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The GTX (1969 Plymouth GTX)

Rich H.

Well-Known Member
Local time
2:45 PM
May 30, 2017
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Southeast Michigan
My name is Rich, and this is my 1969 Plymouth GTX.
There are many of them like it, but this one is mine.
I have had it for awhile.

The only reason I call it "The GTX", is because.....that's what I have always called it.
Not because I'm trying to say mine's more special than anything else.
It haven't ever applied a human name to it, but I will openly admit to having a talk with the car from time to time.

I was probably 2&1/2 or 3 when my sister came up to me excitedly "Richie! Dad got a new car! Come see".
We went outside and saw Dad had bought a brand new, beautiful shiny green '68 Road Runner.
Sister pointed to the bird on the door...
"Look! It's the ROAD RUNNER!". I was awestruck. My sister and I bounced on the springy
front bench seat and beeped the horn...She pointed at the bird on the horn pad.
We beeped the horn enough times that Mom told us to quit.

How he acquired it, and some of the things that happened with it are fun personal stories I'll save for later.

It's an overused cliche', but a person could say "the die was cast" and they wouldn't be too far off.

When I got to driving age, Dad was going to help me get a car and asked what I wanted. For awhile I had no idea.
I found a car I really loved (although at the time I did not relate it to the experience of him owning a similar car), and showed him a picture in the Auto Trader (remember those?). "1969 GTX, 440 4 speed, $2800" (with a picture of said vehicle).
Dad laughed...."440 4 speed?? No G__amn way! You'll kill yourself!"

I gave up and said, well it took me a week to find that one and I don't know what else I want...so whatever you approve of is what I'll get.

Soon after that, I was the proud owner of an air cooled VW, LOL.
It figured. Dad was way into them at that time and had built a couple.
It had a clean body, was 300 bucks and was and about to die mechanically. Smoke was pouring out of it
as we got home. First swapped in a used engine then built another, my first build.
I did nothing but learn from that car....right up until the point I just didn't want it anymore.

(Dad was right....I did some very questionable things in the VW, that a '69 GTX would not have allowed to happen without serious incident)

There were a pile of other vehicles, a couple of them notable mopars, especially my 68 Charger which maybe I can talk about later.

By the late '80s I'd been to the Mopar Nationals and other shows with a friend and had taken the Charger there. Drove it. Was pretty heavily influenced by those experiences, watching drag racing, enjoying it but not understanding as much as I wanted, checking out cars and parts for days on end. Soaked up the entire culture like a sponge and met some really cool people along the way. Started reading the Direct Connection books and was pretty impressed that Larry Shepard tried to tell people how to achieve goals. Even then Shep's sales pitch was obvious as it was clear those same parts were available other places....but still....it was cool and very helpful.

The friend acquired a roller GTX from another friend or acquaintance and had big plans for it.
The car had no hood, no engine/trans/seats/original axle was gone and replaced, and the biggest problem was
it had obviously been rusted pretty badly, then repaired with metal/pop rivets and bondo, and then painted Do-Do Brown, then aged badly almost to failure again.
(It was really root beer brown metallic, and in retrospect maybe not that horrible). Of course, it was Rattle can black underhood.
In areas the painter missed or where paint was flaking off, original a4 silver was easily seen.....bodywork skills are one thing but how do you go from
silver to brown? It had most of the factory 4 speed parts still in it, but some idiot had cut the trans tunnel out with a torch so it was missing that part.
The story I was told was that people thought it was junked and lost the drivetrain/trans tunnel, then after that someone pieced it together for awhile with other parts
and they did the brown paint job, budget backyard hot rod. Well okay, it is what it is.

The fender tag was gone, thanks to the previous owners. As best we could ascertain the original configuration was:
Lynch Rd build, 440 4 speed, A4 silver, black vinyl roof. The roof was still there and not in bad shape other than
an area that appeared vandalized/cut with a knife. We both believed it probably had a black interior originally as the inner/upper doors
were factory appearing black....however the car had silver windlace which looked very
original, so that may have been either a factory error or something that was changed. The K frame and front end was under it, later
a guru told me the K frame date code appeared correct. It had 11" drum brakes, which would mean
default to 3.54 Dana axle given the rest of the equipment it had. It had PS (still had the box in it), but manual brakes.
It was missing the radio but had one shredded OE speaker so probably just AM.
It had the map light and although the dash wiring was a mess it did have remnants of ignition light, so light package. It had window sill trim/cant remember if that was standard.
I've found no evidence of it ever having console brackets welded to the tunnel, so must assume no console.

