21 DAYS OF DODGINESS

WE PULL THE TRIGGER ON OUR BIG-BLOCK DODGE BUILD JUST 21 DAYS BEFORE SETTING OFF FOR THE RUNNING ON EMPTY FESTIVAL IN COBAR. NOBODY EVER SAID WE WERE SMART

STORY SCOTT TAYLOR PHOTOS CAM INNISS, SHAUN TANNER, CHRIS THOROGOOD & ST

I WAS at the GraysOnline warehouse checking out the Ford Territory that we planned to cut up for a Carnage episode, when I spied a Dodge Phoenix sitting all alone in the corner.

“What’s happening with that?” I asked.

“It’s going up for auction soon,” was the response.

So, I wandered over for a closer look. I knew it was a ’63 because of the way the inner highbeam lights sat lower than the headlights, but the grille was missing and there was a transmission sitting where the engine should have been. The interior looked intact, but half of the exterior looked like it had been attacked by a child armed with their first belt sander. It wasn’t a great look, but it wasn’t a deal-breaker, either. The grille would make all the difference.

The boot lock was missing, so I borrowed a screwdriver and clicked it open. Hallelujah! There was the grille, all the stainless trim, and a smattering of leftover parts; it was at that point I knew we could really make something of the car.

I rang Telf: “Hey mate, found a car! No, not the Territory; another car, a ’63 Dodge Phoenix. It hasn’t got an engine, and it looks like shit, but the rest of it is all there and there’s not a single bit of rust in the whole thing!"

Back thing!” at the office, we analysed the photos on the GraysOnline website. There were 57 photos to view, so it gave us plenty to talk about.

“Can we put a big-block in it?” Telf asked.

“Sure,” I responded. “They came with big-blocks in the States; you could option this body shell with a 426ci Max The Wedge bidding engine.”

The bidding process was easy. Telf reckoned it might go for $3000 or more, so $3000 was our limit. As it turned out, $1454 – including our buyer’s premium – was enough to secure the sale and we sent a tilttray over to get it. And that’s how we ended up with a 55-year-old Dodge in the shed.

The story of Dodge how in it all the came shed. together is a little more complicated. Read on.