Up on the lift, you can see the rear wheelhouse where Dulcich and Kruger rolled the fender
Part two of the plan was reliant on how successful we were with part one. We’ve done enough body and paint special issues to know that we wanted to bypass that huge time suck and start the love rubbing. Big rust or body damage was a no-go, but older oxidized paint, we figured, could be brought back to life. When we saw the chalky single-stage paint on the Valiant, we were pretty sure we could bring it back from the dead. When we found evidence it had been repainted a long time ago the same color as the factory paint, we knew we had a lot of material on the car to work with. Bingo! We could bypass sanding, prepping, primering, and painting, and essentially go straight to the final cut and polish.
We’d seen enough badass Mopar A-Bodies to know our Valiant was just a wheel/tire swap and torsion bar adjustment away from a killer rake. Over the years, we’d formed an opinion about how we might address a Mopar A-Body if we had the chance to nab one. And while it’s been proven that A-Bodies make great Pro Touring cars, we wanted something that hearkened back to a simpler era. After all, these are uncomplicated cars. It’s not supposed to look like a radar-guided cruise missile, it’s granny getting groceries with a concealed carry permit. In our mind, there was never any question about rolling stock—Coker Tire in Chattanooga, Tennessee, was already on speed dial, and satin-black 15-inch steelies with redlines is what we craved.
Up front, we are taking advantage of Mopar’s torsion bar suspension. Lowering the front of
Most importantly, we wanted to get everything done fast. Deadline pressure notwithstanding, hot rodders don’t like waiting around. Like everything in the now generation, it’s all about instant gratification. We could draw this out over months or years, but why wait when we can deliver the punch line right now? We decided to do our Valiant’s restoration in just 48 hours. Some of the stuff, like the interior, powertrain, brakes, and suspension would just have to wait. We just want to get rolling in style as quick as possible, so let’s get it on!
The wheels and tires make or break the look of any hot rod. You’ve gotta get the right rolling stock, they have to fill the wheelwells right, they can’t stick out, they can’t be too buried in the wheelwell, the front can’t be too high or too low, and the back can’t look too high or too low. All too often, guys just buy the wheels and tires without researching, then throw ’em on, and crack a beer. News flash: Unless you just get lucky, that procedure looks like crap. For criminy sakes, if you’re going to spend real coin on wheels, at least make ’em look right?
Fortunately, with a Mopar we got to dispense with the sometimes risky guesswork of cutting coil springs. All Mopars have an adjustable torque arm front suspension, which means you can crank one bolt on each front lower control arm and lower or raise the suspension. GM and Ford guys would kill for something like this. Considering how cool and easy that is, we’re absolutely mystified that more Mopars don’t sport a killer stance. Who knows, maybe they’re going for that high-floodwater-comin’ look.
Lowering the stance of the Valiant in front and stepping up from a 13-inch tire on a 5-inc
Fortunately, there are plenty of other mounting points for the Valiant’s fenders, so we pu
We ended up with a handful of scrap that looks like this.
With the rear wheelhouses and fender lips clearanced, and the interfering fender tabs gone
We like the look of the ’68 Plymouth Valiant grille—it’s a one-year-only piece that looks
At the end of day one of our weekend resto, this is what we had—a mean, lean-looking stree