I'm sure it was built with the same lower body trim like all 69 GTXs were (but that was gone/holes filled in and never replaced).

One thing messed me up....it had the air grabber cable and "carb air" lever mounted to the dash.
Years later I learned it did not have the air grabber hood originally because there was no proper/factory hole in the firewall for a cable.
Not long after that was learned, I pulled and broke the date-coded (but horrible condition) windshield and found remnants of the organisol hood stripes under
the windshield gasket. So, it had standard performance hood with the block-off panels/no air grabber, but it did have the hood stripes.

I've consulted with a Lynch Rd guru who I highly respect, he is confident the car was built with 15" wheels based on the markings
inside the trunk lid. He's advised it had September 7th 1968 Scheduled production date, based on sequence number comparison.
The only thing I have not been able to ascertain with his help + doing archeology on the car is, what color the stripe
below the original trim was. That one detail will remain anyone's guess.

All in all it was a little of a cheaper combo as GTXs go.

Being an early 69 model year build, I have later come to accept the silver windlace it had as a factory error, and feel pretty confident it had
a black interior based on the inner door and inner quarter paint......but would leave that open to anyone in the future to try to interpret.

......Not that I was ever super concerned about any of that "original" stuff, as it was too far from that.
They're only original once and that ship had sailed.
I've always seen the car as more of a platform to modify, personalize and have alot of fun with....Today I want to
show some respect to the original build but still do my own thing.

Getting back to ancient history:
One day my friend said he found a 440 and 727 for the GTX, and asked could I help him go get it?
Turned out he'd found a $100 '73 New Yorker that ran and drove in the rougher neighborhoods in Detroit.
The triple green New Yorker was rusted dangerously bad on the underbody (more later), and the exterior rusted clear to the roof.....but sure enough it did still
barely run and drive. We went and grabbed it. I was pretty excited for my friend because by that time he had not turned too many wrenches, seemed to want to dive in, and I was looking forward to his journey.

A couple years went by and he had not touched it other than collecting a few parts and other cars. One of them was a '70 GTX, factory plum crazy 440 4 speed car, but rusted
almost in half.....Today it definitely would have been restored, but back then it was parted out.

Long story short one day he told me he was losing his storage facility where the cars were kept and wanted to get rid of them, would I be interested in any of it?

Oh boy.

I bought the GTX, the New Yorker, a gold metallic 6 pack hood he'd got from a swap meet, and the front+rear seats from the now-gone '70 GTX.
The price was 4 digits, and was a good deal but was alot to me at the time. Now, it's less than what those "incorrect for the car" front seat cores cost.

Problem was, like my friend, I really had nowhere to work of my own and did not want to store all of it. So I pulled the 440 and 727 out of the New Yorker
outdoors, in the dirt driveway of friend's storage, using nothing but hand tools, in November in Michigan. Fighting snow and plenty of mud at the same time
I'd arrived with a U-Haul tow behind cherry picker hooked up to my total beater '69 Chrysler 300 to get it done.

I had the New Yorker on jackstands and had just pulled the engine and trans, and heard a terrible screech/loud groan.
Not an hour after I'd been underneath it, the front subframe had ripped the structure out of the vehicle entirely as the attachments along with the subframe itself were rusted that bad. The car literally broke in half right in front of me. I am not a C body hater (I've owned several and was driving a 300 at the time), but that one was the perfect drivetrain donor! The junkman picked it up not long after.

The 440 and 727 both went right into the trunk of the 69 300....which, in itself is a concept.....And I drove it home to my parents' house.
The GTX arrived later.

I hated the brown color so much, there are no pictures, at all, of the car as-received way back then.

