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My Favorite Car: '71 Plymouth Duster, Gordon Winans, 52, Port Richey

Published Mar. 27, 2012

'71 Plymouth Duster

I started driving in the '70s, the heyday of the muscle car. I grew up in a racing/street rod family. Even though we were very poor, we always managed to keep our hot rods running. My grandpa and uncle raced dirt track, my brother and cousins all had street rods (mostly Mopar) and I went to a technical high school to learn (and play with) cars. I've owned two 1969 Plymouth Road Runners, 1970 Dodge Dart 340 Swinger, 1969 Chevy Nova SS, 1968 Coronet R/T, 1958 Chevy Pickup and a 1955 Ford Pickup Chop Top. I never had the money to fix one up the way it deserved. Most were held together with duct tape and bailing wire and were used as daily drivers. Two years ago, I was able (and my wife finally gave me approval) to buy and rebuild a hot rod. I bought a 1971 Plymouth Duster 340 to turn into the most awesome '70s hot rod to hit the streets. It's the car I always wanted back. With help from my brother and my friend Rick, I tore the car apart and rebuilt this wonder ride. It has a 344-cubic-inch motor, 727 transmission, 8 3/4 Detroit Locker posi rear end with 430 gears. It boasts 600 HP and runs very respectable times in the eighth-mile. We take it to Sunshine Drag Strip about once a month or just cruise the strip eating up Mustangs. It is completely street legal and the body and interior are mostly stock. I even have the original AM radio. After all these years and cars, I finally have the dream 1970s hot rod that I've always wanted. And it's all mine!