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The Willomet Charger

A desecration to Mopar nuts everywhere, this is my protouring, LS-powered, 1970 Dodge Charger; built at my shop, Willomet Motor & Fabrication.


The suburban is back running and rolling, so I'll document my moonlighting here. From the beginning...

I picked up this 70 R/T about three years ago. Since then, I've built out the shop in preparation to start this build. Note the Duramax intercooler hanging in the background. It has a new home...

It's fairly complete - interior, trim, mouldings, lights, glass, suspension, drivetrain - really a rolling shell with no engine or transmission; perfect for my purposes.

It arrived at the shop filled with three things: lots of parts, copious amounts of rat scat, and a rattlesnake that had taken up residence in the truck. No doubt it wanted to be close to a reliable meal. The snake didn't wait long to move out, and truthfully I only ever knew he was there from the shed skins in the corner of the shop and the trunk. I try not to hate things in nature, but snakes are different.

The interior was a biohazard, and I ordered the 3M mask and glove setup and got to cleaning the emptied car. I filled my shop vac several times and finished with a thorough rinse of the floor and inner door panels. It was funky.

Having never disassembled a Mopar, I started cataloging and bagging and tagging the screws, clips, brackets with detailed notes as to how they went together and where. The reprint service manual was a useful guide. I should also say that every project - garage, house, car - is a chance to work with friends and family. Here's a buddy helping me take out the suspension and get it loaded up in the body cart:

Disassembly would move along nicely from this elevated height:

The objective is to build a car that will drive across the country and perform competitively against whatever monochromatic German machine it might encounter, as well as more recent iterations of American pony cars; all and without sacrificing what makes these cars unique.

We'll keep the solid rear axle, and make upgrades to the unibody so our chassis is rigid and predictable. After a recent visit to Rad Rides, I'm all but set on building a new front suspension and losing the torsion bars. The hope is to deliver power to ground rather than just evaporating the rear tires, which will have the largest contact patch we can reasonably fit in the wells with a mini tub. Big brakes, precise steering, a well sorted suspension, around 600hp, an overdrive, and a target dry weight of less than 4000 lbs are all part of the plan. Maybe I'm aiming high.

Performance and long range comfort are the priorities, and in that order. There is a budget, so it will be built by hand and not a checkbook, and after stripping part of the rear quarter, it looks like I'll be placing at least one order with AMD for some new sheetmetal.

I guess the previous owner thought 1/4" of body filler could hide all the past sins.

Next up: lots of sanding.



Trim Level
Bare metal
Primer, rust
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This is my first car. My father bought the Suburban new in 1985, and I spent many weekends at his elbow as he serviced and maintained the truck. It provided no shortage of opportunities - a leaking lift pump, a few alternators and water pumps, a two piece rear main seal that was designed to leak, and a passenger door that never shut right would eat its door post bushings. My dad enjoys caring for a vehicle as a sort of active meditation. I recall him referring to a car as, "the...

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