The first thing I did was sand it down and shoot some primer on it. It was PPG acrylic lacquer in red oxide, not far from what the factory used. "Red Lead".
My Dad had spray gun and compressor but I couldn't work on the car in the garage, ever.....smaller items like the engine were ok
but not a whole car. That really never stopped me... I did what I needed to do outside and that's where the car lived.

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The '73 440 was my second engine build ever. It was sludged up bad, crank needed to go .010-.010. I deglazed it, cleaned everything up and did rings and bearings. It had mismatched heads on it, one 346 head and I forget the other one. I had a valve job done at a local machine shop. By then I'd studied other cars and the Direct Connection manuals enough to know I wanted to pursue the 13.5 second package as I didn't want a race car, wanted to drive it anywhere anytime.

I strongly understood the importance of all lower end clearances. I followed Sheps advice on how to a degree a cam as well as I could, and it seemed difficult back then. I wanted the recommended basic parts- MP 484 cam, springs, Street Dominator intake and 750 carb......but I couldn't afford the intake and carb at first and tried to get it going with the stock TQ, and that didn't work out.

Errors? Plenty!
I thought I was doing myself a favor by installing Fel pro 8519 head gaskets instead of stock style.
I'd listened to car show people who said stock HP manifolds were as good as headers (after all they worked fine on their show car).

I couldn't believe how little torque the engine had. Sluggish.
I then learned about ignition curve, or in this case almost...the lack thereof....really woke it up.
It still seemed like something was missing, though. Wanting something easy and cheap I tried a regular stock dual plane intake instead of the street dominator. It helped very very slightly. By then I had seen race cars with air pans and tried my own crude version.

It also had a strange vibration.

Not having alot of funds I rattle canned the engine bay black, again.
Doing that helped me plan the next step.

The awesome HP manifolds I bought separately are on this version of the engine. The Mallory dual point was $50 brand new on a sale at a long gone local speed shop, where I later ended up working for awhile. Also shown is a hacked-in-with a few homemade brackets 22" radiator because my 26" had sprung a leak and I wanted to keep driving the car. Those Moroso valve covers were $75 at Mancini Racing. I tried running two breathers but ended up with that funky red pcv valve after noticing moisture build up on the dipstick, during cold weather use.

This was the last set of yellow plug wires I ever bought and was over 30 years ago.
I disliked them from the moment they went on, but they worked.

440 firstpic.jpg
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By now I'd enrolled in college to study automotive technology. This is important as the knowledge gained there helped me figure out what was going on and helped with career later.

The car started right up and ran okay, but didn't make much power...whatever.....
First thing was the awful vibration. turned out the new yorker had a zero balance torque converter installed.
I bought a B&M flexplate for 80 bucks and that fixed the vibration. Huge success. Immediately started driving the car very often.

Decided to chase the bodywork, wanted to do it right...asked around for help, couldn't really get any. I didn't have welding capability, my Dad, although a uaw trained master mechanic, had a phobia against welding at home. Decades later I found out Dad had good reason....it came from hearing about a co worker losing his house and some of his family to a horrific welding related fire.

Really wanted to do it anyway, had no other resources, so I cut out what I could and patched it together the same way it had been before....with whatever metal I could find, pop rivets and bondo.

The best I could hope for was to be a slightly higher quality butcher than the last one.

I slowly did what I could while driving the car. I couldn't afford 2k products other than filler, but still the learning experience was valuable.

Come what may, and very importantly it would no longer be Do-Do Brown!!
From the moment I painted the engine bay black, I decided that was the color for the whole car.
What helped the decision: Finding out black was also the least expensive color: AHA!
Also: I'd tried to touch up the paint on the Charger, and had zero confidence in my ability to work with metallic paint. Pretty much guaranteed I'd screw up silver if I attempted it, then hundreds would be down the drain to sand it all off. My Dad had shot silver as by then he'd moved on from VWs to a 911 project car, but he would simply not help me LOL.....He knew once he started I wouldn't let him off the hook.

Income was always a problem. I remember being happy to have 15 bucks left at the end of a week to go buy a few sheets of sandpaper and some rattle can primer. The charger (in the background) had it's own demands as well and I was still driving it too.


