Here's my '62 Lancer 770. It's got an aluminum-block 225 slant-6
engine, 2-barrel carb on an aluminum intake, MP cam, and various other
upgrades under the hood. Pushbutton automatic, A/C, 4-piston disc
brakes, front and rear lighting upgrades that actually work safely and
effectively (not the toy "lookit mee" kind), and no, those flowers were
just there as a joke after a thorough interior detailing job:
More pics (engine, etc.) here
Details on the rear lighting upgrades here.
Details on the armrests here.
Details on the speaker grille here.
And here's the story of the day the Dodge arrived.
My father was not into cars at all. They were appliances to him. He
learned to drive on grandpa's '56 Plymouth:
and his first and second cars were a '62 Plymouth and a '70 Dart, but
over the subsequent years he chose some rather-less-than-very-good GM,
Ford, and VW products.
Now me, I was into cars right from the start. I was barely two years old
when my folks traded in their '70 Dart on a new Caprice, but I was
inconsolable; when they would have company over, my mother would
entertain them by telling all about how upset I was they'd sold the Dart
and going "Ha ha ha, we should've kept it so he could take the motor
apart, ha ha ha."
Ha ha ha, indeed; careful what you wish for. When I was fourteen or so,
I got(?) interested (again?) in slant-6 engines and the cars they
powered. I bought a '64 Valiant for $350, with a 170 that "would run"
and a dead transmission. Got the engine running, never got around to
swapping the transmission, and though I learned a lot taking the car
apart, I never got it put back together. Parts
filled up the garage, I
joined the Slant-6 club and then founded the Denver chapter (much to the
later chagrin of a Denver Post writer
went to the downtown Denver Public Library, found the patent for the
Slant-6 engine, copied the names off of it, and started cold-calling
them in Michigan. In this manner, I met the many-decade chief engine
engineer from Chrysler, and the two of us became friends (we still are).
Not too long after I bought the Valiant, in October 1990, two things
happened almost simultaneously: dad's hideously badly built, unreliable
1980 Stinkoln Clown Car finally died for the last time, and the
September 1990 issue of the Slant-6 News arrived (late). In the
classifieds was an ad that read something like this:
1962 Dodge Lancer 770 4-door.
20,450 original miles.
Green/green. Aluminum 225/auto.
My father bought it in 1961
and died in 1963; driven very
The phone number was in Orinda, California. I set about
campaigning for dad to replace the Stinkoln with this '62 Dodge. It took
a lot of campaigning, too; he was an ace trial lawyer and very difficult
to persuade once he'd made up his mind. I tried everything, including
showing him this Popular Mechanics reader survey
new-for-1961 Lancer. I begged, I pleaded, I reasoned, I cajoled, I
cried, I stamped my feet...nothing worked until "We could work on it
together...!". That was enough to get dad to say "maybe". The guy from
I'd bought the Valiant had a friend in the Orinda area, who checked out
the car and said "Buy it before I do". Even my mother joined in and
transferred some money from the left pocket to the right, making it a
nominal anniversary present. Transport was arranged.
One day sometime later—early November, I think—the
arrived all by its lonesome on an enormous transport truck. I ran round
taking pictures as the driver unloaded it from the truck and drove it,
ancient 6.50 x 13 bias-ply tires and all, into the driveway. I handed
off the camera to my mother and gave the car an inspection before
fetching the barely-unfrozen garden hose and washing who knows how many
states' worth of road dirt off the car before dad got home. This is
another roll of C-41 colour negative film I developed myself in the
school lab. Click any image for a larger version in a new window. The
money shot's the last one, of course:
First view after seeing through the dining room window the giant truck
Truck driver clambers in...
...and starts up the car...
...to back it off the truck:
A grinning teenaged me fawns o'er the
important part first...
...and sets to work with very cold
aside into the bushes)
Very shortly after the car arrived in Colorado, we had a cold snap; the
temperature dropped to -25°F. We were afraid this California car
would've been at risk of a frozen, cracked engine block if we didn't get
it started. The heavy oil in the crankcase was enough to prevent that by
itself, as were all the original first-version ignition and starter
components subsequently upgraded and TSB'd for better cold starting.
Start it we did, through outlandish measures (ignorant ones, which
greatly hastened engine wear and greatly endangered our eyebrows), but
that's another story for another night.