A major factor in keeping the costs down was opting for a budget engine combo. While Steve
As utterly delicious as the Charger's body enhancements may be, the ace in the hole of functionality is how MRS achieved such a ridiculously aggressive stance despite the B-Body's torsion bars and leaf springs. To accomplish this, Steve channeled the suspension 3 inches into the body. "People have been channeling '50s customs for a very long time, so why not resurrect this practice in a muscle car? It lets you slam the car way down with the stock suspension while retaining full suspension travel," he says. "Mopar B-Bodies don't have full frames or removable subframes for that matter, so we to cut the front framerail sections out of the unibody as if it were a removable piece. Channeling this entire section into the body raised the suspension pickup points by 3 inches, thereby lowering the car. In the rear, we raised the attachment points of the leaf springs into custom pockets built into the floor, and made a custom crossmember for the shocks to prevent them from bottoming out. If you have the fabrication skills, channeling is a simple and inexpensive process that doesn't require coilovers or airbags, just some old-school hot rod engineering."
Of course, slicing, dicing, and relocating large sections of the unibody and suspension presents some additional challenges as well. Steve says: "Channeling a suspension pushes the drivetrain into the body shell, so it requires realigning the steering box, the column, the brake and clutch pedals, the bumpers and floors, not to mention reconstructing portions of the engine compartment and firewall. The transmission and driveshaft tunnels must also be raised to clear the drivetrain," Steve says. "Since the engine also sits higher, we built a custom Viper-inspired hood for 2 inches of additional clearance. MRS's head fabricator Brandon Enochs came up with the all-metal design that features six functional heat extractors and really enhances the Charger's exotic flair. There's also a cool metal skull molded into the nose of the hood."
Steve Enochs rescued the Charger out of a field for $2,500. The fenders and doors were sal
Considering all the attention that went into the sheetmetal, Steve had to compile an engine combo that wouldn't break the bank, yet wouldn't embarrass itself on the street. He turned that task over to the shop's powertrain technician, Jeff Enochs, who had to temper his penchant for big cubes and power adders for a more practical 383ci big-block. The short-block has been cleaned up .030-over and fitted with fresh 9.0:1 pistons, but is otherwise stock. A COMP Cams 224/224-at-.050 hydraulic flat-tappet manages the valve events; providing the air supply are ported factory iron cylinder heads, a Weiand intake manifold, and a Holley 750-cfm carb. Steve estimates that the combo is good for 450 hp, which are fed through a Chrysler A833 four-speed stick and a factory 8.75-inch rearend.
Granted that budget builds aren't supposed to look this badass, what's equally as impressive is how MRS managed to beef up the factory sheetmetal without defiling the essence of a stock Charger. Steve says, it's all about having an eye for what works and what doesn't without going over the top. "I like to think of this car as a muscle rod, which in my mind is a muscle car that integrates street rod design, body modifications, and modern technology in a unique package that respects the intent of the original designers. A muscle rod draws its inspiration from the techniques applied to the great rods and customs of past decades, and even before Pro Touring became mainstream, we realized that the next logical step was combining these techniques into building muscle cars," Steve says.
All the posers out there trying to take credit for Muscle Rod Shop's handiwork better take notice. Now that MRS's metal-crafting talent, mad fabrication skills, and signature eye for design are out of the bag, something tells us that these guys aren't going to get snubbed ever again.