Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Cars in Yards: 1972 Dodge Demon 340, Mopar muscle gets 2nd tour of duty in driveway

Veteran Dodge Demon owner finds another A-Body beast. Fresh from a stint in Guam in 1971, Mike White had the urge to plunk down some hard-earned cash on a hot-to-trot Mopar with a 340-V8 engine. The word on the street was that the 340-cubic inch could best many big block and 383-equipped muscle cars in a straight line and make them eat dust on a winding road because of their light weight. It was more than fate that led White to a deal with two devils.

Mike White located and bought this 1972 Dodge Demon in Iowa in 2003.
Fond memories of his Demon days in 1971 influenced the purchase and delivery of this ’72 Dodge 340 to Alabama.

Got a 340 Mopar?
  White, back in the states after serving 2 years over seas, began his search for Mopar muscle in 1971. He shopped all over town for a 1971 Plymouth Duster 340 but couldn’t find the more popular Mopar. Finally, he located a 1971 Dodge Demon 340 in Birmingham, Alabama. It had the 340-V8 with a 4-barrel carburetor, TorqueFlight automatic transmission and Sure-Grip rear end. It was the perfect combination to get White’s adrenaline pumping during stoplight showdowns.  
  Unfortunately, military duty called and White had to leave the Demon behind. With no plans to sell the nearly new Demon, White relied on his family to maintain the Dodge while he was away.

In 1972 the Dodge Demon’s 340 was saddled with lower compression, 8.5:1, and rated at 240 hp. In 1971 the 340 made 275 hp with a 10.75:1 compression ratio. Horsepower numbers were measured in net hp, instead of gross hp, starting in 1972, which also contributed to the lower number. 

Take care of my Dodge Demon while I'm away
  Mike White's sister was lucky enough to become the caretaker of his "new" Dodge Demon while he was deployed to Thailand in 1972. White returned in 1974 and learned out how much his sister liked the Demon during her two years holding the keys.
  "Not long after I returned home, I took the Demon out, it had been raining," White said. "I got on it a little bit and the Dodge swapped ends. It spun around quick." White righted his path and made it home safely. "I discovered both of the back tires were bald."
  White’s sister had driven the car for two years, back-and-forth to college at UAB in Birmingham, Alabama. "I found out that she took care of it alright," White said. "She kept the valves cleaned off." Today White's sister still enjoys putting her foot down in her modern hot rod, a California Special Mustang GT. White didn’t mention if his sister had let him "borrow" her car.

Mike White looks over his 1972 Dodge Demon 340.

Second time around
  The 1971 Demon that White traded off decades ago left him with a lot of good memories. Memories that White, a military veteran and retired truck driver, wanted to recapture. In 2003, he got the urge to relive his glory days in another Dodge Demon. His job, which required him to travel coast-to-coast, allowed him to check out Dodge Demons all over the country. Demons are difficult to find due to their low build numbers during only two years of production. The primered ’72 Demon that White now owns was courtesy of an internet search and first-hand inspection of the car in Iowa.
  White and his wife smile when recalling the fun that was had in the old Demon. The ’72 Dodge is White’s retirement project and he has no plans of letting go of this Demon.

– Jody Potter,

Know of a car or a junkyard I need to visit or want to send me photos and info about a barn find, car or junkyard?  
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Dodge’s Demon name, emblems and little devil decals were a hot topic at religious gatherings. Not in a good way.

A factory heavy-duty, three-speed, floor-shift manual transmission stirs the gears in this 1972 Dodge Demon 340.

This ’72 Demon was originally painted Gold with a green interior and slippery vinyl bench seat.

A previous owner attached a 440 Six Pack hood scoop to give the Demon an attitude adjustment.

Dual chrome sport mirrors still shine on White’s 1972 Dodge Demon.

1972 Dodge Demons were equipped with 120-mph speedometers and standard gauges.
The 1971 models featured Rallys gauges and a 150-mph speedo.

Big and little crusty Cragar S/S wheels alert you to the Demon's sinful street transgressions.

Demon logo with red pitchfork "M" was proudly displayed on the doorpanels of the 1971-1972 Dodge Demon A-Bodies. Speed Demons and bad dudes/dudettes everywhere are smiling.

