Some items just don't belong on a serious muscle car, and in fact it is these very same items that differentiate factory "muscle" from their more mundane "grandma" counterparts. It's no secret that the very same body line was used by the manufacturer for a wide range of model series, and it is often simply the way the vehicle is trimmed-out that denotes whether a particular machine was intended for performance. Our Satellite shares the exact body platform as the heroic Road Runner, but being a Satellite (Sebring) it left the factory sans the tell-tale performance cues such as a ralley instrument cluster, blacked-out grille, hood pins, strobe stripe, sport hood, etc. Instead, our plain Satellite came with the basic dress, and was wearing perhaps the biggest tell-tail of them all--the body side molding.

Functionally, these thin impact strips offered protection from parking lot door dings that practical buyers found irresistible, and many a grandma would nary consider a vehicle unless so equipped. Performance buyers, however, put clean, uninterrupted body lines at a higher priority, and were more than ready to forego those useful protective moldings for a sleek and smooth profile. Being of that basic mindset, we were more than a little eager to remove the offending trim to give our machine a more performance-orientated silhouette.

Unfortunately, unlike vehicles manufactured in recent years where a variety of obtuse moldings are simply bonded or taped to the vehicle's skin, back in the era of real metal, automakers seemed intent on the generous use of mechanical fasteners. In detaching the trim, an enthusiast will find all manner of studs, rivets, posts, clips, and/or screws retaining these types of moldings. While the variety of factory fasteners runs the gamut of a wide range of engineering theories, a common theme seems to be that whatever was used needed to be securely through-bolted to the panel. Naturally, such an arrangement complicates the removal of these protuberances, with the necessity of filling holes. There are a number of acceptable methods of filling trim holes, but MIG welding is generally accepted today as the best technique, while simply burying the hole with bondo is typically the lowest-rated repair.

Our Satellite moldings were retained with rivets, which makes for a fairly simple trim removal process of simply drilling out the rivets. The remaining holes were fairly diminutive as trim holes go, requiring a quick zap of the MIG to be filled permanently and invisibly. We tackled the trim removal as a weekend project, and as we are well away from out ultimate goal of a complete re-paint, we finished the job with a protective coat of black epoxy primer. Even as it stands, our multi-colored Mopar project suits our aesthetic far better with the moldings removed.