Words and photos by Steve Magnante; from www.MoparMax.com
When is a car buildup finished? To some the answer to that question
is “never,” as continual upgrades are expected for as long as they own
the car. But I’m the type who has a vision of
what I want the car to be, how I want it to run and what I want it to
look like. So when it is finished, I’m the first to know. Still, in the
case of the altered wheelbase 1963 Dart I’ve been chipping away at
here for the last year or so, I’m breaking my own rules.
I’ve performed final assembly and gotten the thing in running
condition — even had it lettered — without doing any body work,
chrome plating or detailing of any kind! Yep, it’s got plenty of raw,
rusty steel and I’m not going to do a thing about it — for now. Oh
sure, the raw steel tubing of the roll bar and surgery scars from the
mini tubs and altered wheelbase operation are protected by a heavy
coating of Rust-Oleum brush paint, if all that stuff was allowed to
turn orange, it’d be a pain to prep later on for the “real” final
assembly. But that’s as far as I went.
You see, I like to say you either own the car, or the car owns you.
I’ve got one car that surely owns me. It’s a super shiny altered
wheelbase ’63 Nova that’s lettered up as the Wilshire Shaker. The Nova turned out exactly like I wanted it too but the problem is
the darned thing is too nice to drive. I keep it in a bag 99%
of the time. Oh, it’ll run hard when I set it free, go to YouTube and
search Wilshire Shaker video for some neat wheels-up antics.
But in the case of this Dart, I decided to wrap it all up and get it
running on the street without cosmetics. I tell myself this is like
the sea trials the Navy puts new ships through before final fitment
of the superstructure and armament. In sea trials mode, there is no
way to harm the paint because there is none. But it’s also a great
way to set yourself free from the neurotic stuff that goes with a
shiny new car, the stuff that adds so much hassle and worry to the
whole experience. Sure, some of the yard birds say I’m being lazy and
irresponsible. I just hop in the thing, and lay
fifty feet of rubber as I scoot away from these sour nay-sayers.
So check out the photos of the latest progress on this insane little
critter. The funny thing is how lots of people ask if I found the car
in some old barn. When I answer it’s just over a year old, they either
love the raw edge and say “don’t do a thing” or ask “so when ’ya gonna paint it?”
What’s your opinion?
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