When you mention Mopar, most folks automatically think of the four-letter word that has become a household name over the past few years. And while the Hemi is obviously a successful design, there's something to be said for a well-built Mopar small-block. Joey Angelone of Old Fort, Tennessee, is a firm believer in minimal cubic inches, so he equipped this '74 Plymouth Duster with a Hensley Racing-built, 365ci small-block. To match that, he made room for big meats out back and set up the suspension for abuse before assembling the awesome package.
You won't find a flaw in the paintjob, and the interior is nice, too. Joey handled most of the work himself, shaping his Duster into a killer street machine. While some might say there's no replacement for displacement, Joey is pleased with his high-winding small-block, and we see no reason to disagree.
Who: Joey Angelone
What: '74 Plymouth Duster
Where: Old Fort, TN
Engine: Under the hood is a 365ci small-block built by Hensley Racing Enterprises in Knoxville, Tennessee, that kicks out 472 hp and 508 lb-ft. The crank is cast, and it sends a set of Eagle connecting rods and Keith Black pistons into motion. In conjunction with the Fel-Pro 0.039-inch gaskets and 56cc combustion chambers, the flat-top pistons create an 11.24:1 compression ratio. The cylinder heads are Edelbrock Performer RPMs, but the crew at Hensley Racing ported them and added a race valve job. The camshaft is a Comp Cams hydraulic flat tappet with 0.507 inch of lift on the intake side and 0.510 inch on the exhaust, while duration comes in at 240 and 246 degrees at 0.050-inch lift.
Induction: Up top is a 750-cfm carburetor, which is an owner-built piece featuring a Proform main body and AED bowls, among other aftermarket internals. The custom carburetor sits atop a port-matched Edelbrock Air-Gap intake manifold.
Exhaust: A set of Hooker Super Comp headers sends outgoing air into an expanse of 3-inch piping, which connects the TTI cross-pipe and Flow-master mufflers.
Transmission: Power is sent to the rear wheels through a TCI Super Street 727 automatic transmission, which is equipped with a matching TCI torque converter with a 3,500-stall speed.
Rearend: A narrowed Chrysler 83/4 rearend rides beneath the Duster and features an Auburn differential and a 4.10:1 gearset.
Suspension: Up front, modifications are minimal, but Joey upgraded to Energy Suspension bushings and replaced the tie rods and ball joints with Moog components. The lowered stance comes from a slight torsion bar adjustment. A pair of relocated Super Stock leaf springs and a pinion snubber help in the traction department, along with the narrowed rearend to fit the huge rear tires.
Body: Body modifications included fitting a dual-snorkel scoop to the original hood, moving in the stock front bumper 4 inches, and installing a '70 Duster rear bumper, which is also moved closer to the body. Combating the rust was the biggest concern, and Joey handled most of the work himself. He replaced the passenger-side quarter-panel, the lower portion of the driver-side quarter-panel, and the taillight panel to refurbish the rear portion of the body. He also replaced the floorpans and trunk pan. While he was back there, he added 3 inches to the original wheeltubs and moved the leaf springs 3 inches in.
Brakes: Factory-style discs roll up front, while the 11x3-inch rear drums provide assistance.
Wheels/Tires: Joey's car rolls on 15x5-inch Weld Draglites up front and matching 15x10 Welds out back, which feature 7.5-inch backspacing. Mickey Thompson rubber is on all four corners with 26x7.50-inch tires on the front and 28x12.50s on the rear.
Paint: Joey's son-in-law, David Crane, applied the PPG material, which is an original PT Cruiser color called Electric Blue Pearl Coat. The rep at Glenn Automotive Paint & Body Supply actually had to testdrive one at the dealership to get the paint code.
Interior: Several parts from Legendary Auto Interiors brought the inside of Joey's Plymouth back to life, including the covers for the '73 Duster buckets. The black vinyl interior is clean and simple with the Grant steering wheel and additional Mopar gauges as the only modifications.
Tell your wife you're buying a Duster for the house . . . she'll love you for it!