Street Machine - - Telfo - SI­MON TELFORD

AS I type, Scott Tay­lor is back from his trav­els in the US for Hot Rod Drag Week and we have 24 days to get our 1963 Dodge Phoenix ready to drive to the

Run­ning On Empty Fes­ti­val in the out­back NSW town of Co­bar. Scotty bought the Dodge a few months back on the on­line auc­tion web­site Graysonline, for a measly $1454.30! The car had no en­gine and some­one had started rub­bing back the left-hand side of the car, but oth­er­wise it’s com­plete.

Our mis­sion is to get the car run­ning, reg­is­tered and look­ing half­way pre­sentable in time to make the first day of the fes­ti­val, 26 Oc­to­ber.

The orig­i­nal plan was to re­build a 361-cube Chrysler big-block that Scotty had in bits at home, but by the time we priced up all the ex­tras that we would need (heads, in­take and more) it was go­ing to be al­most as cheap to buy a brand-new 440ci Blue­print mo­tor from Ea­gle Auto Parts. You don’t have to be Ein­stein to fig­ure out which way we went!

Paul Rogers Trans­mis­sions is re­build­ing a tough 727 push-but­ton Torque­flite auto for us, and the fac­tory 8¾-inch diff will do the job for now.

So far, so sim­ple, but there are a few twists to watch out for when jam­ming a 440 into a right-hand-drive Phoenix, in­clud­ing get­ting the sump and ex­haust to fit. An­drew from Ex­tracted Per­for­mance Ex­hausts will work his magic on a cus­tom set of pipes, but we’ll have to get crack­ing to get ev­ery­thing sit­ting in place ready for him.

The front drum brakes will get the chop for a set of Valiant discs and we’ll go right through the sus­pen­sion too. We’re go­ing to jam the big­gest set of rims and rub­ber un­der the rear that we can, and then we’re look­ing at tub­bing the car and fit­ting some re­ally de­cent meats when we at­tack phase two of the build next year.

Apart from shiny rims, the car won’t get much of a beauty up­grade for now – we’ll ei­ther try to match the paint that’s on it or give it a shot of black primer – which would suit the

Run­ning On Empty vibes. Our orig­i­nal goal for the car was to get it on the road for un­der $10,000, but the en­gine and ’box will prob­a­bly blow that to­tal out by a few grand. Still, it should end up be­ing whole lot of fun for the coin.

Right now, Scotty’s do­ing a whole lot of mea­sur­ing, re­search­ing and shop­ping to get all the nec­es­sary bits on their way in a timely fash­ion. If ev­ery­thing turns up (and fits!), the 24-day dead­line should be em­i­nently doable, even with time out as we plan for Street

Ma­chine Drag Chal­lenge and get Turbo Taxi back on the road. But hey, if any­one can blow out a dead­line, it’s us! To see how it pans out, look for the new episode of Car­nage on which­­ma­chine to­wards the end of this s month. Wish us luck!


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