Back in 2014, Miguel Loubier flew out to Calgary, Alberta from his home in Saint-Georges, Quebec to check out a lead on a potential job. He decided while he was in the area, he’d make the trip an hour and a bit north to visit his long time Facebook friend Kori Alexander of Show and Go Restorations in Red Deer. Kori is without a doubt, one of the best Mopar restoration specialists in North America and has quite a few Mopars in his stable. While visiting Kori, Miguel asked about some Mopar junkyard pictures that he had seen on Facebook so Kori gave him a USB key full of pictures to check out. While surfing through the pictures, a blue 1971 Plymouth Duster 340 caught his eye. Figuring it was a junkyard car that was long gone; Miguel curiously asked Kori where that Duster was sitting. Much to his surprise, Kori replied with “It’s in my backyard.”
After going over to Kori’s house and taking a look at the Duster in the snow, it was then Miguel knew he wanted the car badly. “It was a real 340 4-speed Duster loaded with options and only one repaint. The added bonus was it did not have A/C. I didn’t want an AC car,” says Miguel. Before heading home, Miguel told Kori if he ever sold the Duster, he wanted the first crack at buying it in which Kori said he would. About a month later, Kori decided to part ways with the Duster and put it up on Kijiji for sale. Since Miguel lived across the country, he figured he wouldn’t buy it or have the means to get it back to Quebec. When Miguel found out his dream Duster was up for sale, he contacted Kori right away and made the deal. “I told him even though I was half way across the country, I would buy it. I told Kori to give me a price on which we agreed to, so the money was sent off to Alberta and in turn, the Duster made its way across the country to Quebec,” recalls Miguel.
Since getting the Duster home, Miguel has been working very hard researching the history on the car. It’s almost become a bit of an obsession with trying to track down where the car came from and what happened to it over the years. From what he can tell, it spent its entire life going back and forth between British Columbia and Alberta. Miguel says his research has led him to believe the Duster was sold brand new in British Columbia and remained there until 1986. “I believe it was factory ordered by someone with a big wallet because it’s loaded with options,” says Miguel.
From 1986 to 1987, it spent time in Alberta before heading to the Creston area of British Columbia. In 1990, a fellow named Rick from Calgary bought it so the Duster made the trek back to Alberta. Miguel says he was told Rick drove the car very hard and put it away wet. After a while, the engine grenaded and needed a full rebuild. After getting the 340 rebuilt, it was sold to a guy named Wayne up in Sylvan Lake who got it repainted but never put the white stripes back on it. Shortly after, he blew up the 340 as well and sent it in for its second rebuild. The A833 4-speed transmission was swapped out for a built 727 Torqueflite and then the Duster was put on drag racing duties, frequenting local strips around the Calgary and Edmonton area.
After facing some health problems, Wayne put it up for sale and in April 1999, Kori bought the car and brought it home where it sat until 2015 when Miguel purchased it. “It’s had a lot of different owners. It’s been quite difficult tracking its history. A lot of dead ends,” Miguel says. Besides trying to track the history for his Duster, Miguel has been hard at work getting it ready to see the road once again. He’s installed a brand new carpet, door panels and package tray from Legendary Auto Interiors and on the exterior; the paint was still in great shape so he polished it and installed the proper white 340 stripes.
Under the hood, he’s cleaned and detailed the engine bay, removing all non-factory parts. The 340 sitting between the fenders is not the original engine but it’s a René Delisle unit that produced a killer 449 horsepower and 520 lb-ft. of torque on the dyno! That’s one screaming small block. The 727 automatic transmission has been removed and will be replaced by a date code correct A833 4-speed that came with the car so Miguel can row through the gears like the original owner would have. In closing, Miguel says, “I’m really looking forward to getting it on the road. If all goes well, that will happen in the summer of 2018.”