It seems the entire automotive media world is caught up with high-dollar cars that most car crafters can't afford. Since CC has always been about affordable street cars and doing the work yourself, we've run across a buildup that's budget conscious and fun. We've accompanied Steve Strope and his Pure Vision shop through several past adventures, and while his shop could be correctly accused of building those aforementioned image cars, he also understands that not everyone travels in those circles. That includes his stepson, Seth. So when it came time for this high school senior's first car, they rejected the typical Honda route, choosing instead to go for a worthy, if not slightly abused, mid-'60s Mopar. We decided to follow along on Seth's rite of passage that from the beginning has been filled with more than a few bumps, dents, and creases. But that's what makes the story worth telling. The Dodge 440 The plan started out simply enough. Steve's friend Daryl Finch owns Mopar Flats (760/963-7809), located in the high desert north of Los Angeles, and is well known in the Mopar fraternity as having either the car or the parts you need. Amid his collection of rare Pentastar performers was an interesting '66 Dodge 440 B-Body. While you might think this means it also came with a big-block powerplant of the same displacement, you'd be wrong. The Dodge 440 moniker merely identifies this as a two-door hardtop that looks a lot like a '66 Dodge Charger with an abbreviated roof line. This Dodge 440 happened to be powered by the last of the polyspherical combustion-chambered 318 A-engines. While less than impressed by its baby-blue hue and Bondo-smeared hoodscoop, Steve and Seth saw great potential in the forlorn cruiser and were encouraged by the fact that the car had an intact and relatively rust-free floorpan and trunk floor. They settled on a price of $2,000, and the car soon found its way to the Pure Vision shop, where Steve and Seth immediately took on the task of stripping the Mopar of its drivetrain and paint in search of a pristine body. What they found, as with most old-car body resto efforts, was more work than anticipated. It goes with the territory. The team yanked the old Poly 318 and automatic and then pulled the K-member to allow for proper cleaning and blasting. Seth found himself sanding the engine compartment to get it in shape for an upgraded '70 318 and automatic that will come later. The team yanked the old Poly 318 and automatic and then pulled the K-member to allow for p To expedite the bodyworking process, Steve sent the front fenders, hood, doors, K-member, and other panels out to Freddie Rizas at nearby A&M Sandblasting in Chatsworth, California, to peel away the paint. This is what survived. To expedite the bodyworking process, Steve sent the front fenders, hood, doors, K-member, Discoveries like this growth of Bondo lumped into this massive dent in the passenger-side quarter-panel are the kinds of surprises that are the bane of muscle car resto artists. Discoveries like this growth of Bondo lumped into this massive dent in the passenger-side Another example of the sheetmetal mayhem is this naughty bit that has scarred the trailing edge of the driver-side front fender. Inside, you can see evidence of the lumps of body filler that had to be removed before the repairs could begin. Another example of the sheetmetal mayhem is this naughty bit that has scarred the trailing Steve carefully cut out the rust with a cutoff wheel until he reached solid base metal and then fabricated this replacement piece that includes the inner fender lip. The cardboard is then laid flat to serve as a template for a new piece of sheetmetal that can be carefully bent by hand over a similar radius to create the proper shape. Steve carefully cut out the rust with a cutoff wheel until he reached solid base metal and Substituting his labor instead of spending money to have the body blasted, Seth took on sanding the quarter-panels with a dual-action (DA) sander with final layer removal by hand. Substituting his labor instead of spending money to have the body blasted, Seth took on sa 1 | 2 | » | View Full Article By Jeff Smith Enjoyed this Post? Subscribe to our RSS Feed, or use your favorite social media to recommend us to friends and colleagues!