now

- Completed the final install of the fully refurbished tail light assembly

- Got all of the lights working (mostly) reliably, that was a fun one...

- Adjusted the kickdown linkage and got the preliminary shakedowns taken care of

- Got out to the DMV and officially got her registered and insured

- Sent out the gauge cluster, tach sender, power pack, head unit, and headlight motors for a full service/rebuild up at Todd's Restorations

- Started the process of refurbishing the grill and polishing the miles of body trim

If you guys are interested in more info or specific pictures about any of the above, let me know!
 
Back once again, and this time with pictures! The car is really starting to come together now, and a couple of very cool things have come up. If any of you watch the show Two Guys Garage on Motor Trend, it looks like my car will be in a future episode!

IMG_2822.jpg


I replaced the power steering box, as it developed a very bad leak coming back from a show. That was loads of fun, but thankfully one of my friends came by to lend a hand lugging the thing into place. That let me get the car out to an AMAZING show that I am sure a lot of you have heard of, Mopars at Merits. So many amazing cars, and really valuable connections were made at that show. No I didn't win the 50/50, even though I got a B-Body's length of tickets...

IMG_3395.jpg


I mentioned in the previous post that I had Todd's Restorations redo my gauges, head unit, and headlight motors. Those are now back in my possession, installed, and working beautifully. Nice to finally be able to drive the car at night!

IMG_2373.jpg


I have also now nearly finished the quick refurb on the whole dash and center console. I am not aiming for perfect, but I had to clean about 10 lbs of dirt and other crap out of there. After peeling the weird veneer off of the center console as well, I polished and repainted everything. I also used a brushed aluminum vinyl to refinish the "ski slope", not bad for $8! I will eventually buy the proper repro ones, but only after I complete the 4 speed swap.

IMG_3601.jpg

IMG_3677.jpg

IMG_3767.jpg


Because of the TV show picking up the car, and progressing my 440/4 speed swap sooner than expected, I found an engine builder in Tampa and they are in the works on doing a full refresh on the motor. Should be a fun street build on a budget, but still done right! I can't describe how excited I am to get back to having a car with a clutch, it has been way too long.

IMG_3678.jpg


I was able to pick up the last missing trims for the wheel arches finally, as well as the near-impossible to find glove box catch, thanks to a local 66/67 expert Tony. The little details really add up on this car. I have been driving it more and took a couple of fun photos recently.

IMG_3744.jpg

IMG_3751.jpg


Anyway, thanks as always for reading along! Next up, I am replacing the blown out rear leaf springs. If budget allows, we may be looking at wheels/tires and lowering soon too...
 
Back once again, and this time with pictures! The car is really starting to come together now, and a couple of very cool things have come up. If any of you watch the show Two Guys Garage on Motor Trend, it looks like my car will be in a future episode!

View attachment 1671522

I replaced the power steering box, as it developed a very bad leak coming back from a show. That was loads of fun, but thankfully one of my friends came by to lend a hand lugging the thing into place. That let me get the car out to an AMAZING show that I am sure a lot of you have heard of, Mopars at Merits. So many amazing cars, and really valuable connections were made at that show. No I didn't win the 50/50, even though I got a B-Body's length of tickets...

View attachment 1671523

I mentioned in the previous post that I had Todd's Restorations redo my gauges, head unit, and headlight motors. Those are now back in my possession, installed, and working beautifully. Nice to finally be able to drive the car at night!

View attachment 1671524

I have also now nearly finished the quick refurb on the whole dash and center console. I am not aiming for perfect, but I had to clean about 10 lbs of dirt and other crap out of there. After peeling the weird veneer off of the center console as well, I polished and repainted everything. I also used a brushed aluminum vinyl to refinish the "ski slope", not bad for $8! I will eventually buy the proper repro ones, but only after I complete the 4 speed swap.

View attachment 1671525
View attachment 1671526
View attachment 1671527

Because of the TV show picking up the car, and progressing my 440/4 speed swap sooner than expected, I found an engine builder in Tampa and they are in the works on doing a full refresh on the motor. Should be a fun street build on a budget, but still done right! I can't describe how excited I am to get back to having a car with a clutch, it has been way too long.

View attachment 1671528

I was able to pick up the last missing trims for the wheel arches finally, as well as the near-impossible to find glove box catch, thanks to a local 66/67 expert Tony. The little details really add up on this car. I have been driving it more and took a couple of fun photos recently.

View attachment 1671529
View attachment 1671530

Anyway, thanks as always for reading along! Next up, I am replacing the blown out rear leaf springs. If budget allows, we may be looking at wheels/tires and lowering soon too...
Glad to see your back posting! I knew that was you on Reddit! Car looks great! What wheels are you using? Torque thrust D’s?
 
I noticed you said you installed a new dash pad. Where did you get it? How happy are you with the fit and finish? Thanks
 
Glad to see your back posting! I knew that was you on Reddit! Car looks great! What wheels are you using? Torque thrust D’s?
I believe they are regular ol' chrome Torque Thrusts, they were on the car when I purchased it. The 70s stance has grown on me but I'll be swapping them out for Wheel Vintiques Series 63s and factory dog dishes in the future for a bit more "all business" look.

I appreciate you chiming in on Reddit, tough keeping track sometimes but I do like posting here on the forums!
 
I noticed you said you installed a new dash pad. Where did you get it? How happy are you with the fit and finish? Thanks
This one was from PG Classic. The pad itself is very nice and looks right at home, however the hardware was not 100% accurately aligned so I had to do a little modification to get it installed. Not the end of the world, but would have been nice if it just bolted right in!
 
Your doing an excellent job on it!
Not everyone can do this stuff.
 
This one was from PG Classic. The pad itself is very nice and looks right at home, however the hardware was not 100% accurately aligned so I had to do a little modification to get it installed. Not the end of the world, but would have been nice if it just bolted right in!
Did you mention it to PG?
 
I didn't really think to. I am so used to the "adapt, improvise, overcome" mentality when fixing up these old cars I usually just slog through the issues and keep moving haha.
One of the fellows here had an upholstery shop vacuum form a vinyl skin on his pad. Lost some definition, but otherwise looked nice. This was before any replacements were available.
 
I believe they are regular ol' chrome Torque Thrusts, they were on the car when I purchased it. The 70s stance has grown on me but I'll be swapping them out for Wheel Vintiques Series 63s and factory dog dishes in the future for a bit more "all business" look.

I appreciate you chiming in on Reddit, tough keeping track sometimes but I do like posting here on the forums!
I just bought a set of Chrome Torque Thrust II's for mine. I went with 15" rims. Im going for that 70s look anyways.
 
I just bought a set of Chrome Torque Thrust II's for mine. I went with 15" rims. Im going for that 70s look anyways.
Nice! I would have sold you mine but I still need em for a while haha. The bill from the engine builder working on the 440 is definitely going to max out the budget so I can't jump and get the Series 63s just yet.
 
Auto Transport Service
Back
Top