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Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter)
Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter) PowerDork
11/25/21 1:53 p.m.

 



I have no idea what in the hell I’m doing… 

In the world of “Import VS Domestic” my track record with vehicles is very solidly (and single sidedly) with the “imports”.  The only two V8’s I’ve ever owned were in a truck and a van and both of those were “three-fifties”.  In fact, when it comes to personal preferences, I very solidly prefer the torqueless, high revving rotary engines on a racetrack to just about anything piston powered.

Even for domestic purposes, when it came to “Ford VS Chevy” I nearly always side with the General and only dabble “here and there” in Fords lineup.  Chrysler products don’t even appear as a blip on my RADAR.  Even today, “Dodge” wouldn’t appear on my internet search history, and I usually assume them to be odd, expensive, and owned by people who use teeth marks to sign their vehicle registration.

I’ve already got a Wankle powered trackday/daily to maintain, a 4-Runner project that’s getting ready to go to Africa, and a house under construction that eats up 100% of my free time and money (because any deviation from the time/money rule, is more time/money spent in a rental we can not wait to be out of).

So how the hell did I end up getting this overweight rust filled barge of a land yacht scheduled to be delivered to my driveway tomorrow???

Two words:  Eric Rood.

Now to say that Roadkill (and this forum) have completely changed my automotive project filled life would be the understatement of the century.  I was born and raised on Super Chevy magazines and PowerBlock television.  In that world, projects simply took cubic dollars and were completely sorted out in 30-minute segments.  As a reward, your shiny unused car was featured in a magazine or on TV and everyone lived happily ever after.

My reality with automotive projects was much different (and worse!), so I must have been doing something wrong and generally considered myself a complete automotive failure.  Nearly 20-years later, GRM would motivate me to buy and work on my first Alfa, and they were patient enough to teach me everything I learned along the way.  Roadkill showed me what it was like to have perfect fun with an absolutely imperfect project and made me wish I could go back and do some of my failures over...  But even that’s not how this got here.

To get “here”, we’ve got to go back a bit and talk a bit more about my favorite subject:  Me.

I was born in the Pacific Northwest before the infamous Californian invasion of the 90’s.  Before Starbucks.  Before, even, Microsoft.  Before any of those culture altering entities really took hold, the PNW was a podunk place filled with dirtbikes, chainsaws, 4-wheel drive trucks, and a relatively new football team in Seattle that absolutely sucked.  My grandfather would take us in the mountains in his beer-bottle brown Ford and we’d cut logs in the summer for our winter heating.  I wouldn’t live in a house that didn’t 100% depend on wood heat to stay warm in the winter until I moved to the other side of the mountains in Junior High.  Back then, we had two beers, Rainier or Olympia (The latter pronounced “Oh-lee”) and I lived so close to the Oly brewery that it’s morning whistle would let us know we were late for school.  Other than that it was just pine trees and a smell in Tacoma that was simply known as “the aroma” (Get of my lawn!).

Enter Mr. Rood:

In my followings of Roadkill, and subsequently the website for the show (RoadKill.com), an article titled “426 on 4/26” popped into my feed back in 2017.  In this article, Mr. Rood told the story of how a Logging Mill owned NASCAR team entered The 24hrs of LeMans in a 1972 Dodge Charger (powered by engines that were built in Seattle).  He goes in to great lengths to describe how the presence of this team of “shirtless Americans” was received by race aficionados (who were more accustomed to MUCH more professional efforts).  He talks about the issues the team had with the (poor quality) race gas and how they almost immediately started popping engines despite their best efforts to do otherwise, and then he had to go and hit me right in the feels:  When the team realized they were never going to be competitive, they filled their race car to the brim with local women and drove it into town on beer runs (And the girls that went on said runs are still talking about it)…

To me, nothing better describes the place in the universe that I was born into more than the actions described in that last sentence.  Nothing's taken serious.  If we're in it and have no chance to win it, then it's time to party.

