Long time C body enthusiast with project on hold, may have to sell --

SFGT440

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Hey all. I've always liked the Mopar C body cars. My first was a 1971 Sport Fury GT 440 which I bought in 1974. In a weak (stupid) moment I decided not only to build up the engine but to convert it to a 4-speed, which I did... it came out okay but I would never, ever recommend that project to anyone when an automatic with a stall converter is more reliable and consistent. Sold the car in 1985, and recently learned that the car still exists and has had some restoration, and is still the same 4 speed I installed in it. The person who spotted it and contacted me had all the right details to confirm that it's my old car - which I was told was once reported stolen for the insurance money so who knows what is up with the title etc.!

(By the way, for those who might wonder about it, at the time I bought the clutch linkage that was used in the 69-71 that came with the 3 speed stick. I went to a Mopar dealer, told the parts guy what I wanted and he said "Okay.... and started writing down part numbers. I forget how many there were but it was not a cheap proposition even back then, in about '76, but I did have all the right parts at least.)

About 15 years ago I decided to have another similar car. I bought a 70 GT that had been repainted but it was a huge mistake. The 'burnt orange' looked like rustoleum it was that dull, and the underside of the car was a rust nightmare. Big, big mistake. I sold it off and decided to buy a regular Sport Fury and maybe do a clone. I bought a rolling chassis 70 Sport Fury from out West and it's got minimal rust, the firewall and trunk and floor pans and doors are perfect. I've got a NOS deck lid and spare hood and fenders, there is a very built up 440 with a racing automatic installed, the car has been converted to front power disks. I have a ton of parts - carb still in the box. MSD high perf ignition still in the box, lots of lenses and valances and trim and you name it. I also bought a '71 Sport Fury grille because I think it looks a lot nicer, and I have never seen a 70 Sport Fury grille that had the 'ribs' in the grill line up properly on the hidden headlight doors. The 71 grille is much nicer, and most people, if you don't tell them, they won't know whether it's got the wrong grille for a '70. I might or might not use it but I do have it, it's an option. I also have a set of the front turn signal lenses which I'm told are scarce as hens teeth.

I've become a dad just a few years ago (rather late in life, but...) and don't know when or if I'll ever get the time to resume working on the Sport Fury so I'm debating on selling it off. I have a TON of parts and good stuff; the engine is installed and has a set of Hooker Competition Plus (?, they only sold one line of C body headers, they cost me $500+ in 1999) ceramic coated headers, I've got new leaf springs installed, the interior is out and the front end sheet metal is off, it's a work in progress that I wish I had time to work on. So, I'm debating whether to continue or bail out on it. It would help if I had a two car garage that was more than the minimal size for two cars.

This is my 71 Sport Fury GT as-bought and stock when I was a dumb 17 year old:
71FuryCrop.jpg

Here it is in my folks' driveway after conversion to a 4 speed. L60's fit neatly underneath it on the stock road wheels. I applied for a GT440 plate and got GT441, talk about sad. I had a 4.56 posi rearend in it and at ten or fifteen mph, flooring the gas would send them up in smoke. The car had a street hemi cam, was blueprinted and clearanced, Edelbrock Torker and Hooker headers, the whole thing was preposterous. The car apparently still exists, somewhere on the southwest side of the Chicago metro area.
l60s.jpg

Car Craft magazine came to my town to write up the local hot rod hangout for their 'Cruisin' USA' series in '79 or so, and I made a point of being there - my GT got into the magazine in this pic. Some friends and I (I'm the kid with the glasses sitting on the front fender) are hanging around the front end.
dogsuds.jpg

Here's the front end of my current project car. The engine and trans came out of a car that was being drag raced. The intention was to paint the whole car 'Ice Blue' I think the color is. I thought it would be perfect for this body style. (Standard color on this car was beige, bleah.)
P1000960.jpg

Another view of the car with the road wheels I bought which are practically new. There's a small biff on the passenger side, the car had been being parted out and where it was sitting, someone didn't worry about bumping it. But it's very straight and has minimal rust for this series. The underside has so little rust that the original nuts and bolts came apart without much trouble - it's in better shape underneath than my '71 GT was in '74. This car came with factory vinyl roof but I like this roofline a lot better without, so I got the trim pieces for the rear quarter windows needed to do away with the vinyl. Talk about hard parts to get, and that was a long time ago. BTW the major problem with the body is hail damage - but I've got a different hood, a NOS deck lid, and the only thing that needs to be fixed for hail dents is the roof, if someone wanted to go ahead and continue de-vinyling it. Otherwise this car with ice blue and maybe a white vinyl roof would look really nice, though my preference is no vinyl.
P1000961.jpg

So that's where I am right now. If not for becoming a dad I'd have time and probably money to work on and finish the car but I wouldn't trade my son for anything. Question is do I hang onto the car for years more and hope I have time to finish it someday, or...?

71FuryCrop.jpg


l60s.jpg


dogsuds.jpg


P1000960.jpg


P1000961.jpg
 
Last edited:
Welcome to the site from the Motor City! I think you should keep it.
 
