Captainkirk's Duster project

At this point, I would be remiss if I didn't mention some of my buddies and their rides; I was not the only motorhead in Mudville.
Howard, that motor-dropping son-of-a-biscuit-maker, was actually the first to get a car; a '68 GTO with a 400. I learned some of my best chops working on that car; in fact, I darn near lived in his garage before I got my Duster. He was running a balanced & blueprinted 400, ported & polished heads w/ oversize valves, headers, Crane cam, Edelbrock manifold with Holley 850 DP, Accell dual point distributor & Super Coil hooked to a Muncie M22 Rock Crusher through a street/strip clutch with a Mr. Gasket vertical gate shifter (sorry Howard, but your shifter sucked compared to my Hurst) spinning 5.13 gears. This car would top out at about 90 due to the gears, but man, what a ride! This car would wheel hop so violently he could've made a fortune just collecting all his friends' fillings off the floor! He "sort of" fixed it by installing ladder bars, but it didn't go away completely until he changed the gears to a more reasonable 3.-something. I remember some funny Howard stories......the time when, after getting the engine installed after the build, while installing the manifold and carb (which were the last things to go on except the distributor) he was spinning on the nuts and lock washers for the carb base. One of the rear nuts wouldn't start properly (cross-threaded) so he backed it off, and......
Yep, right down the 'ol distributor hole. Down the well, like little Jessica, so to speak. It sounded somewhat like a pinball game; bouncing and ricochetting down into the bowels of that motor until we heard the dreaded hollow "thunk" of a rogue nut hitting the bottom of an empty oil pan.....the kind of sound a prison door makes when it slams shut on an inmate sentanced to three consecutive life terms. We just stared at each other in disbelief, and then Howard lets out this long, drawn-out; "F***************! Just like Ralphie in A Christmas Story, only he didn't say "fudge" either! He fished with a magnet for hours to no avail; eventually the engine came back out and the pan came off, the nut sitting there cheerily in it's empty metal swimming pool waiting for the fire trucks to come and fill 'er up...."Oh, hullo! Fancy meeting you here!" I learned about stuffing rags in open holes from that; I still do it today. That's a sound forever etched in my memory, and once is enough.
And then, when we finally got the engine back in, removed the rag cleverly placed in the distributor hole (wonder where we came up with that one?) and fired it up, (it, like mine to follow, also lit immediately....what can I say; we were good!) while this dragon was roaring and belching fire through open headers we could hear this distinct banging from deep within the bowels of the motor. We tried everything you could think of to find the source; push rods, rocker arms, etc. It wasn't evident 'til we pulled the distributor and saw a nice new shiny wear mark on the shaft. The boneheads who had balanced the crank had drilled holes in the counterweights and added mallory(?) metal (I think this is the term they used?) to add weight; it protruded too far. End result; the engine came out yet again, and the crank had to go back for warranty work! Howard was not a whole lotta fun to be around that particular week. In the end, this was one quick Pontiac!

Then there was Dave, with his '68 396 Chevelle SS. He never pulled the motor but had the heads done, cam, manifold, Hooker headers, Holley 780 SP strapped to a Turbo Hydromatic 350. I don't believe he could've taken either my car or Howards in the quarter, but I had never seen a motor with so much mid-range torque! So much, in fact, that it chewed up the 350 and ate it for breakfast....Alumin-O's! The tranny case was non-repairable, so he put in a shift-kitted TH400. This thing would lurch so hard when he had his foot in it that it would've snapped your head off like a G.I Joe in the hands of the town bully if it wasn't for the high-back buckets! I'll tell you what; at 30 mph when he'd stomp on it there wasn't a car we knew of that could stay with him between 30 and 60. He would literally have to ease off the gas because the tires would break loose and start smoking at 30 mph!

Jerry had a '68 Camaro RS with a 327 2bbl....nothing to write home about there. We threw a Holley 600 and manifold on it, but without a decent cam to give it some lung-power, it actually was slower! He later bought an early '70's Chevelle SS 350 with cowl induction; this would've been worth a few bucks today if he still had it. It was bone-stock, and not all that quick compared to what we were used to.

Bodyman Mike had a Vega. I will not dwell on this.

Fellow Mopar freak Mike T. had a project '66 Barracuda fastback....I don't believe he ever finished it.

Other Fellow Mopar Freaks Bob and Dale had (respectively) a late-model 318 Charger and Dale first a Demon 340 followed by a '73 Cuda 340. Both (Dale's) were stock but surprisingly quick.

There were others, of course, but these were the ones that helped either directly (such as Howard "helping" me drop my fresh motor) or indirectly (through advice, ideas, etc)