So here goes.  We're going to build the biggest, loudest, stupidest car anyone has ever seen on this side of the Danube, and we’re going on beer runs because (and I quote) “the chicks dig it”.

 

Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter)
Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter) PowerDork
11/25/21 1:56 p.m.

The car:

My next project is going to be a big, stupid, American V8
- Me

I’ve been in a bit of a “project funk” lately.  The crap I used to pick up for $500-$3000 all day long (RX-7’s, Datsun Z’s, Toyota 4x4’s, etc) now cost crazy amounts of money ($10k +).  I feel a bit like my grandfather who used to complain about candy bars costing $.05 when he was a kid, but I just can’t see myself buying into the cars I loved as a kid at the prices people are asking and then chopping them up for track use.  What I needed to find was something exactly like the Suddard’s GT350.  Something “gone enough” that it could be considered “dead” by any automotive collector, but “good enough” that I could get it going again and put it on the track “my way”.  The list I came up with was kind of short, and the condition requirements I set made only served to narrow the few search results I DID get.   I was 100% certain my next project would involve the efforts of the entire GRM network, and about $8000 worth of container shipping to get whatever we found over here from the US. 

With that in mind, I kept my eye out (in order of preference) for a 1971-1973 Dodge Charger, first gen mustang, first or second gen Camaro, and I kept the Tornado GT40 Kit car as my fallback option.  So when a 1973 Charger appeared for sale on the very day I just happened to be searching Facebook for my usual search criteria (13b, Renesis, RX8, Busso, 1uz, 22re, and V8) Mrs. Hungary was very supportive and understanding and absolutely insisted I go look at the car immediately (which I did).


The car, as it sits, is a rust eaten 1973 Charger.  The village I found it in was SO SMALL that the owner of the car simply said to meet him on the road.  When I got there, it was easy to find him because he was the only other car in sight.  I followed him about 100 meters into his driveway where I found what must be “Hungarian Automotive Paradise”.

The guy does amazing sheet metal work on cars, and offered to do what was needed on the Charger for 5000-Euro (out the door and prepped for paint).  Apparently he took the Charger in on a trade for some work and wanted to sell it because he needed the money quick.  10,000-Euro is a lot to pay for a car in this condition back in the states, but when you consider the hassle of finding someone in GRM to buy it and haul it home for me, then shipping it to a port, and THEN shipping it across the pond, and THEN shipping it in from a port near me... Well, then it comes in at a bit less than I would have spent in logistics alone.

I’ll try to get a running list of things that are wrong within the next few days, but for now the details I can remember from my visit are simple:

318 V8, automatic transmission**, and tin worms have infected it to the point that having it cast a shadow is quite the feat.  The windshield has no glass, and the interior is so filled with parts and moisture that I couldn’t even give it a proper inspection or get even the slightest idea of what’s missing and what isn’t.  All I know is that I can absolutely “Fred Flintstone” it through multiple spots in the floor and trunk.  The driver’s side door hits the fender when you try to open it, and you have to reach in through where the windshield was to open the passenger door as the outside door handle doesn’t work.

(** Full disclosure:  I have no idea if the automatic transmission will be delivered with the car.  It wasn’t installed, I didn’t ask, and don’t much care.)

The engine was in Austria when I agreed to buy the car, and if the engine isn’t rusted up solid when I see it tomorrow I’ll crap myself (I hadn’t even seen a picture of it yet when I handed over the cash deposit).  I said it best in my Mazda RX8 thread, “I’ve never bought cars with my head and I wasn’t about to start now”.  Buying this car was important enough to me that I did not want to let this pass, I absolutely HAD to jump now (details be damned).  After all, there’s nothing that enough time and money won’t fix.  Having neither of those now is hardly a reason not to dive in head first anyways.

The goals?  Not sure yet.  I’m thinking 440-big block and a manual transmission of some variety (I have no idea what Dodge offers for such things).  It’s going to the track, so a cage and lots of suspension/chassis work is in the cards (again, no idea what’s offered and I’ve never ever tried to make a leaf spring dance).  It might hit the road for a brief moment, if for nothing else but to just get the title in my name, but that’s about it.  TUV requirements here being what they are, anything I do to this that doesn’t look stock will bar it from license renewal. 

