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 Steve discovered the worst damage as the last of the paint and Bondo removal process revealed this carnage around the right rear. Entire quarters are difficult to find, so Mopar Flats will supply a better quarter-panel that will be carefully welded in place. Steve discovered the worst damage as the last of the paint and Bondo removal process revea The Dodge exhibited several trim holes in the fenders that Steve wanted to eliminate to give the car a cleaner image. There was also this nasty CB antenna vent he discovered in the right rear quarter-panel only after removing all the Bondo. The larger hole will require a welded patch, but the three smaller holes can be repaired with weld. The Dodge exhibited several trim holes in the fenders that Steve wanted to eliminate to gi The old-school way to fill trim holes in sheetmetal was to braze them shut. This requires some two-handed skill with a torch and brass fill rod but does work well. The more modern approach is to use a nonferrous backing plate (like this brass block) placed behind the hole (when accessible) and use short bursts with a MIG welder. Steve prefers welding from the back side since this leaves the exterior smooth and eliminates all but minor grinding. The old-school way to fill trim holes in sheetmetal was to braze them shut. This requires Once the hole is filled with weld, the excess metal can be leveled with a high-speed grinder and followed by a 100-grit disc. Once the hole is filled with weld, the excess metal can be leveled with a high-speed grind The final step treats the area with a light skim of body filler sanded smooth. None of this work is necessarily difficult, but it can be tedious. Just keep telling yourself how much money you're saving and the work will be much more rewarding. The final step treats the area with a light skim of body filler sanded smooth. None of thi The Dodge also suffered from a crack in the leading edge of one panel that also required minor welding similar to the repair on this fender. The Dodge also suffered from a crack in the leading edge of one panel that also required m After realigning the bent metal, he drilled a small hole at the end of the crack to prevent further damage later. After realigning the bent metal, he drilled a small hole at the end of the crack to preven After welding the crack on both sides, he ground the repair to make it smooth. It's ready for sanding and perhaps a touch of body filler to fill in the minor imperfections. After welding the crack on both sides, he ground the repair to make it smooth. It's ready After the panels were repaired, Steve covered everything in Sherwin-Williams etching primer to protect all the panels from corrosion. The new-generation body filler can now be used over the top of the primer. After the panels were repaired, Steve covered everything in Sherwin-Williams etching prime Parts List Description PN Source Price S-W Spectra Prime, gallon P27 Sherwin-Williams $226.70 S-W Corros Shield, gallon PE995 Sherwin-Williams $205.00 S-W Shield reducer, gallon ER996 Sherwin-Williams $129.9 S-W UltraSolv, gallon ES20 Sherwin-Williams $113.25 Spectra-Primer hardener, quart H45 Sherwin-Williams $88.30 SOURCES A&M Sandblasting Chatsworth CA 818-727-1865 Pure Vision Simi Valley CA 805-522-2232 www.purevisiondesign.com GTS Customs Simi Valley CA 805-582-0276 www.gtscustoms.com Sherwin-Williams Automotive Cleveland OH 800-798-5872 www.sherwinautomotive.com By Jeff Smith Enjoyed this Post? Subscribe to our RSS Feed, or use your favorite social media to recommend us to friends and colleagues!