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Tech Talk with Master Power Brakes

June's Ride of the Month: Herb McCurdy's 1963 Plymouth Sport Fury

Posted by toby on Jun 30, 2015 11:12:46 AM

We want send a special shout out to Herb McCurdy--the proud owner of a 1963 Plymouth Sport Fury and June's Ride of the Month.  Herb didn't just send us awesome pictures--he also did a great job detailing how he gave new life to a timeless classic.  Here is Herb's story...in his own words:

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I had been looking for a 63 Plymouth B body to make a Max Wedge clone for a while when I came across an ad in the local St. Louis news rag for a 63 Plymouth and made the call. To my surprise when I went to look at the car, it was a very solid 1963 Sport Fury numbers-matching survivor. Well, their goes the Max Wedge plans, as I could not bring myself to do modifications to such an original car as this one! It had a solid rust free body with original paint and a nice set of paperwork to boot. After passing muster with the owner as she was fussy as to whom she would sell the car to, I negotiated, and we agreed on a price. I was now the new proud owner of a 1963 Plymouth Sport Fury Convertible that needed a medium to heavy restoration!So the 63 Plymouth B body hunt resumed, off to eBay for a try there while I was restoring the Sport Fury Convertible. After much hunting, I stumbled across a Fury in Michigan with a very solid body but as I was later to find out was in horrible mechanical shape. So I bid on it and won. After a day long trip from Saint Louis to Ann Arbor and back, the project began.

Taking inventory of the overall car I came to the realization that the seller was a little less than upfront about the condition of the car, and mechanically there was not much salvageable. The K frame was a six cylinder one that was poorly modified for a V eight and the whole front suspension was beyond worn out. So a call to Cap Auto Products was made for a tubular K frame with rack and pinion steering and disk brakes. The rear springs were completely shot from being bent backward from extended length after market shackles and it was a no brainer to replace the 63 8 ¾ with a 66 unit. So a set of super stock springs were ordered and a 66 8 ¾ and several other parts were procured locally from Clay & Sons, a local MoPar recycler.

The 400 that was questionably installed was deemed worn out and unusable especially due to it being a B block. So, the hunt was on for an appropriate RB engine for my Max Wedge project. Hunting around I found everyone and their cousins were doing Max Wedge clones and parts were getting hard to find for reasonable prices. While checking Bouchillon Performance’s website, I saw they were running a sale on MoPar crate motors and it hit me that I could do a restomod with a 7.0 gen three HEMI for the same or a little less money and have something unique that few or no one else had. Now the plans were changed again. Looking and searching I was unable to find another early sixties MoPar with a gen three HEMI. I would soon find out why. Several aftermarket companies make about everything you need to do a 68 and newer gen three conversions but nothing is available for a 62 to 65 conversion. I had to fabricate everything from a fuel system to motor mounts to steering and the d rive train. My steering modifications were made a lot simpler using one of David loar’s steering column bushings stiffening everything connecting to my rack and pinion steering. To stiffen the body I installed a very nice and well thought out set of Paul Hamaday’s frame connectors. I now had a rolling body with four wheel disk brakes, using a well planed out kit purchased from Master Power Brakes. I purchased a new gas tank for a 63 Plymouth and with modifications I installed a contemporary in-tank fuel pump. Using the original fuel line as a pattern I bent new supply and return lines that replaced the original rusted supply line from my car. The original fuel supply line from the sender was welded closed, so the sender is now only used to operate the gauge. All new brake lines from Master Power Brakes were done at the same time enabling me use their duel master cylinder for safety.

Next step, I ordered my 7.0 crate engine from Bouchillon Performance and after a lot of measuring, fabricating and trial & error everything worked its way out in short order. I was able to use a newer 727 and keep my push button shifter, having Steve Charette from Imperial services modify the shifter to operate a 66 & newer 727.

On to the body, my friend Steve Vaughn owner of Lime Fire Rods and Custom’s and my self went over the body and repaired a few small imperfections, welded a plate eliminating the dash speaker, and scalloped the rear antennas into the fenders. We decided to forgo a Max Wedge hood scoop and keep the sleeper look going. Opening the scoop-less hood presents a better surprise when people catch a look at the 7.0 snuggled in. Steve did a great job painting it a 2011 Lexis peril white.

Next the car went to have the interior done. This was done by my friend Jerry Klich owner of Top Stitch Interiors. Wanting to do something unique I decided to commingle the flavor of the 63 interior such as the original low back bucket seat frames and the Plymouth logos embossed on the seat backs by Legendary Interiors, but with a contemporary feel by mirroring a set of bucket seats in the rear and have a floating center console attached only to the dash and package tray in the back.

As the advertisements from the day said about HEMI’s; "You can't make an engine like this with facts and figures alone. It's gotta be voodoo baby"

Are you the proud owner of a classic car and looking for a cool way to share some pictures with our readers?  Be sure to check out our "Ride of the Month" Contest...you could be next month's winner!

Topics: Ride of the Month

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