By: Sue Elliot-Sink
Photography: Courtesy of Overhaulin’
Reprint from OVERHAULIN’ The Magazine, July 2006
e knew we were going to be doing a Mopar project at the SEMA Show,” Chip Foose says, since Mopar Performance volunteered to help sponsor the Overhaulin’ effort at the annual Specialty Equipment Market Association Show. “The movie Dukes of Hazzard was just coming out, and it seemed like there was so much stuff around the ’69/’70 Charger. The General Lee was everywhere. So I wanted to do the previous generation. I didn’t remember seeing one done, so I said, ‘Let’s do one for the forgotten stepchild.'”
We’re all for Cinderella stories, but Chip’s request had to be easier said than done, especially within the structure of a show like Overhaulin’. Fortunately, the team got lucky. When they went through all the Overhaul applications, they found a’67 Dodge
Charger that just so happened to be in Las Vegas, where the SEMA Show is held. The car was in need of some TLC. Plus, it was owned by the 18-year-old great-grandson of the woman who had bought it new, making it a family heirloom and a perfect Overhaulin’ candidate all around.
Besides the unusual choice of vehicle, the thing that really set this build apart was its location. Overhaulin’ set up a huge t ent on the grounds of the annual SEMA trade show at the Las Vegas Convention Center. For the third year in a row, the team Overhauled a car in front of an audience of its peersâ€”industry experts in aftermarket parts, design, and installation.
As the Charger rolled into the tent Last fall, people from more than 2,000 exhibiting companies began rolling into town to set up their booths. By Day 5 of this Overhaul, the SEMA Show had
opened to 100,000 members of the automotive-aftermarket industry. And from the get-go right on through D-Day, the Overhaulin’ tent’s bleachers were filled to overflowing with folks eager to get a glimpse of the proceedings.
Some of those folks were skeptics who didn’t believe a car could really be built in this kind of timeframe. Others were looking for ideas they could implement back in their own businesses. And plenty more were longtime Chip Foose fansâ€”including a few celebrities who dropped by, such as ZZ Top guitarist Billy Gibbons and hip-hop DJ/automotive promoter Funkmaster Flex.
What they all saw was a huge team of top industry professionals workingâ€”often around the clockâ€”to transform a tired old Dodge into a hard-charging head-turner, all for the good of a deserving stranger.
> The Charger rolled in looking like a fairly clean daily driver. It had a little dent in the nose, but no major rust or damage. Of course, the brakes didn’t work, but who needs brakes? As with most Overhaulin’ builds, the 440 engine went back to the mark in case he ever wants to return the car to stock.
> It wasn’t show-quality, but compared with a lot of Overhauled rides, this custom interior was pretty darn clean.
THE CAST OF CHARACTERS
The mark, Merrick Veit, had never seen Overhaulin’ before, so he was even more blown away than most Overhaulees. His reaction: “I can’t believe work for someone they didn’t even know.
> The incredible build team included Project Manager Craig Chaffers, Sam Foose (Chip’s dad), Scott Babson, Jake Bailey, David Barton, Frank Boughman, Shane Boulay, Mark Bowler, Ben Bright, Papa Jim Brutsman, Hector Cisneros, John Clark, Gabriel Corona, Efren Daguio, Mike Evans, Shawn Hengstebeck, Ben Holt, Charley Hutton, Tony Ixcoy, Steve Jones, Aaron Kaufman, Tom Kelly, Jimmy Kerlin, Kevin King, Fred Lynch, Chris Merrill, Zach Merril, Andrew Peterson, Austin Potter, Richard Rawlings, Tony Towe, Andreas Somogyi, Richard Waitas, Tim Walker, Brian Ward, Chad Weetan, and Michael West.
> It’s amazing how fast a car comes apart when the Overhaulin’ team descends on it like a swarm of locusts. As Chip Foose said, “We are in Vegas. Let’s strip it.”
> After A Strip Center media-blasted the car and the metal was massaged, it was time to make sure everything lined up, then slather on gobs of body filler and sand, sand, sand. The car finally headed over to the spray booth for primer after 10 p.m. on Day 3.
Shaker hoods come on B-body Mopars, not E-bodies like this Charger. Since Chip Foose had never seen one on a Charger before, he had to go thereâ€”cutting a hole in the hood to let the scoop shake with the rumpety idle of this car’s big Hemi engine.
