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Cars of the Month, September 2008: Slant Sixes of Carlisle

winning feather duster

A fine Slant 6-powered 1976 Plymouth Feather Duster owned by Mike Wintgens of Roseville, Ohio, took second place in the Plymouth A Body, 1973 and Up class at the 2008 All-Chrysler Nationals in Carlisle, PA, July 11-13. Although the vast
number of Mopar vehicles registering at the annual Nationals event are V8s, the show attracted numerous Slant 6 cars as it always does.

feather engine feather

Beginning with Mike Wintgens' Duster, the following are a few Slant 6 vehicles shown at the 2008 Nationals.

Mike has owned his car for 5 years, just recently finishing the rebuild and restoration at a cost of about $15,000. The 6-cylinder Dusters were famous for fuel economy and Mike reports that, with his vehicle's 4-speed transmission ("4 on the floor"), his car typically gets 29 mpg.

volare duster

volare engien

This 1979 Volaré Duster survivor was on sale in the Nationals car corral and was purchased by Gary Garren of Spartenburg, South Carolina. Gary moved it to the corral pavilion to be displayed for resale. It did not resell, however, and Gary trucked it home. The car is now posted on his Web site. The story of this immaculate Super Six-powered car is sumarized on the windshield: one owner, never restored, 5,300 miles on the speedometer. Initial offering price: $14,500. In the opinion of one 1977 Volaré Super Six owner, the engine compartment of this Duster is as original as possible, a virtual museum piece.

dodge swingers

A pair of deep-breathing Slant 6 Dart Swingers shared space among A Body cars, a 1973 owned by Brian and Melissa Droschak of West Miffin, PA, the other, a 1969 owned by Greg Ondayko of Irwin, PA. The engine in the Droschak's car features a turbocharger adapted by the owner.

turbo Swinger

1973 swinger

1973 swinger - inside

Intake on the Ondayko vehicle is assisted by a Dutra after-market hyperpack manifold with 4-bbl carburetor and dual exhausts. Greg reports top speed in the quarter mile at 93.95 mph, ET, 14.7243 seconds with that setup. He also explains, "It's really tough to drag race a hyperpack without the carb heat. And it's also hard to race a stick for the same reason."

1969 swinger

The sound produced by this car as it rolled through the Fairgrounds was a real head turner, being higher pitched than the rumble of the typical Mopar V8. But it's an intense sound advertising the vehicle as a potent speed machine.

yeah, it's got a slant six

The car's third owner, Greg has had it for about 9 years. His father, a car dealer, acquired the car from a salvage yard. Greg said he took it over after it sat on the backlot of the dealership for more than a year. Prior owner was a student at University of Pittsburg who used it as a daily driver. It needed a new floor pan and other work on the interior. Greg prepared the car for paint himself although painting was done at a body shop.

To date, the car has had two engine and two bellhousing replacements and unknown clutch replacements. Greg does all his own mechanical work. He installed the hyperpack and headers. He figures he has about $4000 is invested in engine mods, but he's not bothering to calculate other expenses!

Greg races the car now and then, he says, "mostly at the test 'n' tunes." He can brag of 3 second-place finishes in Slant 6 circuit races in the past 2 years.

feather duster

Tim and Diane Cardwell of Leesburg, VA, have owned this Rally Red (R5) 1976 Feather Duster since 1991. It was repainted in 2001. The Cardwells run a floral business with their main delivery vehicle being a Chrysler van. They also own a '74 Duster and a '76 Dart, both Slant 6-powered. So the Cardwells are a happy Slant 6 family!

feather duster engine

See other Cars of the Month • All Cars at Allpar200,000 Mile Club • Stories: People and Cars

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