I'd done the best work I could at the time, rounded up all my supplies and waited until the day of a remote family gathering to make sure I'd at least have the driveway to myself, I went to the gathering and announced I was leaving early to go home and paint the GTX, and wish me luck. Went home, masked it off and shot it in PPG lacquer right then and there in the driveway. The biggest problem I had was cottonwood flying through the air. Later I sanded and polished it by hand (as I'd previously burned through a spot on the charger and swore off using a wheel)

I'd always known, deep down, that a car did not have to be perfect to be totally badass, lots of fun, and something to learn on. Now I had proof.

Even at that young age, I knew the trick was keeping it going over time and not losing passion/interest.

It's great today to look back and say, that's my first paint job. It's not perfect but I did it myself and learned alot.

Notice the vinyl top trim is still there, but I painted the roof.

gtx first paint.jpg

gtx first paint2.jpg
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I hit the local main drag more than once. OK, a million times.
'80s Corvettes were the easy target for me. However I got beat several times too.
It just did not seem to have the torque it should have had.

So I got back into the engine.

Not wanting to invest hundreds (that I didn't have) in lab equipment I devised my own method to measure combustion chambers using large ML syringe, grease and plexiglass. I tore the heads off the engine, and sure enough it came out to about 7.5:1 with the composition gasket. Oopsie.

Had the heads milled .060, and bowl blended them myself using advice from the MP template kit and magazine articles. Installed with OE/MP steel shim gaskets. By then I'd studied enough to know all that stuff the show car guys said about HP manifolds being as good as headers was a lie, and went with headers. Rigged it to the existing exhaust best as I could, it was rough looking but it worked.

Also I'd driven the car enough, daily, and stored it outdoors enough that the chrome valve covers rusted around the bolts. Lesson learned. When those went, I never went back.

If we go all the way back to the beginning you'll notice mention of Mopar Nationals....there was also Englishtown, and the Milan dragway Mopar event, one in Canada I've forgotten the name of, and others. I bought my 484 purple shaft from Mancini Racing at a local show. Needless to say I did not want "just a driver" which the car was....including at one point where it was my daily. For a long time I'd dreamed of running at the local track. Eventually that happened, and what I'd worked for was a reality. Amazing times.

Besides the wheels which I messed with off and on, there is something different about the car.
You probably won't pick it out so I'll say it, it now has a vinyl top.
As it turned out, not only was my prep work on the roof pretty bad...but the 1k materials I used began to fail from the sun, noticeably within a year or two. My repair was to put the vinyl back on and cover it all up, and it looked like it belonged there.....because it actually did. I installed the top myself, an adventure to say the least, but I would not be stopped. Could not send it out to somebody for every little thing, and wanted to learn. Best way to learn is by doing. If you mess it up, then you also learn how to fix it. I'm still like that but would love to have some help being a little older now...

Also very Oddly the high back seats also seem to have disappeared somehow in the picture.
By now I was pretty active in the forums and had met a guy named Corey who had a 70 GTX, but had 68 seats in it. I knew the 68 frames and tracks were at least the same design as my 69 was supposed to have, closer to what I wanted....so we traded even up + he threw in the door panels. This was a crazy deal to do, as Corey lived in Kansas, so we both shipped basically a huge tractor box truck freight with everything in it. It all worked out in the end. Corey fell off the radar but it would be cool to hear from him.

All deals, but especially Internet deals on parts were amazing back then. The internet itself was only a few years old.
Everything seemed wide open.

My first day ever at the track, I managed 12.96 at like 105mph.
To just start off with legit 12s was a point of pride, given the humble origins of it all.
Also drove it to the track, changed tires, emptied the trunk and went to town.
Didn't have a trailer or a truck, so I had to chase it some other way.

In short, I had a blast and learned alot.

Eventually with a couple other changes I got it to run 12.50s at106mph, on DOT tires and through the exhaust. It did take years of playing with it and at times I just drove it and had fun, not really caring about chasing et. Fuel was always pump gas, because I still had less than 9:1 in spite of milling the heads.
This was still pretty accurately...the textbook 13.5 second direct connection package, LOL.