Chip and the team smoothed the bumpers and tucked them closer to the body. Artistic Silver Plating and Cal Bumper handled the chrome work, and California Polishing did the polishing.
The two-stage black and silver Carizzma … From BASF R-M Diamont paint was squirted on-site in AFC Finishing Systems’ state-of-the-art downdraft spray booth, aka the Quadraft. Kelly & Son’s applied the red pinstriping that makes this paint job pop.
Haas Automation CNC-machined the Foose-designed wheels on-site, using material supplied by MHT Wheels. They’re 19×8 Challengers up front and 20x10s in the rear.
The completely unique BFGoodrich tires started out slick. Chip then designed a Mopar-logo tread pattern, which was cut into each tire on set.
Baer provided original-size DecelaRotor replacement rotors, front and rear, that are cross-drilled, slotted, and zinc-plated. They provide better braking performance in a package that would even fit the original wheels.
Year One supplied suspension resto parts, including tie-rod ends and ball joints, and Fatman Fabrications supplied a set of dropped spindles to lower the Dodge 2 inches without adversely affecting ride and handling.
> Bowler Performance Transmissions custom-built the 727 TorqueFlite, then added a Gear Vendors overdrive. To match the detail on the rest of this ride, Bowler smoothed and custom-painted the trans case, airbrushed on the Gear Vendors and Bowler logos, and installed polished 12-point stainless bolts throughout.
Get Rid of the Ugly
“When we start a car, sometimes Chip [Foose] likes to say, ‘Take the ugly off,’meaning get rid of the parts that are ugly to expose a really cool, stylish car,” explains Craig Chaffers, Overhaulin’ project manager. In this case, that meant removing a bunch of brightwork, including the door handles and locks, the badges, and the rocker-panel trim. The team also removed the molding that ran along the entire body from the top of the fenders to the tail, which was not as easy as you’d expect. Charley Hutton, Chip, and Sam Foose all spent hours cutting off the pinch weld from the top of the quarter-panels. Then they had to weld the pieces back together and extend the quarters at the rear to make them meet the bumper.
The Overhaulin’ gang “stole” the Charger from behind Best Auto Shop, insider Scott Whitaker’s business in Las Vegas where the car was being stored. The “cops” (Overhaulin’ Co-Host Chris Jacobs and Year One President Kevin King) first accused owner Merrick Veit of faking the theft of his own car. Then they apologized and explained that Merrick’s friend Scott had been running some “sticky business” on the side—stealing cars, refurbishing them, and selling them—-and Scott was the one responsible for the missing vehicle. Merrick didn’t want to believe it, but he took the bait—and then got totally blown away when he found out he’d been Overhauled.
> It’s a tradition: D-Day falls on the last day of the SEMA Show. Unfortunately, D-Day arrived and the interior clearly was not done. The fact that it was finished by the time owner Merrick Veit showed up is a testament to the hard—and incredibly fast—work of the Bill Dunn crew and the entire build team.
> With the headlights close, you can see why people refer to the factory grille as an “electric shaver.” The smoothed and insert bumper and the Foose center cap in the grille really set off the Charger’s front end.
The Mopar Performance 426 Hemi crate engine puts out 465 hp and 486 lb-ft of torque. The all-new, very complete 9.0.:1 engine starts with a heavy-duty cast-iron block with cross-bolt mains. It then receives a forged-steel crank, forged pistons, cast-iron cylinder heads, a hydraulic cam (292 degrees duration, 0.524/0.543-inch lift), an aluminum dual-plane M1 intake manifold, and electronic distributor, plug wires, a double-roller timing chain and cover, and a 6-quart oil pan.
Summit Racing supplied the Holley carb and Russell fuel lines and fittings, and Fluidyne provided a high-performance radiator to cool the big Hemi.
Year One supplied a variety of underhood restoration parts, including the wiring harness, fuel lines, and brake lines. Billet Specialties provided the clean and tidy pulley system.
Mopar Performance recommends mating this engine to 2.00-inch headers, and Mopar exhaust specialist TTI was happy to oblige. The headers connect to a one-off stainless steel exhaust system that MagnaFlow created on-site. It starts as a dual 3-inch system flowing through a Tru-X pipe, then into two 5x8x14 offset-offset mufflers, exiting as a 21/2-inch true dual exhaust.