Dodge Demon 340 production numbers (1971-1972)
The Demon was renamed Dart Sport in 1973
1971 — 10,098
1972 — 8,700

Dodge Demon production numbers (1971-1972)
198 Slant Six, 225 Slant Six and 318-V8 equipped Demons

1971 — 69,861
1972 — 39,062

Plymouth Duster 340 production numbers (1970-1973)

1970 — 24,817
1971 — 12,886
1972 — 15,681
1973 — 15,731

Plymouth Duster total production numbers (1970-1976)
Dusters outsold Demons by a wide margin.
1970 — 217,192
1971 — 186,478
1972 — 228,012
1973 — 264,974
1974 — 281,378
1975 — 120,131
1976 — 34,681

Source: "Dodge Dart & Plymouth Duster" by Steve Statham

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Thursday, March 21, 2013

Cars in Yards: 1972 Chevrolet LUV pickup truck gets chopped by tree, bring a chainsaw

A tree grows through a first generation Chevy LUV pickup truck.

Chevy LUV pickup goes green the hard way. How often does a 40-year-old pickup truck get overlooked when its parked in the middle of a front yard. A first glance fail! I missed it! And it had a tree growing through the cab! Chevy's little trucks get no respect.
   The shot above was taken as I drove away from an impromptu junkyardlife visit to an unsuspecting homeowner. Ron Kidd and I were roaming the back roads looking for projects, parts and information when we spotted a home with at least twenty white vans surrounding the perimeter.
  "This guy might know where I can find some wheels for my ’55," Ron said. My partner in grime, Ron, who is in the middle of his frame-off 1955 Chevy project, is digging for Tri-Five treasure everywhere we go now.
  After a brief conversation with the owner we learned that he must be a Ford guy.
  "No luck here."
  We backed out of the uneven, dirt and gravel driveway and the Chevy LUV, parked smack dab in the middle of the yard with a tree growing through it, came into focus.
  "How did we miss that?"

Highway miles
  I was afraid to go back and ask the homeowner about the little, Isuzu-sourced Chevy built somewhere between 1972-1977. We had already pulled him out onto the porch on a cold, snow-flurry-filled winter Saturday. We had punished him enough. But what happened to this truck? Did the tree bust the top out? Was it a home-built convertible conversion? How many miles are on it? So many questions?

Save this LUV?
  Leave a comment on what you think happened and whether you would try to save this LUV?
  Want to check out more cars with trees growing through them? See a 1955 Chevy with a tree growing through it. Or some 1930s classics with trees growing through them.

– Jody Potter,

Know of a car or a junkyard I need to visit or want to send me photos and info about a barn find, car or junkyard?  
Send emails to

Chevrolet LUV Pickup Truck First Generation production numbers
1972 — 21,098
1973 — 39,422
1974 — 30,328
1975 — *
1976 — 46,670
1977 — 67,539 (change to 2 headlights)
1978 — 71,145
1979 — 100,192 (4WD option available)
1980 — 88,447

Chevrolet LUV Pickup Truck Second Generation production numbers (1981-1982)
1981 — 61,724
1982 — 22,304


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Restored 1963 Lincoln Continental set adrift, wrecked after restoration

Big hit in a 1963 Lincoln Continental. This poor guy. The police knocked on his door at 4:30 a.m. on a Sunday morning. That’s usually not good. The startled owner of this ’63 Lincoln Continental thought it had to be a mistake, and all was okay, when an officer asked him if he owned a 1976 Cadillac.
  “No,” he replied, while thinking “whew.”
  Then a voice on an officer’s radio crushed his momentary relief. “No, it’s a 1963 Lincoln Continental.” 
  Uh-oh! The owner of the big, white Lincoln knew then, there must a be a problem. He did indeed own a 1963 Lincoln Continental and had just recently brought it home after purchasing it from a collector in South Florida. It had been a pleasure to drive the luxury cruiser home to Alabama. What wasn’t refinished and restored was fully functional and original. The Continental was a hit everywhere it went. The ‘suicide’ doors were a great source of conversation for "those in the know," and a bewilderment for younger folks and newbies taken back by the concept of backwards opening rear doors. A cool 50-year-old Lincoln that didn’t show its age.

Damage to the ’63 Lincoln was heartbreaking but could have been worse than a fractured fender and egg crate grille.

“Sir, do you know where your car is?”
On a cold winter morning, law enforcement questioned the disheveled owner on his front porch. It was not fun... well, it wasn’t so much the questions as it was the answers.
  “Sir, we know where your car is," one of the officers replied. "It crashed into a tree and was abandoned.”
  Happy Sunday to you, sir. You didn’t know your car was gone. Now your going to get it back AND its wrecked. The damage wasn’t as bad as it could have been, and only a minor set back in this luxury cruiser’s history. The ’63 Continental was returned and then the damage control began.

"Suicide" rear doors make the Continental the topic of many cruise night and gas pump conversations.

