While growing up, your personal preferences continue to evolve. Where you might have once fancied a Raleigh Chopper over a more desirable Schwinn Orange Krate, something tilts you one way or the other. And then there are tastes that cause some of us to prefer anything but Blue Oval or Bow Tie based. For Rufus Price, growing up in West Medford, Massachusetts, during the early '50s allowed him a chance to see first hand all of the neat rides coming out of Detroit.
Peaking from behind the polished American Racing five-spoke is a Wilwood six-piston calipe
Hanging out with his twin brother, Richard, they were always losing track of time thanks to numerous cool cars. Some of his earliest memories surrounded a particular pair of chopped customs, one being a '50 Merc and the other a '40 Ford. Add in time engrossed in "The Little Books" where the Barris Brothers ruled with their innovative creations and designs and it's easy to see that he was well on his way to laying the groundwork for a solid hot rod future.
As the years passed, Rufus held the keys to a number of interesting rides, including a '62 Ford convertible, '65 Mercury Park Lane, and a tire-searing '67 Mustang fastback with a 390 nailed between the 'rails. None of them, however, filled the bill when he thought back to his youth hanging around the local gas station looking at cool rods that would raise his heartbeat.
Golen's Engine Service from Hudson, NH, punched out the 340ci block to 345 ci and filled i
While cruising through the back roads of rural New Hampshire in 1995, he came across an old car parked on the side of the road with a "For Sale" sign taped to the windshield. A detailed investigation proved that the primered coupe was a '40 Plymouth; a model that Rufus had never really paid attention to in the past, but one that now peaked his interests. A deal was struck and Rufus hauled the car home to his garage to start work on its transformation with his son-in-law, Shelby Lunceford. Once the pair began to tear the car down, they found out that there were quite a few hidden surprises with every corner they turned, proving the car was not as solid as it appeared to have been.
Lunceford wasn't fazed by what he came across, and proceeded by installing a Fatman Fabrications IFS along with a Ford 9-inch rearend to get the car rolling. Time constraints, however, stalled the project for a few years and when all looked bleak, Rufus began to look into qualified shops that might be able to help get the car back on track. A meeting with the team at Back Bay Customs in Portland, Maine, proved they not only had the capabilities but they possessed the vision Rufus was looking for.
Once the car was hauled to Back Bay Customs, it was fully torn down to give Back Bay the chance to start the build from the ground up. Starting with the chassis, the team added custom tubular crossmembers, accenting the Fatman Fabrications IFS with Carrera coilover shocks while out back the 9-inch Ford rear was treated to Posies Super Slider leaf springs and Carrera coilover shocks to soften the ride. To make sure that plenty of stopping power would be on tap, 13-inch Wilwood discs were added at each corner with matching six-piston calipers while power transfer and handling was complemented by Goodyear rubber mounted to a set of classic American Torq-Thrust IIs. To give the car plenty of aggressive power, Rufus made the decision he wanted a Chrysler V-8 bolted to the 'rails so he contacted Golen Engine Service in Hudson, New Hampshire, to assemble a wicked small-block Mopar to fit the bill. Starting with a '69 Chrysler 340ci block, the team at Golens bored it 0.030 over and then dynamically balanced the factory forged steel crank before filling the block with Keith Black slugs and a COMP Cams stick. To make sure the hot small-block was getting enough breath, they topped it off with an Edelbrock Performer intake capped by a Holley 600-cfm carb. The powerplant is linked to a Chrysler 727 automatic matched to a Gear Vendors overdrive unit.