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All About Car Restoration
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All About Car Restoration

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Plymouth Satellite Conversion

Very impressive resto-mod.

Very impressive resto-mod.


We recently dropped in at Showcase Auto Body and Restorations in Fredricksburg, VA, to see what our friends there have been up to. From time to time we trade tips and techniques with Mike Fruth and his staff and thought we'd take a few photos of projects in various stages of completion and display them on SCG.

1973 Plymouth Satellite

1973 Plymouth Satellite.


We'll do that, of course, but for now we thought you'd like to see a photo essay on our friends' latest project. We were so impressed with the results that we just had to share it with you.

It all started with a run-of-the-mill 2-door 1973 Plymouth Satellite. It was completely stock and painted in its original yellow color. The matching vinyl top was original as well and the car was in exceptionally good condition. The car came from the factory with a 318 cubic-inch V8 which, in the early days of emissions regulation that resulted in choking off power, produced 150 horsepower.

The Satellite was also fitted with the first iteration of what would become "extended" bumpers. These only stuck out a couple inches from the body, but within two years Detroit would have them extending over 6 inches at both ends and looking like fireplace mantels.

We know what you're thinking at the moment — the car looks great as it stands, so why not leave it alone?

1973 Plymouth Satellite

1973 Plymouth Satellite.


We thought the same thing. However, Mike told us that the owner wanted a thoroughly modernized version of his old Satellite; one that would look and perform more like a Road Runner. In addition, he wanted it to drive more like a new car and — above all — to be safer. He also placed restrictions on the interior, saying that he wanted it to remain as stock looking as possible while incorporating modern conveniences.

Over the course of about a year the car was completely stripped down to an empty shell. The vinyl top covering was removed and all the holes that held the trim moldings were filled with weld. The body was straightened, realigned and prepped, after which it was painted the bright copper color you see. Mike spent a lot of time altering those stick-out bumpers to bring them in flush with the body. The bumpers are now painted body color, giving the whole car a smooth appearance.

1973 Plymouth Satellite


The accent stripes running along the belt line are painted, not an applied decal. A rare "bubble-top" hood was located during the restoration process and prepped for the final finish. Of course, no finish as gorgeous as this can be obtained without lots of wet-sanding and buffing and Mike says he's probably got 30-40 hours tied up in that process alone.

1973 Plymouth Satellite


Under the hood is a new crate engine, a 360 cubic-inch, 340 horsepower version, coupled to a rebuilt transmission. Handling all that power is a completely revamped suspension with bigger sway bars. Disc brakes were added and the calipers and rotors painted to match the car. The car was lowered 2 inches during the process to give it a more aggressive look and 17-inch Hopper wheels from American Racing Wheels were fitted with Khumo Ecsta tires.

1973 Plymouth Satellite


The stock interior was redone faithfully and a Boston Acoustics stereo system installed for today's sound quality. The control unit for the stereo is mounted in the glove compartment to keep the interior looking original.

the finished project


We're very impressed with this resto-mod. Let us know what you think.

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