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Ron Polidora gets underway during the Mopars at the Rock show during a short trip home a couple of years ago; he has been busy fighting bad guys overseas in the interim.

In this age of namby-pamby politicians, media blabbermouths, and political correctness, it’s nice to tell the story of someone who is actually getting something done. 19-year Marine Corps veteran Ron Polidora isn’t sitting on his hands doing nothing; he has been taking care of real business on the front lines for over four years now, where armchair generals are few and far between. That place is Iraq, and unlike the movies, these guys are in the real deal, with real bullets and real heroes.

Back in 2004 when he was on leave, Ron and a buddy showed up at the Mopar show in Rockingham, N.C. There were a lot of nice cars at Steve Earwood’s track that weekend, but Polidora’s sinister yellow ’73 Duster stood out from the crowd. The car cranked off some solid 10-second timeslips and a feature eventually ran in Mopar Muscle on the car.

The car looks the part from the front end; a 1970-era grille replaced the 1973 version. Other than the shiny rims, it’s a black-and-yellow attack.

Under the hood now is a 493 inch stroker; the 440 is shown here. Since the heads and intake were used, thee was no visible external change, but it was worth 6/10s in the quarter.

As this issue approached deadline, I had a chance to email Ron and chat a little about the car now. Like many of the men who are serving, Ron is eagerly waiting for the day when he can be reunited with his wife Karen and 15-year-old son Dylan, and is also getting some work done on the Duster thanks to stateside friends.

Bodywise, this one has been lightened with a Six Pack scoop and fiberglass bumpers; Ron also installed a circa-1970 grille to add to the blacked-out look. Painted in a late-model Ford yellow hue with black graphics and hood, the Plymouth looks the part of a serious stinger now.

While the car stated 440 as displacement callouts when we shot the feature, Ron told us he has since stepped that up to a 493” package thanks to a fresh 4.15 swing off the crank (an Eagle unit) coupled to Wiseco 12.5:1 pistons and Manley H-beam rods. Into this went a .640-lift Comp Cams solid lifter cam.

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