The Dodge we bought at Mecum Kissimmee has been quietly parked at ACC HQ for a few weeks now, taken out only a few times to scare a couple of writers and staffers interested in the big Hemi. But since it’s going to be at our booth at this weekend’s Portland Roadster Show, I had a handful of technical and cosmetic things I needed to take care of, and a few rare sunny March days were the perfect chance to get my hands dirty.
So two Sundays ago, I drove my Charger to the office and swapped it for the 440, which promptly needed to be filled with fuel. The plan was to just drive it across town to change the oil at my house. But of course the car had other ideas.
Gary Spencer, the car’s builder, had warned me about a fuel leak at the filler neck of the tank. I’d forgotten all about it until the tank neared capacity and started pouring 92 Premium out onto the ground. There’s seal between the tank and the filler neck—ours was worn in half. Think anyone would have a NOS or reproduction seal for the fuel tank of a 1963 Dodge 440 on a Sunday? I didn’t think so either. The fix? Tie a rag around the filler neck, put a zip tie on it, and drive slow. And avoid hills.
I got it home without any other issues, and was able to change the oil and give it a quick once-over. Thanks to Layson’s Mopar Restorations up in Washington, I had a reproduction tank seal delivered in just a couple of days. And since the weather was still holding, I decided it was the perfect time for an unscheduled photo shoot. With lots of smoke.
Mark Wigginton, who handles ACC’s book review section, also runs Portland International Raceway. He was nice enough to set aside some time last Thursday for a quick burnout session on the track. The Hemi had no trouble melting the 12-inch wide rear Hoosiers. In fact, the car was anvil-like in its reliability – starting even when heat soaked (my big block Caprice won’t do that), and never overheating thanks to its huge Spal fans.
The ACC office is divided on the hood scoop. Some of us think it’s fine (and functional) just the way it is, but others would rather see it shrunk down to the size of an original Ram Charger unit. Once thing’s for sure – we need something there, as the air cleaner sticks out of a hole in the hood. Would you change it or leave it alone? Let us know in the comments below.