Moving along, we researched our wheel and tire sizes on the Moparts.org and ForABodiesOnly.com forums before buying wheels and tires. If you’re already into Mopars or just getting into them, let’s face it, there is no better place to go for your online A-Body tech fix. But be forewarned, if you post on their forum, the Moparts.org people will not cut you any slack if you’re a dumbass—they’re in your face, and they’re deadpan honest. Don’t go snooping around there with no Chevy—that’s as bad as picante sauce from New York City. ForABodiesOnly.com is a little more family friendly, and they’ve actually got a specific section devoted to A-Body wheels and tires. We gathered enough good info from both forums to inform our selection of 15x8 Coker steelies in the rear, and 15x6 Coker steelies in front. (Unless you go custom offsets, there is no choice in backspacing, and only the larger 5x4.5-inch bolt pattern is available.) We also gathered tire size data, paying particular attention to the larger sizes that were being used successfully with stock wheelwells, and chose 225/60R15s for the rear and 215/65R15s for the front—both in Coker’s beautifully reproduced BFG Silvertown redline radial. All together, our Coker rolling stock (tires, rims, hubcaps) set us back $1,592. We do suggest one thing, however, when placing an order with Coker: Some items aren’t always on the website—like our O.E. Mopar hubcaps ($55 each). We recommend you phone a Coker product specialist after browsing the website, that way you won’t miss anything.

Being a Slant Six, the Valiant sports the low-performance 5x4-inch bolt circle. Nobody makes cool wheels for this, so don’t even try looking. No worries though. We got the large bolt circle wheels and mounted them to the Valiant using Trans-Dapt hub adapters designed for the purpose. Be mindful that these aren’t high-performance parts—they’re designed for light to normal road use. Don’t plan on hitting the autocross, dragstrip, or road course with them, as the stock spindles and bearings will not be able to handle the extra shear load. They are, however, perfect for cruising, and that’s what we intend to do until we upgrade our spindles and axles.

We got our rolling stock all together, and headed down to Picture Car Warehouse in Northridge, California, for our first day of rehab. We washed the grime off with Mothers California Gold Car Wash, mounted the spacers and Coker rolling stock, lowered the front ride height, addressed clearance issues with the fender lips and such, straightened some bent trim, and restored the grille with a Dupli-Color spray bomb.

Paint Rehab

Day two of our weekend resto was spent at Classy Cars Auto Detailing in Huntington Beach, California. You have two choices here: Use the techniques shown here by proprietor Jeff Jeppesen and burn your own elbow grease (in which case you’d only be out $95 or so for the Mothers car care products we used), or you can take your diamond in the rough to Classy Cars and let them work their paintless auto restoration magic while you take a stroll on the beach. (Easy there, Captain Check Writer.) Jeppesen quotes approximately $1,000 to do a job like ours, which may seem like a lot, but just know that he leaves no stone unturned—it will look nearly as good as a new paintjob when he’s done, or he won’t do it. What we particularly like is that before quoting a job, Jeppesen will test individual products and techniques in small areas of the paint to see what products are best and what results are possible. Unlike a paintjob, you actually get to see the end result before any of the work is done. Jeppesen is a big proponent of Mothers car care products because they flat-out work. When your livelihood depends on being able to work magic on a daily basis, the stuff in the bottle better deliver the results, or you’re out of business.