A Challenging Endeavour - Pg 3

Once cured, I spent the next several weekends wet sanding and polishing until that last coat of clear was stripped off and the layers underneath where smoothed out. This was a case that clearly proved the benefit of the Base-Clear system. Once the base is down the clear can be very forgiving – allowing you to sand and polish, removing runs, dry spots, dirt and more. Even spot re-sprays are easily handled if required.


One of the most challenging (pun intended) and frustrating parts of the entire build, besides the paint, was the interior.

Year One had switched its interior supplier from the well-known Legendary brand, to a brand that promised faster turn-around for them. After receiving, installing and removing three sets of the brand X covers, taking up entire weekends that could have been spent on other tasks, I was no closer to having a well-fitting interior. I even went so far as to take photos for the manufacturer to advise them of missing pulls, as well as purchasing various grades of foam in an effort to fill them out and make them presentable.

While Year One was kind enough to send me a letter, signed by the president no less, thanking me for my efforts to work with their suppliers, they were still sub-par and I had to ask for a refund, then order direct from Legendary, which was, one try and a perfect fit. 

If there is a moral to this, it’s ask others who have been there. After telling the story to several people, both in person and on internet chat groups, I found many people had had similar experiences. Whether it’s a local or national car club, or a chat group on the ‘net, find others who are doing the same project and learn ahead of time. It’ll save you time and frustrations.

Once the seats where installed, I moved on to all the other parts of the interior I had also never tried before. The plastic Dodge door panels where stripped, re-textured and painted with SEM paint. The headliner and trim where installed and the carpet cut to fit. The dash recovered and the gauges, radio and console detailed.


The engine build, ultimately a gratifying experience, also suffered from negative outside influence. The local engine shop I dealt with, though they talked a good game, ended up leaving a frost plug in the block and omitting a brass distributor sleeve which requires a special reaming tool to insert. 

After much research I got the correct information from a query to Rich Ehrinberg at MoparAction Magazine. Rich, or E-booger, as he is affectionately called is the quintessential MOPAR guru, dispatching MOPAR tech for the faithful. His experience and knowledge of all things MOPAR is second to none and I am thrilled he played a small, but important part in the b


After purchasing the special tool from an EBay search, I was able to install the correct sleeve myself. As for the frost plug, I did that repair myself as well. These are other items I will add to my list of “can-do’s” for my next build.

 The engine build was done over a Christmas break, sprayed Chrysler blue and tested on an engine test stand I fabricated for this task. My thought was that running and testing the mill out of the car would save many hours leaning over freshly painted fenders and would give me the confidence to know it would run (or at least fire!) before installing it in the car.


As the Challenger neared it’s completion, I had a lot of underbody work to do, including re-installing all those items I had initially laid on my back to remove. Of course now I was three years older – and when those years are on the other side of 40, you feel every one of them.

Having befriended the VP of BendPak lifts on one of the fantastic online communities I frequent (GarageJournal.com), I approached him about getting set up with a 4 post lift. A short time later, BABCO sales in Vancouver was shipping me one of BendPak’s finest 9000lb lifts. I was going to be able to finish his build in style!


With the latest addition of a sliding jack, the lift makes anything under the car easily accessible from a standing position. I highly recommend a lift for your shop – they are much more affordable than one thinks and there are styles that can even fit in a standard 2-car garage.