For those who don't know, 12:50 probably does not sound like much, but the car does feel pretty great to drive in my opinion. All feelings I had of sluggish bottom end, awful vibrations, "where have I gone wrong with this build?" were pretty much gone. I enjoyed it in this basic configuration for a LONG time and I loved it. I would take the car out and just wail on it, and it was awesome. It still is. To me it is still the simplest and easiest fun street car formula that stands the test of time, and requires nothing very exotic.

To those who say smog 440s can't run, I always point to this experience, and say "ok, whatever".
Sure you can build one with 11:1 that will run a whole lot harder, and then I can build one with 13:1 that will run harder yet....to that, I say SO WHAT....sometimes the fun and the challenge is working with what you have.

Being able to enjoy the hobby on some level, on a limited budget or whatever budget is available, is to me
a hell of a lot of fun. However, at some point, the concept of raising the bar always comes up. If not raising the bar, then just making improvements and pushing some kind of evolution. I know I'm I'm not alone in my belief most of us do everything better the second time than the first. Sometimes the third time's a charm.

Super active in the forums back then..... This forum wasn't around yet.

The weird looking horn button in the last picture is a story in itself. Every little thing has a story. It's kind of ridiculous.

440 near last.jpg

Signature pic.jpg

Nick Parisi: Photo

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Though still on a meager to non existent budget I enjoyed looking for the next reasonably inexpensive tenth to shave off the ET.
Made alot of friends and really great people on the forums (important to note Nick, a great guy credited above in the pictures, as he used to meet me at the track,
help me change tires, take pictures and make the car look way better than it actually was, etc)...These folks eventually had a big influence in life as a whole.

Among others, there was a person called 451Boy who I originally knew from the Mopar Muscle forums, but as we all did he'd branched out into others and moved on when MMF failed.
451boy would often post controversial things like the MP cams aren't really all that amazingly great (how could that be true when everyone knew they were awesome?).
He also was one of the many stock exhaust manifold afficionados. He said things like try using steel industrial fittings for car plumbing to save money.
You could tell he put alot of thought into what he posted, and even if you didn't agree with what he said he at least brought up an intelligent counterpoint to the common belief system
at the time resulting in a lot of discussion. Years later there were occasions he'd prove his older assertions only partially true, through his own testing...the MP cams being the most
notable, and always requiring a re-think. The point was, he was somebody who was always thinking about the hobby looking for ways to improve the breed.

One very interesting thing he posted was "The 451 Manifesto", regarding the past popular 451 low deck engine config. If you can find it, check it out.
a few years after he posted it, the pistons for the 451 became shelf items at a couple suppliers.
When that happened I started looking into it and it all sounded great. Over time I decided to let this mystery guy become an influence.
I knew his real name by then....

451boy disappeared, then some guy named AndyF started posting almost the same kind of material. Didn't take long to see it was the same person.
Awhile before that Andy started shipping lots of parts to me in MI from OR to check out, to get a response and ask if I thought people would be interested.
He sent some great stuff. This later became AR Engineering, and for a time I was a dealer for their parts which also helped my progress in the car hobby greatly.
He started writing magazine articles a little while later.
My association with Andy has been great from the beginning. He's still a great resource for me on the topics he has dealt with.

By now I had branched out a little.
I had done some brake and chassis repair on old mopars and built a couple street engines for local people.
I'd collected a few tools, was pretty confident in my knowledge of
right and wrong in the items I was working with, and was much cheaper than their other potential sources LOL. This was important as I got alot of experience helping other people
out and they also threw me a few bucks during a time when making decent money seemed an uphill battle.
They were friends that I have mostly lost track of.

As far as the GTX went, I wanted to raise the bar, more into something I could grow and evolve into (rather than something I felt was nearly tapped out for power without a complete overhaul).
The 440 did not even act tired or as if anything was wrong, it drove around just fine and ran the same ETs as ever.

So I saved up forever, started acquiring parts when deals were available/a little at a time , and eventually built myself a 451 low deck.
To give an idea of the timeframe, the tipping point for the build was very first availability of the Edelbrock Performer RPM heads.

When I say I built it, I mean I physically did everything except machine work and balancing.

I found an ad on one of the forums for a plain old greasy '72 400, brought a tool kit and went to check it out.
I explained to the guy that all I really wanted was the block. He wasn't asking much for it to begin with, but negotiated down
a little once I explained I'd take it apart then and there and leave what I wasn't going to use, for him to sell later.
After I got it I found out what it was, I felt like I hit the jackpot.