I’m not searching for HP numbers or lap times.  Instead, what I want is for the audience to absolutely crap themselves when I come round that last bend and put my foot to the floor for the entire duration of that long straight at the Pannonia Ring. 

So grab your tetanus shots.  When we’re done, the world will have to set their clocks back an hour the first time I side-step that clutch devil

Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter)
Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter) PowerDork
11/25/21 1:58 p.m.

Unfortunately, the article that started my search those 4 years ago is all but lost on the modern internet.  I have a copy saved to my computer, but you can view it through the magic of "The Wayback Machine"!

https://web.archive.org/web/20190622205023/http://www.roadkill.com/426-on-426-the-olympia-beer-1972-dodge-charger-that-raced-and-still-races-at-le-mans/

 

 

Tomorrow's the big day.  Delivery scheduled for 10AM CET (Central European Time) wink

paul_s0
paul_s0 Reader
11/25/21 1:59 p.m.

Excellent, I look forward to following along smiley

Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter)
Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter) PowerDork
11/25/21 2:04 p.m.
paul_s0 said:

Excellent, I look forward to following along smiley

Thanks man, I have high hopes for this one.  The only hangup I'm facing now though, is the agreement I made with Mrs. Hungary.  No money is to come out of our house budget to fix this car, until the house is complete.  I'm hoping I can find small things to keep me busy (and the build going) until that happens.

Good times

Dusterbd13-michael
Dusterbd13-michael MegaDork
11/25/21 2:09 p.m.

" Even today, “Dodge” wouldn’t appear on my internet search history, and I usually assume them to be odd, expensive, and owned by people who use teeth marks to sign their vehicle registration"

 

Dammit Bobby, i resemble that!!!

 

 

Mopar manual transmission for a big block? A833. Ir a new process three speed. Thats it. 

My thoughts are flavored by American availability. No idea what's available over there, but i wouldn't turn my nose up to any big block these days. The prevalence of stroker kits and cheap aluminum heads for great power makes the base block almost irrelevant. Id also look into a tremec trans, or a gm 4 speed. The mopar stuff is just stupid priced these days.

Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter)
Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter) PowerDork
11/25/21 2:31 p.m.
Dusterbd13-michael said:

" Even today, “Dodge” wouldn’t appear on my internet search history, and I usually assume them to be odd, expensive, and owned by people who use teeth marks to sign their vehicle registration"

 

Dammit Bobby, i resemble that!!!

 

 

Mopar manual transmission for a big block? A833. Ir a new process three speed. Thats it. 

My thoughts are flavored by American availability. No idea what's available over there, but i wouldn't turn my nose up to any big block these days. The prevalence of stroker kits and cheap aluminum heads for great power makes the base block almost irrelevant. Id also look into a tremec trans, or a gm 4 speed. The mopar stuff is just stupid priced these days.

Hahahaha, well now I'm right there with ya!  In my new found Mopar-ness I've wandered over to your thread and have been giving it a look.  I'm loving your Duster!

For the engine/trans combo that will eventually go into this thing, I'm 100% certain we'll be shopping stateside when that time comes.  I've got a shipper in the area that can get parts to Budapest, so it's just a matter of loading it in the 4-Runner from there.  Tremec would definitely be an option.

But for now, I was going to take your advice from another Charger thread I stumbled across a while ago, and seam weld this pig while I've still got it apart (err...  when I get the parts cleaned out of it).  I've never done such a thing before, but then again I've never done any rust repairs before either so it'll be 100% a learning experience.  Either way, I've got a couple kilos of filler rod and a bottle full of argon so it might just be the task I need to keep me busy until I can start putting a budget together.

Good times.

Dusterbd13-michael
Dusterbd13-michael MegaDork
11/25/21 2:54 p.m.

 

Glad you're digging the duster! And welcome to being a knuckle dragging, mouth breathing, technophobe mopar guy!

