Every race car’s got a story – how the owner came to acquire it is often a tale of the absurd. We’ve heard of cars being taken in trade for stereo equipment, traded for work on someone’s house, and all manner of inane and ridiculous stories, but this one, from Missouri’s Darryl Johnson, is a pretty good example of the “in the right place at the right time” line of thinking. See, Johnson’s father acquired this car many years ago after making a deal on a set of B1 heads with a guy who was getting out of the drag racing game. The pair showed up at the seller’s house to pick up the goods, and he offered up everything he had just to get rid of it.
They took the whole operation from the guy and stuck the car in the barn, and there it sat for the better part of fifteen years before Darryl got an itch and asked if he could scratch it. “It sat for 15 years before I asked my dad if I could build it. It was 2008 when I started this build and I intended on competing in Hot Rod’s Pump Gas Drags before they dropped the event. I was disappointed for a while and my build was on hold until I found another event I wanted to compete in. Now I plan on competing in the Unlimited Class for Hot Rod’s Drag Week,” he explained.
Of course, with a goal like running in the Unlimited class, the challenge becomes running against racers like Jeff Lutz and Larry Larson – two legitimate six-second street cars that have well-practiced drivers and top-notch support teams. That being said, Johnson has a pretty good support team too. He knew in order to run at the top of the class, he’d have to select an engine builder who knew what it took to get it done, and that search led him to Steve Morris.
“I went to Steve for my powerplant as everyone knows he is the guru for ProCharged power and with me running such a rare setup I knew he could make it work for me. We know the motor makes 2,000+ hp but do not know for sure the final number because it broke his dyno, which is rated at 2,800 horsepower,”said Johnson.
The early stages of the chassis were done by Danny Murphy, and Jake at Jake’s Performance Fabrication did all the fabrication and made it turnkey. Scott Smith, also affiliated with JPF, wired up the Duster. In Johnson’s words, the car is “basically a rough draft right now.”
Johnson still has a lot of tuning left to do and still needs to “pretty it up,” with plans to display it in JPF’s booth at the World of Wheels car show in Kansas City, MO early next year. Johnson and his father are looking to make a serious run at the Unlimited class and believe the car has what it takes to be competitive. With an initial half-throttle first-pass shakedown run of 8.91 at only 136 MPH, there is plenty more left to be tapped in this Duster’s future.
The Car: 70 Plymouth Duster
- All metal, all glass
- Stock floor pan except for hood and trunk
Motor: Steve Morris Engines 572ci Wedge Twin F2 Prochargers with ProVolute upgrade
- Holley EFI
- Moran Atomizer Injectors 235 lb./hr.
- Moran-modified intake
- Marcella Manifolds 5” throttle body and elbow
- MSD 8 with Power Grid
- Brodix B1 Heads
- Rossler 210 XHD Trans
- Neal Chance Converter
Chassis: Danny Murphy built cage/Jake’s Performance Fabrication turn-key finished
- Dual Cert 25.2/25.3
- Mickey Thompson Pro-Street Front Tires
- Mickey Thompson ET Street Rear Tires
- Weld Magnum 2.0’s with double bead locks on the rear
- Wilwood Brakes
- 3.5″ Chrome-moly Strange Engineering Drive Shaft
- Moser M9 rear end
- AFCO coil-overs front and back
- Dual fuel system: Aeromotive for pump and Watermen’s cable drive for race (Q16)