The Break Down Before It Broke Up (what is this exactly?)
   What we have here is a beautiful car that remains mostly true to itself according to the numbers. The cowl tag (though not on the cowl, actually located on the door on early Ford Motor Company cars) breaks down like so:

  • Body Style: Code 53A - Lincoln Continental 4-door sedan
  • Paint: Code M - Ermine White
  • Trim: Code 64 - Honey Beige
  • Engine: Code N (located in the V.I.N) 430 C.I.D, 10:11:1 compression, 320 HP, 465 Lbs @ 2,000 RPM
  • Axle: Code 1 - A non-locking 2:89 ratio

Designers carried the chiseled look over into the cockpit of the ’63 Lincoln Continental.

Lincoln Continental styling, sales, fame
  A couple of years into the 3rd generation of the Lincoln, and the 1963 Continental had become a big hit. Lincoln engineered a classy, luxury car with a lot of innovative styling cues. These cars were packed with body distinctions indigenous to the Lincoln. Features such as the famed “suicide” doors, which were hinged at the rear, and a hood that opened from the front was weird for the day. How would we respond to a 4-door convertible today? Lincoln had that as an option. The 4-door convertibles are a little on the rare side, with only 3,138 built. Where are they now? That would be a blast! (note: see “Ron’s Fun Facts” below for some cool Lincoln trivia)
   Sales were up in 1963, Lincoln produced 28,095 4-door sedans, although the Cadillac remained the go-to luxury car for most buyers. Lincoln came in second, but that was saying a lot considering the direction Joe CarBuyer was headed. There were more choices on the market than ever. What would you have done?
  These cars were expensive, elite and very cool. You associate these cars with 1960’s money and fame with people like the Kennedy’s and several TV shows. Would they run? Are you kidding? Don’t try to pace this hot rod Lincoln. With 430 cubes making 320 HP it would be hard to keep up on the highway with its top end friendly 2:89 rear gear. If you think that’s not enough gear to get this 4,950 lb ship moving in a hurry, think again. Lincoln was well aware of the hefty poundage and decided 465 ft-Lbs @ 2,000 RPM would do it. It did.

Is this the original 430-V8 in this 1963 Lincoln Continental?

Future plans
  So, what is to become of our feature car? Its going to be fixed. The owner was making a shopping list of parts and part sources when I found him. There doesn’t appear to be frame damage and the parts needed are mostly available. We here at Junkyard Life salute his positive attitude and outlook. I am going to follow up with some numbers and research to help determine his engine. He was told it was a 460 cubic inch engine. It could be, but he was also told it was original, which would make it a 430-cube V8. So, I could use some advice. If you know of any give away cues on a 430, or any parts resources I can pass along to this gentleman, e-mail me (Ron) and I will see that he gets the info.

Happy Hunting!

Ron Kidd
– junkyardlife

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1963 Continental sports a Honey Beige two-tone interior.

Lincoln’s luxury liner had a power front bench seat.

A reverse-opening hood complements the rear-hinged back doors on this dinged-up ’63 Continental.

The 1963 Lincoln was loaded with luxury - wood grain door panels and power window switches.

A dash-mounted automatic headlight dimmer was optional on Lincoln Continentals. It detected the lights of on-coming cars and saved them from you high brights.

Ron’s Lincoln Continental Fun Facts:
  • The first Lincoln Continental was to be a special production of only 1, built for Edsel Ford. They started building it in 1938 to have it ready for March of 1939 because Edsel Ford took his vacations in March.
  • In the luxury car battle as far as sales numbers were concerned, the Lincoln Division wasn’t doing so well. The corporate bean counters had them slated for the chopping block. The 1961 Lincoln Continental was introduced and by 1963 became a proud flagship for Ford.
  • The “suicide doors” were named such because if a passenger were to fall out of the moving vehicle, the door would run right over you, thus turning your daring escape or accident into a suicide.
  • “Suicide doors” were said to be popular with gangsters in the 1930’s because it was said to be easier to push some unlucky person out of a moving vehicle. Ouch!
President John F. Kennedy took his final ride in a dark blue 1961 Lincoln Continental convertible in Dallas on No. 22, 1963.

  • In 1963 President Kennedy was assassinated in a 1961 Lincoln Continental four-door convertible. It has been said that post-1963 Presidents of the United States were not to ride in open air cars. They did not for many years.
Jacqueline Kennedy and a Secret Service agent react moments after President Kennedy was shot.
  • The auto industry tried to avoid the term “suicide doors” when referring to their way-cool, rear-hinged doors. They didn’t want to frighten the public and hurt sales.

Know of a junkyard I need to visit or want to send me photos and info about a car or junkyard?  Send emails to Ron at or Jody at