If you're signing up for seam welding, sign up for subframe connectors and torque boxes. Worth every drop of blood. Makes it way, way better. 

Look up us cartool and mimic what they do. Good E36 M3 right there. 

 

Id also do explorer 8.8 if they're easy over there. Good gears, track lock, CHEAP. 

wawazat
wawazat SuperDork
11/25/21 5:31 p.m.

Woo Hoo!  More old American iron project cars on GRM!  Congrats on the purchase!

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
11/25/21 5:43 p.m.

This is epic - just for the fact you found it there in Hungary to start with!

Floating Doc (Forum Supporter)
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) PowerDork
11/25/21 5:55 p.m.

This is going to be fun!

Woody (Forum Supportum)
Woody (Forum Supportum) MegaDork
11/25/21 8:32 p.m.

My oldest sister started dating her husband back around 1974. He worked in a bank and had bought a 1973 Charger (non-SE) brand new. I'm not sure, but it was probably a 318 with an automatic. I spent a lot of time in that car when I was a little kid, so I'm really looking forward to this project.

I don't have a ton of knowledge on these things, but I was always under the impression that the SEs came with the three little slotted opera windows behind the door. My brother in law's car had the same big windows and silver trim that your car has, but I also know that the Mopar options book was pretty heavy back then, so it's possible that I just saw a bunch of cars with the slotted windows and SE badges back in the day, and they were separate packages. 
 

Fun fact: Your car clearly came equipped with the little fender mounted turn signal indicator lights. You need to reinstall those. 

https://www.forbbodiesonly.com/moparforum/threads/1973-up-fender-turn-signal-indicator-charger.193482/

Woody (Forum Supportum)
Woody (Forum Supportum) MegaDork
11/25/21 8:33 p.m.

And please post some photos of those awesome tail lights. 

Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter)
Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter) PowerDork
11/26/21 8:39 a.m.
Dusterbd13-michael said:

 

Glad you're digging the duster! And welcome to being a knuckle dragging, mouth breathing, technophobe mopar guy!

If you're signing up for seam welding, sign up for subframe connectors and torque boxes. Worth every drop of blood. Makes it way, way better. 

Look up us cartool and mimic what they do. Good E36 M3 right there. 

 

Id also do explorer 8.8 if they're easy over there. Good gears, track lock, CHEAP. 

Subframe connectors are a definite.  The explorer rear, I might not be able to do (not a lot of Explorers out here, and axels take up a lot of room in containers).  I may be forced to work with what I got on that one, unless I get real lucky again.  I'll be pickin your brain for sure!

Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter)
Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter) PowerDork
11/26/21 8:41 a.m.
wawazat said:

Woo Hoo!  More old American iron project cars on GRM!  Congrats on the purchase!

I've always had a soft spot for old muscle, but never had a wallet big enough to buy in.  Every time I made more money, it seemed people wanted more money for less of a car! laugh

I'm super excited for this one.  It's going to be a long term project for sure.

Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter)
Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter) PowerDork
11/26/21 8:50 a.m.
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) said:

This is epic - just for the fact you found it there in Hungary to start with!

I couldn't believe it either!  The shop's got a 71/72 Chevelle in there now getting painted as well.  I'm thinking (am worried?) that knowing of this place might be a bad idea and may put me in touch with unsavory folks. laugh

 

Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter)
Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter) PowerDork
11/26/21 8:51 a.m.
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) said:

This is going to be fun!

I really hope so.  I'm really looking forward to being shirtless in the paddock and violating every trackday noise limitation at least once. laugh

Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter)
Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter) PowerDork
11/26/21 8:53 a.m.
Woody (Forum Supportum) said:

My oldest sister started dating her husband back around 1974. He worked in a bank and had bought a 1973 Charger (non-SE) brand new. I'm not sure, but it was probably a 318 with an automatic. I spent a lot of time in that car when I was a little kid, so I'm really looking forward to this project.

