1973 Plymouth Duster
TMI Automotive Products, Inc.
1973 Plymouth Duster
A Mopar Like No Other
This 1973 Plymouth Duster stands out on its own for having all the coolness and performance of a well thought out build, and is a really great example of building what makes you happy, and not sticking to conventional wisdom.
For builder and owner John Hammonds, the car originally was suggested to him by his brother who suggested he buy the ’73 and turning it into something special. John was a bit of a ringer though, as the owner of Johnny’s Auto Color in Riverside, CA, he could not only make the body arrow-straight, but choose what color scheme to go with and we say he hit it just right!
What a Piece of Work
The Duster came to John as a basket case, but had good bones. It was equipped with a 1969 340 with a 727 transmission behind it and the thought of turning it into an eye catching custom became more interesting. But being in such poor shape, John had his work cut out for him. For several years using only free time, John stripped and blasted the body as well as the under carriage to reveal the bare metal. He then had to cut out and replace both quarter panels, the entire truck floor, and the floorpan on the passenger side. Once some of the heavy lifting was done, it was time for the Plymouth to become a fulltime shop project
He first approached TMI Products to have a full interior planned out. TMI had never done a Mopar and was thrilled to have a stripped shell to work with and prototype a full interior with plans for front and rear seats, door panels, full length console, carpet and headliner. It then turned into a project for TMI to show off what can be done for just about any Dodge and Plymouth A-, B-, or E-body model.
While the interior is fully custom due to the nature of the build, TMI did use a series of their existing products to achieve the look. The front seats are Pro-Series Complete seats in their Sport VXR Pattern wrapped in Bright Red Vinyl with Black Suede inserts, with TMI’s signature grommets in black, with black stitching to tie it all together. The door panels, center console and rear bench seat were wrapped and stitched to match the front. Even the TMI steering wheel was matched to the rest of the interior
Not As Stock As it Once Was
The body and interior are obviously the most noticeable points, but the engine bay received a lot of love too. The stock 340 received a forged steel crank, stock connecting rods, with Wiseco forged aluminum pistons. An Edelbrock LD4B dual-plane intake was mated to an Edelbrock 750cm carburetor, with TTI headers and a complete Flowmaster exhaust. Ignition was handled by MSD and a Taylor Cable Products wiring kit was added. The engine itself was built by Flat Out Rides in Riverside, CA.
The stock Plymouth suspension was upgraded with Hotchkis shocks, torsion bars, and antisway bars Hotchkiss took care of the rear with shocks, leaf springs, and antisway bar. Being able to stop this classic is important so the cal was made to Wilwood for a six-piston front setup and four-piston for the rear. Rubber meets the road in the form of Continental Extreme Contact 245/35ZR18 in the front and 265/35ZR18 in the rear covering two-piece forged, custom flat-charcoal finish American Racing VF503 wheels 18 x 8 in the front and 18 x 9 in the rear.
TMI and Johnny’s Auto Color have worked together several times in the past and both parties were pleased with the outcome that TMI shamelessly invited his Duster to be a part of the SEMA 2016 display booth, so others could walk by and admire their handiwork.