Be it a barn find or just something you left in storage for one too many years, Hot Rod Garage’s Tony Angelo is here to show you what needs to be done with a car before you’re back on the road again.
There are often two scenarios where you hear of this sort of thing. First there’s “hh, that looks solid, I want to buy it, but it’s been sitting in that garage since 1992...” And then there’s “yeah, I have one, it was my first car in fact. Haven’t driven it since...”
Well, Tony’s 1971 Dodge Demon is the latter story. It’s a matching numbers car that hasn’t been on the road since 1997, and that fact called for a serious checkout before that sweet first fire-up can happen.
When dealing with a vehicle that hasn’t been to a gas station for a while, you need to see manually whether the engine turns or not before moving up to the fluid checks. Ideally, you change all the fluids before pressure testing the radiator, but if you or the previous owner left some gas in the tank back in the day, prepare yourself for purchasing a new tank as well.
Since those parts aren’t too expensive, it might be worth it to think about some minor upgrades like a new water pump or modern coil ignition. Then, you remove the spark plugs to investigate what’s inside the cylinders. If it’s all good, it’s time to check the oil pump and the fuel lines, then you need circulate that gas until it looks clean enough to make it into the engine.
One think is for sure: You’ll have to change a lot of rubber parts, but getting behind the wheel again will be like time travel.
Legend has it that Dodge wanted to call the Duster Fastback the Beaver before realizing why that’s not a good idea.
Photo credit: Hot Rod Garage
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