Category Archives: 1974 Dodge Colt

Tracknight in America!

The 1974 Dodge Colt made its debut run at Gingerman Raceway in South Haven, Mi. The event was called Tracknight in America, presented by tirerack.com, koni shocks and hagerty insurance. It’s an SCCA sanctioned event. I ran in the novice group, having never driven on a track before. It was a fun experience. The car was pretty sketchy. The brakes were good for the first two rounds, but the last two rounds, they were on or off, no in between. The new southbend clutch performed excellent. The motor, the beat ass old 2.0L I swapped in the morning of, worked great. The old carburetor was a little rich, but not horrible.

Here’s the wet run.

The Colt is alive! And one lap was fun.

Last week was One Lap Of America. It started at the Tire Rack in South Bend, IN and ended there a week later.

After One Lap last week, I started getting things going on the Colt.

I got the rest of the engine bay wired up, and got the gauges and switch panel wired in. For some reason, the front running lights don’t work, but that’s not a huge deal. I had to switch out the fuel pump because it just randomly stopped working. But tested fine out of the car afterwards.

Out with the old, in with the new!

I finally started working on the 74 Dodge Colt. The brake master cylinder was trashed. The rear resivour was full of junk, pushing no fluid. After a new master cylinder, and bleeding all the crap out of the lines, I’ve got rear brakes! The front driver side, was the only working brake before. The front lines had so much junk in them that I’m surprised they worked at all.

Next up, the engine and clutch.

The old motor came out pretty easily, no real hassle. The clutch doesn’t look bad, but it’s easier to do it now. I took the pressure plate and clutch disk to South Bend Clutch. They built me a new disk with an eclipse center hub (heavy duty springs) with a full face copper flywheel side, and a composite pressure plate side. They rebuilt the pressure plate, it has 1070lbs of pressure now, about a 15% gain. This should be enough for road racing a 4 cylinder. The car seems pretty light weight. I’ll get it weighed soon.

The arrows old motor got all freshened up. I cleaned up the Solex carb and got the points distributor installed. I decided to see how a samurais alternator fits, and it seems to fit well. It’s smaller and lighter, with higher output, so it seems like a good idea.

The new motor didn’t put up much fight going in. It’s been a little while since I’ve aligned a clutch, so I had to shake the shit out of it to get it lined up.

With new motor and transmission mounts, it should feel pretty decent. The radiator still needs a fitting welded on, and I’ve got some electrical to sort out, but so far so good.

Goodbye, Hello

The Montero got sold to my coworker John. He’s a younger dude. I think he’ll appreciate it.

Coincidentally, I also sold Van-uh White.

Jamie and I flew out to Arizona to see my brother and pickup my dads car trailer so I can pull the Colt from track to track. Flying out there is easy enough. Once we touched down, the trip really started. We needed to find a vehicle to pull the trailer back to Michigan, possibly with a car on it.

I found a bunch of older Chevy trucks, that I could probably flip when I got back here. But, they just didn’t seem like they’d get new back to Michigan.

Then, we met Leo.

Leo, a very interesting fella, had a very interesting vehicle for sale. A 1990 Ford F-350 custom. This is a 4 speed manual with overdrive, behind a 7.3L international diesel engine, to drive a 5.13 geared dually Dana axle. So the drivetrain is great, with 175k miles, only 75k on the motor, he had all the documentation. But the bed, or, back half, really caught my attention. With the tool boxes off the sides, the cap over the bed, the dual tail gates. It checks boxes I didn’t even know I had.

So I bought it. Moby Dick, the white whale. Leo was super cool, he’s a beekeeper, horticulturalist, engineer, chicken keeper, he lives in a wedge of land isolated in the middle of the city. He was a hunter, a farmer, a worker, a good ‘ol American boy. I couldn’t haggle his price, he was spot on for what I wanted to spend, and to me it was totally worth it.

Before I flew out, I had some stuff shipped to my brothers house for the drive back. Tent, sleeping bags, air mattress, trailer brake, wiring, a fair amount of stuff, not all needed, but just in case. All we really needed was the air mattress, which fits perfectly in the bed, with room all around it, and the sleeping bags. We picked up other stuff at goodwill, like pillows, and some quilts, cast iron skillet and pan. Just some stuff to keep us comfy.

We took the truck up to Tonto land bridge with my brothers mighty max on the trailer as the first test. The white whale didn’t skip a beat.

After some sight seeing, we parted ways with my brother and set off on the rest of our adventure.

After a lot of road, that pretty much looked the same, we hit our first rest spot. We planned to camp at a national forest in New Mexico, but the government shutdown meant, government ran parks, were shut down. So we camped in a casino parking lot. In 15°F weather. That was cold.

Through New Mexico, into Texas, Jamie made the decision that we have to stop at the Cadillac ranch, because she knew I’d love it.

She was right. It was awesome!

We camped in a Walmart parking lot for a few hours, then hit the road again.

Then after trekking through Oklahoma, and into Missouri, we stopped at Han the sushi man’s sushi bar, ate a ton of sushi, the took a hour nap in the parking lot. At this point, I’ve lost track of time.

Once I got my rest, we headed towards my sisters house in Illinois. Up to this point we pretty much stuck to route 66. Once we hit St Louis, we got onto the main highway. This truck loves going 55. Not 70. At 70, you can watch the fuel level go down. So, 55 in a 70 it is.

We made it to my sisters, no problem. Took a few hour nap, then got on the road to Jamie’s parents house in Laporte to see her family before they left town.

We made it, an hour early. 😂

So to recap;

Flew to Arizona on Monday.

Lined up a truck on Tuesday.

Bought the truck on Wednesday.

Left Mesa, AZ Thursday morning.

Got to Cadillac ranch on Friday.

Had sushi on Saturday.

Got back to Michigan on Sunday.

2,025 miles, tons of sun shine, bunches of smiles, lots of fun, it was a great trip!