I don't have a ton of knowledge on these things, but I was always under the impression that the SEs came with the three little slotted opera windows behind the door. My brother in law's car had the same big windows and silver trim that your car has, but I also know that the Mopar options book was pretty heavy back then, so it's possible that I just saw a bunch of cars with the slotted windows and SE badges back in the day, and they were separate packages. 
 

Fun fact: Your car clearly came equipped with the little fender mounted turn signal indicator lights. You need to reinstall those. 

https://www.forbbodiesonly.com/moparforum/threads/1973-up-fender-turn-signal-indicator-charger.193482/

In what little research I've done, I have come across those tri-slotted windows (and REALLY dont like them).  They seem to be common on the '74s but the '73 and earlier I see the word "Brogham" being thrown around...

But yeah, I'll have to get those lights back in there.  I was lookin at the holes today (those are some BIG holes).  I'll be filling them in when it becomes a track only car.

Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter)
Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter) PowerDork
11/26/21 8:57 a.m.
Woody (Forum Supportum) said:

And please post some photos of those awesome tail lights. 

50% broken and the bumper is being held up with what looks to be "white tape", but this one's just for you sir wink

 

jh36
jh36 Dork
11/26/21 9:12 a.m.

In reply to Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter) :

Your two opening posts are vividly written. One of the best first chapters I've read. And I know the book is going to rock. 

Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter)
Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter) PowerDork
11/26/21 9:17 a.m.

Ok, quick photo dump.


 

 

I think that about sums things up.

The first thing you'll probably notice (aside from the awful condition of the car) is that none of these pictures appear to be taken from my driveway.  There's a reason for that:  Austria got hit with a foot of snow overnight and as a result, the guys in the van with my engine and trailer are running 3+ hours behind schedule.  That was 10am.

They're still on their way, but now it's snowing HERE as well!!!  To add insult to injury, I wont be at the house at their ETA which means Mrs. Hungary and the two Hungarlings are going to be responsible to catch this beast when it arrives.

Fingers crossed they don't run into any more issues. surprise

Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter)
Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter) PowerDork
11/26/21 9:21 a.m.

and just some quick photos of some of the projects I spied around the garage:

 

Good times

paul_s0
paul_s0 Reader
11/26/21 9:30 a.m.

I like it.  Bill, the condition of the body reminds me a lot of my '76 Spitfire I restored when I was 18, although yours is better.  It might look a lot at the moment but bit by bit it'll improve and you'll really have something to show for it at the end.  I must admit to a touch of jealousy.

I always cringe when I see stuff parked long-term on wet grass, wonder why he doesn't get a bit more concrete down and have some hard standing.

Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter)
Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter) PowerDork
11/26/21 9:40 a.m.
jh36 said:

In reply to Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter) :

Your two opening posts are vividly written. One of the best first chapters I've read. And I know the book is going to rock. 

Thanks man!  I hope I can keep that up, as it's going to be a looooooong book.  I'm hoping to keep this one going beyond the build this time, and get into the parts where we get to enjoy the finished product.

Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter)
Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter) PowerDork
11/26/21 9:45 a.m.
paul_s0 said:

I like it.  Bill, the condition of the body reminds me a lot of my '76 Spitfire I restored when I was 18, although yours is better.  It might look a lot at the moment but bit by bit it'll improve and you'll really have something to show for it at the end.  I must admit to a touch of jealousy.

I always cringe when I see stuff parked long-term on wet grass, wonder why he doesn't get a bit more concrete down and have some hard standing.

Oh man... Yeah, me too.

Back in "the day" I bought a 240z out of a field and swore I'd never do THAT again.  The internet was barely known to me at the time, and just the sheer number of broken bolts whenever I tried to remove anything was enough for me to scrap it.  I didn't get anywhere CLOSE to doing any actual body/engine work on it.  A shame really, because it was absolutely nothing I couldn't handle now.

Your words give me hope though.  I'm in over my head, so if you see me doing a dumb please be sure to say something laugh  I've only JUST started playing with my TIG, and I've certainly never attempted to weld anything so thin or as visual as auto-body work before.

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