I made the conscious decision to not treat this 1976 Charger the same as every other project car that I’ve owned over the past three decades. Any change from the way the car was when I first loaded it onto the trailer had to have a purpose and had to improve the car in some way other than just aesthetically. I didn’t want to tear into a low-mile car and start changing stuff out just because I could. And over a year into ownership, I’ve stuck to that goal, with the every bolt turned and part removed resulting in an inspection and a decision…will there be an improvement over how the car works? If not, what the hell are you doing?
Well…one of our first modifications was putting us in a bind. That electric in-tank fuel pump we put in? It works, but we kept running into the same issue: some kind of power feed issue that kept the Charger restricted to the Bowling Green area…and even then, some days that wasn’t enough and every now and then the car would wind up on the side of the road, hood up, cooling off, and the owner somewhere nearby boiling over. Yes, we managed to drive to the Somernites Cruise and back without much of an incident in May, but the very next week we found ourselves on the side of Highway 68/80 once more.
Well…let’s say that I went overboard with the parts cannon this time. Not only was I going to move the fuel pump’s power wire into an MSD 75643-HC Solid State Relay Block, but I was going to replace the spark plugs, wires, coil and distributor while I was under the hood. Follow along to see the progress:
That’s where the Charger sits now. Minus the windshield wiper bushings (a job that I’m dreading), I’ll hop in this sucker and drive it pretty much anywhere at this point. The air conditioning is still dead, the heater core is still bypassed because it’s a colander, the brakes need to be looked over soon and the suspension has all the stiffness of a fresh marshmallow at both ends. But in order to get this car to stall out, I had to force a vapor-lock situation that involved 45 minutes of stop-and-go rush hour traffic followed up by sitting nose-down on a hill through three left-turn lights on a 97-degree day before the Charger had enough. I’m seeing about 20 MPG on the open road and I can see at night.
Every part replaced has a purpose, every part improves the car in some way, shape or form.
Past Charger Articles
- The Introduction
- Part One: The First Assessment
- Part Two: Trunk Paint, Instrument Cluster Work
- Part Three: Deeper Instrument Panel Work and the EFI-Ready Fuel Tank
- Part Four: The Heater Core Job We Should Have Been Worried About
- Part Five: Fuel Pump Troubleshooting, Wiring Fixes, Halibrand Mags And Tires, First Dragstrip Pass