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). I 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 little since.


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 of the 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 whom 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 car 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 stopping outside:



Unloading:



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 water:







And then...! (note briefcase thrown 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.



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