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So, the combination started out as follows.
(As before I kept testing and changed bolt on parts after improving horsepower trends were observed.... which happened during two chassis dyno tests)
The intake, carb and headers from the list below were all swapped eventually.
I found about 20RWHP in carb spacers with the first intake manifold, eventually leading me to install a taller manifold in the first place.

72 400 block, stock main caps
Arp main studs
440 forged crank, ground M.125/R.030, counterweight mods by me
1/2" oil pickup/various oiling mods
Moroso deep pan
Melling HV oil pump, modded by me
Milodon windage tray
Manley H beams
Diamond pistons
Zero Deck/10.75:1 (measured)
Speed Pro std tension file fit moly rings
Mopar Performance bronze dist drive/HD oil pump drive
Custom ground cam from fast68plymouth/Porter Racing heads, rated specs are 262/[email protected], .631 lift on 110
(Dwayne had become very influential by that time, it was clear he knew his stuff and you needed to pay attention to what he said)
E heads with very light amateur (me) cleanup, hand lapped, backcut intake valves, guide rework, and milled .035
1.5:1 Comp steel rockers
Custom length, one piece pushrods from fast68plymouth
El-Cheapo St Dominator intake, flow tested by Brad Haak
(Brad was in an older Mopar Muscle article, I met him on the forums and he later became a friend and influence as well. Have not heard from him in awhile).
1" open spacer with 1" 4 hole spacer on top
Old Barry Grant 850 annular carb
ARengineering throttle linkage and return spring setup
Rusty chrome box/ancient Accel super coil/recurved MP distributor
1&7/8 Hooker Comps/3" compression bent exhaust to the axle/H pipe/Aero Chamber mufflers

Same driveway as before.

My beloved and very rusty 78 Fury station wagon shown, bringing the machined block home.

Around the time of this build I started approaching magazines about maybe contributing some articles.
I spent hours writing an article about the engine build and putting the info together.
Turned out it might have worked...but my photography wasn't up to their standards.
The floppy disc Sony Mavica I had at the time was about all I could afford, so that was pretty much the end of that venture.
Now? A 7 year old smartphone takes higher quality pics.

Nick (same friend who took the burnout pic) showed up to check out the built engine one day.

I have pics of a few of the components, close ups of the heads, pistons and connecting rods, etc.
I wish I'd taken pictures of my work with hand held power tools on the crank counterweights, as I thought they came out quite clean for an amateur.
I took a few pics of the completely built engine on the stand at that time, but sadly can't find them at the moment. Maybe later.

The engine painting method shown, as well as the material itself (PPG 3116, enamel shot with a spraygun) was heavily influenced by
Steve Dulcich's approach....Steve at the time was a very prolific Mopar tech article writer for magazines, and was massively influential to folks like myself.
I still point to his materials from the late 90s/early 2000s as a great source of info. Later I changed up the engine painting methods
and have a few different approaches to it nowadays, but he got me started along an improved path.





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I wanted to make sure it was good, so first thing I did was my a chassis dyno test.

Quadruple thanks again to my friend Nick who helped me out again, not only had a former classmate of his opened a dyno shop which I got into,
but there is a video he took which has been preserved all this time.

Over a decade later I created the hashtag #ZIPPYSWEDGE to help me find my own material I'd put out there LOL.

It was in the high 400s for wheel horsepower, many told me the numbers must be bogus (whatever), the AF was safe at WOT/important, but something weird happened....I kept adding carb spacer to the point of stupidity, and it kept picking up. Like 3" tall was significantly better than none. This was my first clue the street dominator, although very good, was compromised at WOT for this combo.

Data noted.....took the car to the track, and went 11:70s that day. I believe it was 11:78. Super happy.

Went back to the track again.
Started planning the outing, and my friend Dean, another GREAT guy I knew originally from the forums but became friends in real life with,
wanted to help me out by trailering me there (I'd always driven the car).
Long story short....basically the car did not work, at all.
It would not go straight. Felt like I was going to crash at any time.
I looked at everything, couldn't find anything wrong, and out of frustration finally ripped the whole front suspension off.
When I got the lower control arms off, the tubes in the K member were broken.
Later I wondered if our trailer tie-down method is what broke them but can't prove or disprove it.

