Ugliness is rarely a virtue, but that never stopped all the big hair bands of the '70s and '80s from bagging hoards of groupies on a nightly basis. And let's face it, despite their musical talents, most of those dudes were aesthetically challenged to say the least. Nonetheless, there's something to be said for getting the job done with subpar physical attributes, and Ted Moser's '63 Dodge 330 does just that.
It has a face that only a mother could love-make that an intoxicated mother wearing a blindfold-but the Mopar draws a cult following wherever it goes. Maybe the sweet sound of the 446ci big-block Wedge has something to do with it, or perhaps it exudes a certain mystique that we just don't understand. Whatever the case may be, Ted's 330 is a rock star on mismatched wheels. As bizarre as it may seem, sometimes ugliness is game.
Ted is no stranger to stardom, and anybody who has ever watched a movie or turned on a TV set has probably seen his work. He owns and operates Picture Car Warehouse (www.PictureCarWarehouse.net), which supplies every type of vehicle imaginable-from muscle cars to VW buses to Ferraris-for feature films, commercials, TV shows, and music videos. Just some of the high-profile movies he's built cars for include Die Hard 2, Grindhouse, World's Fastest Indian, Bandits, 2 Fast 2 Furious, The Family Man, The Bucket List, Seven Pounds, and Rush Hour 2. Considering that his day job involves mingling in the glitz and glamour of Hollywood, it seems rather peculiar that Ted took a low-buck, bare-bones approach to building a black sheep of a Mopar for his own personal ride. Sure, Ted deals with self-absorbed actors and directors all day, but as it turns out he's not all that different from the rest of us. "The really high-end restomod cars are nice, but who the hell has $70,000 or $80,000 to spend on a car? My intention with this 330 was to keep things simple and try not to turn it into something that it isn't," he says. "I wanted an old-school look, which is why there's nothing newer than 1970 on the car."
Like most hot rodders, Ted lacks the willpower to turn down a good deal on a project car. Fortunately, hunting down vintage Detroit iron is part of his job description, which is how he stumbled upon his 330. While shooting the movie Bandits, which starred Bruce Willis and Billy Bob Thornton, Ted had to feverishly scout for cars all over Oregon. "The production schedule was crazy because they kept stealing cars in the movie. We hit 50 venues in 57 days, and needless to say, I ended up buying a lot of cars," he says. "We hit the jackpot when we found a muscle car dealer that had gone out of business. I bought 15 cars in total, including a '70 Superbee, two GTOs, a Superbird, and this '63 Dodge 330. It was a six-cylinder, three-speed car that was very solid from top to bottom."
For those who are too young...
For those who are too young to remember the movie Mothra, a quick Google image search will reveal that the 330's front end is a spitting image of the giant butterfly monster that terrorized the public in that film. Good call, Kevin.
As a Mopar buff, Ted saw potential where others saw a fugly bug-eyed mutant. Although the 330 represented the lowest trim level available on Dodge's fullsize offerings in '63 and '64, Ted says, the top-of-the-line Polara was built in greater volume. "The 330 is actually rarer than the Polara, and two thirds of them were powered by V-8s. Also, fewer two-door post cars were built than hardtops, which makes them more valuable," he says. So it turns out that what appears to be a garden variety straight-six, two-door post 330 is actually the rarest of the 330/440/Polara lineup. History book minutia aside, the wimpy engine and trans combo weren't going to cut it. While filming 2 Fast 2 Furious, Ted found a '68 Charger convertible that was too beat to restore, but whose 440 was prime plucking material.