The painted and striped car sat on its trolley for nearly 2 years in a corner. Collected most of the parts required to finish it in that time, through various swap meets and excess leftovers from another AAR restoration we did in the shop. E body pieces are quite expensive and sometimes hard to find if you arent made of money. Finally when we felt comfortable that we had enough pieces to complete the car, the assembly process was started.
The front suspension and K frame were detailed and assembled on a roll-around jig. Used Just Suspensions full blown polygraphite rebuild kit, reman calipers, new rotors, and a sway bar that Im still not sure where it came from. It was nearly 1.25 diameter and fit through the K frame, so we used it. With a big block hanging off the front of an E body, you need all the help you can get in corners.
Engine and trans were previously rebuilt and readied for a different project, but the car was sold with a Hemi/5-speed, so it was already test run, broke in and ready to install beforehand. Engine is a earlier 383 with 906 heads, 284/484 Mopar cam, Edelbrock intake and carb, stock compression, and factory E body manifolds. Trans is a factory issue, rebuilt 833 4-speed with 11" clutch. We selected TTI's 2.5" dual head pipes and X pipe, feeding into Accurate Ltd's reproduction AAR mufflers. We made the hangers for a fraction of the price of the repros, due to it being a clone. The side exit pipes are used units and looked fine. Rear end is a stock configured 8-3/4" with super stock springs, 323 suregrip, fresh 11" brakes and green bearings on the axels. Had a factory rear sway bar and fitted it with all the poly bushings.
We used 3M undercoating on the bottomside, several different times. Once before it came off the trolley, again after the gas tank and rear end were in, and went over it a third time after it was assembled. Seems like you continually find a spot here of there that you didnt catch the last time around.
The engine, transmission, K frame, front suspension and brakes were then installed under the car as a unit. The key factor here is to have every possible part on that assembly--shocks, torsion bars plug wires, carb--everything. Equally important, is to have the engine compartment loaded with everything that needs to be there. It takes takes 2 guys all of an hour to istall the assembly, if its very complete to start with. Afterwards, you dont have a bunch of leaning over the fenders to assemble things that could have been put on right there in the open, where its easy to see/fit/install.
However, there wasnt even a stitch of wiring under the hood, nor did we have any. Just had the empty 4 harness ends. So, we pulled out a wiring diagram and started making harnesses. The made-from-scratch harness fit better than originals seem to. The front light harness was made from a harness off of a 74 New Yorker (extra material to work with), as the wire color codes are nearly the same, just longer wires and extra headlight sockets that were removed. Fit nice and worked great. Beats a thousand dollars worth of new harnesses.
Inside of the car was covered with 1/8" thick, high density foam insulation. Its foil backed on one side and white paper on the other. Starting at the back window, everything was covered continuously to the front glass opening. Even put it inside the doors and roof. The subframe connectors were above the floor level in the rear floors, and the depressions were filled with foam to make the rear floorboards level. This car is amazingly quiet, and does not transfer heat from the outside. Had a correct 70 console and the matching seat belts, new headliner & carpets, good used door panels and seat backs that were re-dyed, and a sweet set of original seat covers. Rallye gauges, correct harness (whew!), right radio, rear speaker switch, rear defogger switch and all that came with the initial pile-o-parts. Decided to use a hard formed dash cap, and it worked out well. Surprisingly, it had no cut out for the dash VIN #, which is usually a dead give away that it has a cap. Didnt really matter, because I didnt get a dash VIN OR title when I bought the car. The state verifies the body serial #'s match the fender tag, and generates a new VIN tag, using the 340 Cuda serial #, and attaches the tag to the door post. I can just imagine what the guy will say thats a numbers cruncher, at the next car show it attends, not having a dash VIN!
The assembly process went so quick that I didnt have good pictures of the entire process. Below in the slidshow, there are some highlights during the build. The car was finished, test driven about 150 miles, and sold. This kind of a car gets verbally abused for being a clone, and 'Galen Juniors' trip over themselves to tell you about all the horrible 'wrong' things with it. Good for them. You have a car like this and you get tired of it being green, being a 383, or being an AAR, change it. Drop in a 440-6pack or Hemi, paint it blue, whatever you want. The possibilities are endless, and it wont change the value negatively.
And you can drive it.