Trim Back on Ginger

I didn’t send the grill to the paint shop, but masked it off and painted myself.

The grill on a Magnum is chromed plastic, which has its edges masked off and painted over the chrome. I started by washing the grill, then wiping down with wax & grease remover, then carefully mask off the edges needing to stay chrome. Next I lightly scuff with a rough (brown) 3M pad. Some of the paint was very loose and exposed the chromed plastic under it when scuffed.

I sprayed the part with paint adhesion promoter. I started with two light coats, and finished with two wet coats.

A couple hours later I pulled off the tape and it looks like brand new.

The rest of the trim was reinstalled. I’d say that the paint job was a total success. I’m very happy with how it came out. Tomorrow the car gets washed and detailed.

Dash Panel with Dakota Digital Gauges

For Dodge Magnum

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I made this dash panel for my 78 Dodge Magnum Dakota Digital gauges many years ago. I’ve since replaced the dash with white face analog gauges. Selling this panel for a dirt cheap $100 plus $25 to ship in Lower 48 if you can’t pick up at my shop. Use the panel or strip the gauges out for something else. All gauges worked when pulled, although the the tach was dimmer. I never investigated if there was a brightness setting.

Ginger is Getting a New Suit

Of Poly Urethane Paint with Clear

IN the mid-90s, Ginger had it’s vinyl top Ripped off, scuffed and had a couple coats of lacquer applied. After 25 years, there’s some bubbling happening under the paint. So most of the trim was removed, the car washed, and I went over the car with a magnifying glass to mark any flaw with pink liquid chalk. I dropped the car off to the paint shop. They’ll grind and repair the flawed area, scuff the car with 400 grit wet sandpaper, spray a coat of adhesion primer, and a couple of coats of black poly urethane.

I”ll pick up the car after my road trip to Detroit, to replace the trim – after its been polished. I’ve done a ton of work on the car since I bought in the 90s. Search this site if You’re interested.

Dave’s Magnum – Ginger

Daily Driver getting a freshen up

I’ve own this car for a couple of Decades

My first new car was a 1978 Dodge Magnum. It was triple black with a 360 motor and a floor shifter, but not highly optioned. I’d actually gone to the dealer to order a triple black Diplomat, then saw a Magnum for the first time coming off the carrier. It was the dealership’s first Magnum, and was causing quite the stir so I went out with the salesman to watch it get unloaded. Afterwards, we went inside to place my order for one.

My first Magnum back in 1978 with my wife
It was the car we went from the church to the reception in April 1979

I drove the car for business for about 3 years, selling it with 126,000 miles on it. Over the years I’d bought a couple of nice used ones, but the color, corduroy seats, and/or Granny Shift did nothing for me, and so I flipped them for a profit after cleaning and fixing up.

Around 1998, I decided I needed to find a nice Black car. I located Ginger in Arizona. It was a black car with T-tops, 400ci and leather interior – although the front seats had its leather very hard from being in the south with T-tops. The car had its vinyl top removed and a repaint sometime in the past. I think I paid about $4000 for it, and trailered it back to Texas.

Bringing Ginger home to Houston from Tuscan.

Over the next couple of years I replaced the stock 400 with a forged rotating 400 short-block that was in a local A-body drag racing. I replaced the Leanburn with a Mopar Performance electronic ignition; the iron intake and Thermoquad with an Edelbrock Performer intake and carb; and the V-belt pulley system with a March Performance Serpentine. It’s a very quick Magnum.

I also replaced the 8.25″ rear axle with a 8.75″ Suregrip out or a 74 Charger, and installed 3.55 gears

The single 2.25″ exhaust was replaced with Schumacher headers and a custom bent dual 2.5″ exhaust.

Finally, I mounted a LeCarra steering wheel, the 85 mph speedo dash was replaced with a custom made dash – filled Dakota Digital gauges (much cooler 20 years ago than now) and an Infinity Stereo out of a 99 Durango,

Oh yeah, I bought a set of Keystone Klassics and 235-60/15 Goodrich TAs. I drove the car like this (sparingly) for the next 15 years.

Recently, I’ve made some major upgrades to the care which I will post here, but I wanted to give y’all the background first. Check back as I’ve made a lot of upgrades and will trickle them out.

Ginger Gets A New Dash Panel

Ginger is the name of my favorite Magnum. Twenty years ago I had two beautiful black Magnums, Ginger and Maryann. I gave Maryann to my now 31-year-old son for his 15th birthday. Sadly for ten plus years, it has sat disassembled, waiting for my son to restore. But back to my story, I recently have been freshening up Ginger. I replaced the original leather seats with more comfortable modern leather seats.

Click Here for more information on the car’s freshening up.

Now I’m replacing the digital dash I put in the car about 17 years ago with some nice white faced custom gauges.

This is the current dash with 17 Year Old Dakota Dash gauges. It is for sale if you’re interested.

So I bought an empty gauge panel on eBay, and ordered about $1000 worth of custom gauges close to the size of the holes. I bought a large Speedometer (with Tach) that works off GPS; and a large gauge that has Volts, Oil Pressure, Coolant Temp and Fuel Level to fill the two big holes. To fill the two smaller holes I bought an Oil Temp gauge and a clock.

The two big gauge holes with the sleeves in them were too small by about  1/16″, so I had to cut the welds attaching the sleeves to the panel and pop them out. Once out, the holes were now 1/8″ too big. On the small gauge holes, I had to cut the inset hoods off as the gauges were too shallow for the screw on collars that attach the gauges to the panel to screw on the back of them.

To make the big gauges fit, I made some spacers from 4″ schedule 80 PVC sleeves, by hand sawing about 3/8″ off the end and wet sanding until they were smooth and the same size.