Bowler Performance Transmissions fitted the 727 TorqueFlite with all new-premium clutches, seals, gaskets, and bearings; a performance intermediate band and new rear band; a billet Reverse servo; a new Low/Reverse sprag; and a shift-improver kit. The company also custom-built a 2,100-stall converter and added a Gear Vendors 0.78:1 overdrive. It sends power through a Driveline Inc. driveshaft and a rebuilt 83/4 rearend.
WHY THIS CAR?
Besides the fact that Chip Foose wanted to build a ’67 or ’68 Charger, Merrick Veit was the perfect mark. This shy 18-yer-old had received the car from his mom for Christmas after he turned 16, and it had been in the family long before that. Merrick’s dad, who passed away eight year prior, had gotten the Charger as a gift from its original owner, Merricks maternal great-grandmother. Unfortunately, like most students (and aspiring rock stars), Merrick didn’t have the resources to work on the Dodge, so it sat behind his friend Scott Whitaker’s automotive shop in semi-retirement, waiting for someone to show it some love.
Bill Dunn’s team wrapped the interior in Keyston black leather with red stitching, gray piping, and striking red insert. Even the dash wears red leather.
Although only 15,788 ’67 Chargers were made, Year One offers a slew of restoration parts and pieces for them, including door rubber and seals. The few items that weren’t available came off a donor car, including the rear center console, some dash trim and the interior moldings.
The Cobra Sidewinder seats from SubÃ¨ Sports have a black fitted back, and they recline and tilt forward for
rear-seat access. When Bill Dunn’s crew upholstered the seats to match the interior scheme, they also stitched in the Cobra logo.
Summit Racing supplied the Auto Meter Pro-Comp Ultra-Lite speedometer, tach, water-temperature, and gas gauges.
Kustom Kar Audio designed and installed the stunning sound system, which features ARC Audio subwoofers and speakers as well as a satellite- and HD-ready Eclipse by Fujitsu Ten head unit that plays CDs and MP3s.
The whole interior was layered with Dynamat Xtreme to keep the car cooler in the Vegas heat and dampen vibrationâ€”key with a thumpin’ sound system.
Protek Resources installed an alarm system with an LCD on two remote controls. The system includes door solenoids and a trunk release since the locks and door handles have been shaved.
A Vintage Air A/C unit was a vital addition for a Vegas ride. The system also includes a heater and defogger for those cold desert nights.
> The trunk is filled with awesome audio equipment. ARC’s new Foose Signature Series 12-inch subwoofers usually get mounted the other way; the ARC guys decided to invert them to show off the ARC and Foose logos and Chip’s signature on the back of the magnets. To really personalize this ride, owner Merrick Viet’s name appears under the Mopar logo on the top grille.
AFC FINISHING SYSTEMS
ARTISTIC SILVER PLATING
Signal Hill, CA
A STRIP CENTER
Las Vegas, NV
BAER BRAKE SYSTEMS
BILL DUNN ONE STOP SHOP
Huntington Beach, CA
La Grange, IL
BOWLER PERFORMANCE TRANSMISSIONS
Grinders and polishers
Long Beach, CA
Huntington Beach, CA
Huntington Beach, CA
CALYPSO WATERJET SYSTEMS
CARIZZMAN … FROM BASF
CLASSIC AUTO APPRAISER
Mission Viejo, CA
COBRA SEATS/SUBÃˆ SPORTS
Huntington Beach, CA
Automotive service covers
ECLIPSE BY FUJITSU TEN
800/55-ELIPSE (dealer locator)
FIVE STAR GAS AND GEAR
Los Nietos, CA
Huntington Beach, CA
GAS MONKEY GARAGE
El Cajon, CA
IRON CLAD GLOVES
El Segundo, CA
KELLY & SONS
THE CRAZY PAINTERS
KUSTOM KAR AUDIO
MAGNAFLOW PERFORMANCE EXHAUST
Rancho Santa Margarita, CA
La Palma, CA
MITTLER BROS. MACHINE & TOOL CO.
Wright City, MO
MOTHERS POLISHES â€¢ WAXES â€¢ CLEANERS
Huntington Beach, CA
Huntington Beach, CA
Foothill Ranch, CA
The Beast energy drink
QUALITY TOOL & EQUIPMENT
Spring Valley, MN
Spray equipment (primer and paint guns)
3M AUTOMOTIVE DIVISION
St. Paul, MN
Body supplies (tape, masking paper, sandpaper)
TUBE TCHNOLOGIES INC. (TTI)
San Antonio, TX