Not satisfied to go with the typical Six Pak hood, Mark opted for a custom 4-inch cowl hoo
Ten years ago, owning a sub-10-second Mopar was the last thing on Mark Mathews' mind. Still in high school but already busy with a mean '79 Camaro and a project Nova, Mark had his hands full and plenty of rubber to burn. But one night, while cruising the streets of Indianapolis, a bright orange Duster caught his eye. After his longing gaze, the machine and Mark went their separate ways. For the next 711/42 years, that local Mope rarely saw the light of day, but it continued its residence in the back of Mark's mind. While casually flipping through the local classifieds in November 1999, Mark came across an ad for a Hemi Orange '71 Duster. Sure enough, it was the same car. Although it suffered from a severe lack of motor, trans, and TLC, when Mark ended up taking the A-Body home, he knew it was the start of something big.
It wasn't long before Mark dropped a stout 340 into the engine bay and linked it up to a 727 TorqueFlite, which propelled his ride to a very respectable 10.60 with the aid of a hearty cam and some good ol' nitrous. But, in true gearhead fashion, Mark wasn't satisfied yet. He wanted to go fast. So the small-block was pitched in favor of a beastly 440 stroker mill hooked to a Coan Powerglide transmission, which helped create a combination that means business. We met up with Mark at the PRO race in Bowling Green, Kentucky, where he was running low 9s in the Real Street class.
Car Craft Q & A
Car Craft: You've built GM street machines in the past. What prompted you to build up a Mopar?
Mark Mathews: The OSCA [Outlaw Street Car Association] circuit is primarily dominated by Camaros and Mustangs, and I wanted to go with something a bit different this time around.
CC: What's the biggest obstacle you've encountered during the buildup?
MM: The headers. I wanted them to run under the chassis. I ended up having Greg Risk of Autosport Racecars custom-build a set in order to make it happen, and I'm really happy with the results.
CC: Are there any particular modifications you've done that stand out in terms of performance?
MM: Swapping the 727 TorqueFlite with the Coan Powerglide really helped translate the power and get it to hook, along with the rear sway bar we put out back. I would like to thank Autosport Racecars for its help with chassis modification work and custom fabrication, and AutoMotion Racing for supplying various go-fast parts.
CC: We noticed the factory bucket seats and the nearly stock interior. What prompted you to go that route?
MM: Again, to do things a bit differently. I wanted the car to maintain a clean street-car look, and I didn't see a lot of advantage in gutting the interior when I factored in the weight requirements in my class.
CC: Anything breaking under that kind of power?
MM: Nope! Knock on wood, I guess.
Car: Mark Mathews' '71 Duster
Engine: 440 stroked to 511 ci
Heads: Indy 440-1, 75cc combustion chambers, 2.19/1.81-inch intake/exhaust valves
Induction: Indy intake, Holley 1150 Dominator, 225hp NOS Big Shot
Cam: Comp Cams solid-roller, 284/ 295 duration at 0.050-inch lift, 0.0727/ 0.0690-inch lift
Exhaust: Custom Autosport 231/44-inch headers, 4-inch-diameter pipes to Borla race mufflers
Power: 800 hp at 6,700 rpm (est.), 700 lb-ft at 5,800 rpm (est.)
Trans: Coan Powerglide with manual valvebody, Coan 4,500-stall converter
Rear: Mopar 831/44, Richmond 4.30:1 gears, Moser axles
Front suspension: Stock with Comp Engineering three-way adjustable shocks
Rear suspension: Mopar Super Stock leaf springs, Comp Engineering three-way adjustable shocks, Autosport sway bar
Brakes: Wilwood discs, front; stock drum, rear
Wheels and tires: 15x3.5 Weld Alumastars with M/T ET Front Runners, front; 15x9 Weld Alumastars with M/T ET Drags, rear
Body mods: Glastek fiberglass 4-inch cowl hood
Paint: Hemi Orange
Best time: 9.31 at 147 mph
Cost to build: $25,000
The Duster's serious motivation is provided by a 440 stroked to 511 inches with a 4.375-in
Primarily a Chevy guy in the past, Mark wanted to do something a bit different this time a