Welcome, I love these cars and one day i will have one again, in the meantime i will keep workin on my RT charger crap :p
 
Thanks all for the welcome and comments. I know this car would be tremendous if I had the time and money to finish it. I like E bodies and A bodies and B bodies but if you go to the Mopar meets there are so many - they all look great but after a while they all look the same. This car in Glacier Blue (that's the right name for the color) would stand out. Supposedly the car the driveline came out of was turning somewhere in the 11's - which means absolutely nothing unless you take into account it was a 68 New Yorker. The guy could be full of BS but the engine sounded really good when I ran it before I pulled it from the NY'er and it does have a 3500 stall converter. I spent money having the rear axle put together and due to some confusion it didn't come out right, and the car's been sitting for lack of funding and time ever since. At least it is indoors so it ought to 'keep' fairly well. It would help if I had a big enough area to put the whole car and all the parts in to work on but I have to keep half of my 2-car garage for at least one other car.
 
Welcome to the board. I agree with the others. Load it up with all your spare parts...or better yet try and assemble it as much as possible...and cover it in a car cover, and thrift store blankets. Dig it out in about 7-8 years and start working on it again. That was about how old my daughters were before I was really able to start working on my old cars again. ;)
 
WOW! You deserve to be here, no question! Amazing project! Hope you finish it someday. Its tough to be dedicated to a project with the prices of parts so unreasonable, time factors, limited space, etc, etc but when/if its completed you will HAVE something special. Dont despair if you must let it go, its happened to all of us.
 
What a very cool story & car(s) also. I had one of those in my past also (non GT tho). It was born w/ a 383. The 383 gave up one fine day and threw a rod, so it was replaced with a 440 from a wrecked Ny'r. The adventures I had in that car.....
anyway BIG welcome!

My wifes 1971 Plymouth Sport Fury 01 001.jpg
 
Hey all. I've always liked the Mopar C body cars. My first was a 1971 Sport Fury GT 440 which I bought in 1974. In a weak (stupid) moment I decided not only to build up the engine but to convert it to a 4-speed, which I did... it came out okay but I would never, ever recommend that project to anyone when an automatic with a stall converter is more reliable and consistent. Sold the car in 1985, and recently learned that the car still exists and has had some restoration, and is still the same 4 speed I installed in it. The person who spotted it and contacted me had all the right details to confirm that it's my old car - which I was told was once reported stolen for the insurance money so who knows what is up with the title etc.!

(By the way, for those who might wonder about it, at the time I bought the clutch linkage that was used in the 69-71 that came with the 3 speed stick. I went to a Mopar dealer, told the parts guy what I wanted and he said "Okay.... and started writing down part numbers. I forget how many there were but it was not a cheap proposition even back then, in about '76, but I did have all the right parts at least.)

About 15 years ago I decided to have another similar car. I bought a 70 GT that had been repainted but it was a huge mistake. The 'burnt orange' looked like rustoleum it was that dull, and the underside of the car was a rust nightmare. Big, big mistake. I sold it off and decided to buy a regular Sport Fury and maybe do a clone. I bought a rolling chassis 70 Sport Fury from out West and it's got minimal rust, the firewall and trunk and floor pans and doors are perfect. I've got a NOS deck lid and spare hood and fenders, there is a very built up 440 with a racing automatic installed, the car has been converted to front power disks. I have a ton of parts - carb still in the box. MSD high perf ignition still in the box, lots of lenses and valances and trim and you name it. I also bought a '71 Sport Fury grille because I think it looks a lot nicer, and I have never seen a 70 Sport Fury grille that had the 'ribs' in the grill line up properly on the hidden headlight doors. The 71 grille is much nicer, and most people, if you don't tell them, they won't know whether it's got the wrong grille for a '70. I might or might not use it but I do have it, it's an option. I also have a set of the front turn signal lenses which I'm told are scarce as hens teeth.

I've become a dad just a few years ago (rather late in life, but...) and don't know when or if I'll ever get the time to resume working on the Sport Fury so I'm debating on selling it off. I have a TON of parts and good stuff; the engine is installed and has a set of Hooker Competition Plus (?, they only sold one line of C body headers, they cost me $500+ in 1999) ceramic coated headers, I've got new leaf springs installed, the interior is out and the front end sheet metal is off, it's a work in progress that I wish I had time to work on. So, I'm debating whether to continue or bail out on it. It would help if I had a two car garage that was more than the minimal size for two cars.

This is my 71 Sport Fury GT as-bought and stock when I was a dumb 17 year old:


....

So that's where I am right now. If not for becoming a dad I'd have time and probably money to work on and finish the car but I wouldn't trade my son for anything. Question is do I hang onto the car for years more and hope I have time to finish it someday, or...?

What a phenomenal story. Sorry to hear about the dilemma you are facing. I don't have stories as good as yours (that Car Craft pic is priceless) or a car as sweet as yours, but I'm facing something similar with a 68 fury I had when I was a teenager, then got going almost 20 years later, and now may have to sell due to family obligations. I hope you find a way to keep yours. Best of luck!
 
Sorry to hear man!!.........