I mocked the gauges up to make sure they fit prior to doing any sanding and painting on the gauge panel. They did, so I glued the spacers onto the panel.

I wet sanded the panel and masked off the idiot lights.

After painting gloss black, it looked too gloss and cheesy. Some of the glue around the rings (that I swore I’d sanded all of the way off) was also showing.

So I decided to leave the coves glossy black, but have the flat portion in a hammer tone black – to tone down the gloss and hide imperfections. So I taped off the coves, sanded some more on the glue around the rings, and wet sanded the areas to get the hammer tone paint.

I hit it with two light coats with an hour between, and then a very wet coat after another hour.

This is where I’m at right now. I’m out of town until Tuesday, which is  little more than 48 hours to cure. I’ll pull the tape off Tuesday, mount the gauges –  and I’ll post some photos of the finished product. Continue reading “Ginger Gets A New Dash Panel”

Mopar Platform Reference

Mopar Body Platforms

If you would like to learn more about the various Mopar Platforms that Chrysler, Dodge, Plymouth, and Eagle cars were based on — then use the below links to navigate to the various Body topics on www.MoparWiki.com.

The MoparWiki has the ultimate goal of being the best reference for all things Mopar. This is done through collaboration of all willing to help improve the topics by adding information they have and citing a reference. Your help is welcomed.

J/A Body on MoparWiki
P/L Body on MoparWiki
L-Body on MoparWiki
S-Body on MoparWiki

J-Body on MoparWiki
M-Body on MoparWiki
LH-Body on MoparWiki
G-Body on MoparWiki
R-Bodies on MoparWiki

D-Body on MoparWiki

LC-Body on MoparWiki
LX-Body on MoparWiki
K-Car on MoparWiki
F-Body on MoparWiki
E-Body on MoparWiki
A-Body on MoparWiki
B-Body on MoparWiki
Magnum on the MoparWiki
C-Body on MoparWiki
Aero Mopar on MoparWiki

The Original Magnum GT


Magnum GT II



Bonus! Special Bubble-Top Custom Version Included

  • Original year:
    1967
  • Company: MPC
  • Scale: 1/25

Build for super speed…or super show! Single cockpit
experimental drag car or bubble-topped 2+2 custom car! All of these go and show
parts…and many more: single cockpit bubble top, custom interior with 4 bucket
seats & rear headrests, cockpit fairing, custom instrument panel, custom
console, Cragar wheels, full 2+2 bubble top, 440 magnum engine with ram tubes.



Click image above
to see a close-up




Generation Next

Mopar’s Generation Next

 

DallasWinZmax800

 

I just finished reading Rob Wolf’s excellent editorial in the most current issue of Mopar Collector’s Guide — called “Generation Next“, an obvious play on Generation X.

In the editorial, Wolf points out that those of us who experienced the Muscle car Revolution first-hand — were the baby-boomers, and are now between 55-70. The Next’rs are in their mid-to-late thirties and their forties. They saw these cars in the childhood when they were still street driven and at shows. The editorial further points out that there is a crop of these Generation Next people working at dealerships, restoration shops, and racing — but they might be the end of the line, and the last to be able to even work on these cars.

That’s very true in large part — but there are exceptions. My son Dallas is 24, has been racing Mopars since he was 16 (when he also obtained his NHRA Class IV License), is the crew Chief for all of the cars we race on a National Circuit — and yesterday won NMCA’s 2011 “Crew Member of the Year” award at the Award’s Dinner at PRI. The newest car he’s ever raced is a 78 Aspen — and the oldest a 63 Plymouth. Steven, the Shop Rat at my shop is 19 and works part-time (25-hours a week) at my shop. He too is a Mopar man, and is capable of doing a engine/transmission swap on a mid-60s Mopar pretty quickly. He works for minimum wage because he is able to work on the old Mopars as much as swinging the mop. He has another part-time job where he pulls engines and transmissions on imports for twice what I pay him — but he rather work on old Mopars with us rather than working full time for his other employer. My youngest daughter is 13, and has been going to races with me since birth. She can tell you the year of any B-body and we’re setting up my 10-second Vitamin C (63 Plymouth NSS car) for when she hits 16.

These kids are rare — but they do exist. They can exist in greater numbers if “Generation Next” will take the time to pass the heritage along. It takes a little psychology — and it takes getting to them when they’re still young. In the case of Dallas, I took him to every car show and race I ever attended since he could be pushed in a stroller. He learned old Mopars before he could be corrupted but any kids with Imports. Same with motorcycles. I’m a Harley man, and much to his mother’s chagrin, I bought him a large touring bike at 15 and took him riding with me until turning him on his own at 18. He learned from me, instead of on a crotch rocket by some punk with his hat on backwards and 300 body piercings. Steven’s father is a die-hard Mopar man, and like Dallas, Steven never saw an import parked on the property. My youngest daughter was given her first go-cart at 5, and helped to assemble her 6-speed dune buggy at 8. She started driving on the property at 10.

My generation did a lot to create the Generation Next people, and now it is their duty to pass this along to their kids — and the earlier the better. Take them to car shows and tell them about why these cars are so special. Include them with the washing and working on your cars. Build a project together. I bought Dallas his first car at 15 — a 78 Magnum with a warmed over 360, as he had a special license to drive to and from school. He still has that car. We built his (now — but started as a 12-second) 10-second 72 Demon together when he was 15 — which we still have.

It doesn’t have to end with the “Generation Next”, if the Generation next will take the time to drag their kids away from the X-Box, and get them into the garage working on cars with them. A father is his son’s biggest influence — and he only has a limited time to use that influence. My generation needs to do the same with our grandchildren.