The owner of an award-winning muscle car claims the most important part of his spectacular street machine was inspired by a car he saw at the Food Lion AutoFair. Now it is his turn to influence other high-performance enthusiasts as he participates in the Trophy Rides display during the Sept. 4-7 Food Lion AutoFair at Lowe's Motor Speedway.
In 2006 Bryon Webber, a landscaper from Denver, N.C., was driving a 1974 Plymouth 'Cuda he purchased through eBay. The vintage coupe was powered by a 440-cubic-inch big-block engine, and it had new Frosty Green Metallic paint, wheels, tires, and a white vinyl top. It was the kind of muscle car anyone would be happy to own.
During Thanksgiving, Webber's wife, Melinda, watched in dismay as her husband ripped the new vinyl top to shreds with a razor knife. No, it wasn't a turkey-induced tantrum; Webber was simply transforming the pleasant Plymouth into a world-class hot rod with supercar power.
NASCAR engine builder Tom Ghent stripped the V-8 down to its iron block and enlarged the cylinders to create a 512-cubic-inch monster that produced 600 horsepower. Not exactly designed for good gas mileage, the new V-8 wears a trio of two-barrel carburetors known to Mopar enthusiasts as the "6 Pack." Webber added a modern five-speed manual transmission and heavy-duty rear axle that should be more than adequate for hard launches when the lights at the drag strip turn green.
His upgrades also included high-performance disc brakes and low-profile tires on lightweight alloy rims-all equipment that would have been impossible to get from the factory when his muscle car was new in 1974.