What a phenomenal story. Sorry to hear about the dilemma you are facing. I don't have stories as good as yours (that Car Craft pic is priceless) or a car as sweet as yours, but I'm facing something similar with a 68 fury I had when I was a teenager, then got going almost 20 years later, and now may have to sell due to family obligations. I hope you find a way to keep yours. Best of luck!
 
if you have the room keep it. it's not costing you anything sitting there. in the future will you be able to put together the same car for the same price? probably not. spend the next few years collecting parts and planning. maybe another 4 spd?
 
if you have the room keep it. it's not costing you anything sitting there. in the future will you be able to put together the same car for the same price? probably not. spend the next few years collecting parts and planning. maybe another 4 spd?

Yep ....... What he said, except for the 4 spd... stick with the torqueflight.
 
First - thanks for the many welcomes. I'm surprised to have gotten so many. I have recently learned that my employment situation is going to remain stable for the foreseeable future so I have one less financial worry to push me to let the Fury go. I'd like to finish it - I know how great it would be if I could get it done, and really I've got the vast majority of the parts and a bunch of the work done already. I love the ringing sound of a 440 with headers, too... a couple months ago someone with an old Charger pulled up next to my Dakota at a traffic light and the exhaust was a little loud but it sounded pretty much stock, no lope to the idle etc. and I enjoyed telling my wife 'When the Fury is done it will blow the doors off that Charger.'

When I started building up my first Fury, the 71 GT, people kept trying to tell me to get an RV cam which was ridiculous. It had 4.56 gears, for one thing. Also somewhere I have the list of shipping and curb weights of the various Mopars from that era and the Sport Fury was within like 150 pounds of a GTX. Mine will no longer have the AC or spare tire of course, and the intake and headers are lighter than the factory stuff, which will also help with the weight.

I've had a lot of interesting experiences on this second Sport Fury project. I ruled out the GT clone idea when I saw that the outfit that sells the GT striping kits does a pretty bad job of duplicating the 71 GT stripes. (That is what I wanted to do the clone as, the rarer 71 of which 375 were built, like my first one. I still remember the day I called Chrysler and they told me the production figure for my '71.) I decided to make the best Sport Fury I can without trying to do the clone thing. I had been buying parts off of this car for the one prior (the burnt orange one with the dull paint and the rust) from a guy in Wyoming who had this 70 Sport Fury at his gas station and was parting it out. I asked him to send me some pics of the car and when I did I almost fell over. I couldn't see the sense of buying parts off this nearly unrusted (except in a couple common areas) Sport Fury to put them on a rust bucket I already had. He was coming across the country to visit relatives and I worked a deal that he would get the car as far as downstate Indiana and I'd meet him and haul it home from there - which I did, using a Ford Ranger pickup truck. That poor truck, I always hated it, it ran like crap, but somehow it survived all the abuse I gave it.

Once I got the current Fury home (and sold the orange one) I wanted to get a title for it. Long story short the seller thought he had one but didn't and had not transferred it in any case. I had to get hold of a guy who had owned the car who lives in a county that has like 750 people total living there, I paid him to go apply for a duplicate title for the car he had sold already, and then he signed the title over to me. I was able to title the car in my own state and now that detail is taken care of.

One fun experience I had was when I found someone selling a set of very nice road wheels online. I worked a deal and he sent me the wheels. Unfortunately he sent them to me in flimsy boxes from the grocery store that had held cartons of Kelloggs breakfast cereal, and he sent them parcel post without tracking. I waited and waited and eventually the wheels began arriving. One at a time, and the boxes were taped around them like scraps of paper as they had all fallen apart almost immediately. The guy was kinda snotty about how he had sent them and not interested in hearing that they had not all yet arrived. It took better than a week for that - one wheel one day, one the next, nothing for a couple days, then another wheel....

One of you fine folks mentioned a 4 speed project. I'll just repeat it's not worth the trouble. I did mine pretty well with the factory linkage, I used a scatter shield instead of the aluminum bellhousing, I even found that little 'REVERSE' light that goes under the dash on the smaller 4 speed Mopars and installed it nicely. But I learned my lesson when one Sunday morning a guy in a 68 GTO pulled up next to me and wanted to race. I wasn't sure he was serious and he jumped me off the line, and I took off after him. In 1st gear I closed up most of the gap, banged second and pulled up abreast of him, and went for 3rd to pull away - and missed the shift. An automatic would have made it so easy to leave him wondering what happened, and it would have saved me a ton of work, grief, and money. I'd have gotten the car done a long time earlier and been happier with it.

A neat thing I like on the current Sport Fury is being from out West it came with a very dark factory shade of window tint - it ought to look really good when the car is painted and finished. By the way I had new leaf springs made for the car at a place here in Indiana - they made new ones, they didn't re-arc me any old ones. The lady on the phone even knew that this car did (or did not, I forget) have an extra leaf on one side of the springs. Forget what I paid but the car is intended to sit maybe two inches high in the back and I'll adjust the torsion bars to get an inch more out of the front. I'm not planning on carving any corners anyhow.

Thanks again for the comments and advice. I think I'll be letting this car sit a while yet, but keeping it. I've spent so much on parts I'd hate to sell them at a loss, and then have to replace them again later.
 
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