Remember the guy who I bought the 400 block from? His name is Todd.
Turned out Todd had alot of the tools, knowledge and experience that I desired, including welding capability.
Little did I know Todd's true technical prowess expanded far and wide...well beyond this, which I found out later.
I prepped the broken tubes, Todd came over with his welding rig, he did some minor final prep to the parts which I watched closely
and he welded them. Been fine ever since. Todd has become a great friend of many years.

FINALLY was able to go back to the track.

Drove the car to the track...Was able to get into the 11.50s with some minor miscues (this was VERY different to drive than the old hydraulic cam 440).
I had to relearn the car and couldn't really do it in street driving conditions. This session wasn't all that great as I only got
one run in, sat there for hours, and finally gave up. Actually had been sitting in the staging lanes waiting for one oildown after another
to be cleaned up, Nick got in and I drove the GTX to the nearest Arbys. We had our meal, went back to the lanes, and the line
had barely moved. Just gave up and went home at that point...

Then I sealed the air cleaner to the scoop, a project in itself, detailed back in the day on the forums.
With that change and also learning how to drive the car slightly better, I took the car back to the track again.
Dean, wanting to be a good friend and help just in case something broke, loaned me his trailer AND his truck.
This time he was not able to attend and just handed me the keys and told me to have fun.
This accomplished two things:
1. It went 11.24 at 119.3 (The sealed air cleaner did not pick it up that much on it's own, it was in conjunction with a bunch of other things.)
2. They told me to not come back until I'd installed a roll bar in compliance with NHRA rules.

To show thanks, I returned the truck with both the main, and the AUX tanks full, over double the fuel it had when he gave it to me.
But, not that he would have made a big deal about it either way.

So, I was basically done for awhile.
Still enjoyed the car on the street for quite awhile, though!
11.20s are enough to play with.
Still I wondered if 10s weren't possible and started scheming to try to achieve that.

First major fiberglass job, filled in the scoop to allow the air cleaner to seal to it.
On-track testing showed around a tenth change afterwards

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Man, thats quite a project and story with it!

Thank you, I've enjoyed checking out the super street mopar too!

I've been through alot with it and have a lot of catching up to do to get to the present day.

Current posts have us caught up to a little less than 20 years ago :)
Affirmative: At your service. Taken from the R. Crumb comic book character.

I would have been zippy here too, but the username wasn't available when I joined.
Affirmative: At your service. Taken from the R. Crumb comic book character.

I would have been zippy here too, but the username wasn't available when I joined.
Well that's not right!!! I thought you worked in the chrysler parts division if I'm not mistaken
Agreed. Whoever has my traditional username never posts here, but they get to keep the name. Life ain’t fair!

And yes That’s true, 2005 - 2013 was my time as a Chrysler contract employee.
The Full job title was Technical Automotive Consultant, the specific group was Mopar Performance Parts.

In the past I have threatened to write a book about my time there. Id probably have to change names to prevent people coming after me, and it’s been so long now I doubt anyone is super interested. It was pretty amazing to have inside info on what was a pretty productive time there, though as always imperfect like any other corporate situation and full of compromises like any job.

The story of the car wraps around career and relationships in a way that is too lengthy and convoluted to describe but I’ll hit some high level stuff for sure.
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Overlapping the 451 build was a big leap forward in career and income. Starting in the 2002 timeframe I was given an great opportunity by someone in the car hobby who needed my skill set,
a succession of several Automotive jobs followed it spanning over 20 years to today.

In the mid-2000s I started chasing more horsepower.
Made some changes to intake, carb and headers (the "bigger is better" approach) and this was the result.


This resulted in the car going bottom 11s, the best was 11.02 at a little over 120mph.
Randy Borowski and Mike Rafferty were there that day. There are pictures.....Great memories....
but the videos might be more fun. Doug Boyce took these videos. All local friends from the hobby.

Us GTX owners need to stick together, but there's nothing wrong with a little friendly competition.

Several runs on that crazy hot day, Randy ran 11.20s and I ran 11.0s.
I felt this could be the start of something but several years later we lost Randy to cancer.
Recently I heard Mike passed on as well.
Randy's car was sold and last I saw it, it had an outrageous 600+ aluminum Hemi in it.

By now The GTX definitely looked more rough cosmetically, the filler areas had started to fail, the
lacquer products were well into failure mode and I had no desire to paint a car outdoors again, so I just let it go.

The car began to look something like a refugee from Mad Max.
While that does carry something fun along with it, it got old.
I never intended for it to have patina, but it had more than it's share by default.

Still enjoyed the car in spite of that and decided I didn't want to be a slave to it.

I got my place in 07, built a detached shop in 2011. 2012 suffered a pretty significant personal loss, and threw the car into the corner as truthfully
I'd done a couple times before. Eventually I started turning wrenches again and I wrapped up a refresh on the old 440 I now called "the mule", and installed it into a green C body that I had.
The green C body is pretty significant and some of it's story will be told.

Huge milestone was getting a hoist in 2014 and installing it by myself.

I thought for sure I'd be able to get right on the GTX. Instead most of the hoist time ended up being taken up with daily drivers
as I did all my own basic maintenance to my and my wife's vehicles.....in Michigan, once a car gets any miles on it you're constantly chasing chassis stuff.

There have been plenty of times the GTX sat for months or longer because life got in the way. I knew this would happen eventually, when I started out.
The trick is throw it in the corner and come back to it later....If your heart is still in it, you'll go right back to where you left off.
As you illustrate, life gets in the way of out planned projects/work etc. Can't give up. Were you working for MP around 99-01 when the 528 first came out? One year I went to the SEMA show was to find Lou Patane and get the truth about the perpetual b/o and no update fun I was dealing with for a customer order.
I wasn't. 05 to 13 was my time.
I'd have liked to have known folks from before but only met a couple.

Though fraught with compromises as ever, They really got alot done in the 90s.
To me it's a bummer to see most of those older efforts from the '90s, like the entire M1 product line, totally gone.
The year was 2005, I'd just started a new day job with very solid middle class wages (finally), had been seeing a gal for about a year, was busy with music as I'd been a guitarist and guitar teacher for years prior and was in an active band. The future looked bright. Then life knocked me down a few notches-one night after a music gig, I was hit by a drunk driver. One quarter panel on my daily driver C body was destroyed.

Dwain Christopherson in Wyoming had the part for me, rust free and undamaged, and would be attending an upcoming swap in Ill. I could not make it to the swap on time, but Jack B. offered to pick up the part and hold it until I was able to come get it. Drove to Jack's place in Il and grabbed it as soon as I could. I owe them both for their help.

Using Todd's shop and expertise we installed the quarter, and I painted the whole car complete for the experience of using modern 2k materials and base/clear.
This was Matrix before they were bought out.
After 10 years of outdoor storage, the paint still held up....this was a huge improvement over the 1k stuff I'd used on the GTX and I decided
it was going to be all modern materials from there forward.

This C body was also a test vehicle for leaded C pillar seams vs polyester as original. The car originally came with vinyl roof which I deleted.
The Leaded seams won the durability test.
Other things/concepts/paths to complete certain jobs were tested as well and some preferences were developed based on that.

Every vehicle I've ever owned is a test vehicle, and every day is a school day.

In the pics, can you tell which quarter panel it was? Neither can I.
That's because it was attached at the factory seams exactly the same way it was put together originally.
There is filler in exactly the same places the factory put filler.

The experience of doing this (freaking gigantic and super heavy) panel replacement and complete paint on this huge car thing was important.
I'd previously been a little intimidated by metallic paint, by base clear, by isocyanate in the activators, and by exterior sheetmetal work.....After that car, I knew what I could do.
I could do the GTX the right way..........................eventually.....................

Most would have yanked the drivetrain and sent it off to a derby person....That's not me...the process of repairing it was far more constructive and the car still survives today.

Circa 2009 when full reproduction quarter panels and other metal came out for the B bodies, in spite of the reports of issues
and rework needed, I was sure what path I wanted to take.

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