It was 2014 and 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 or so 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 so Miguel knew the trip to see Kori would be worth it.
While visiting Kori, Miguel asked about some Mopar junkyard pictures that he had seen on Facebook so Kori gave him a USB drive 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, Miguel knew that 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. Since Miguel lived across the country, he figured he wouldn’t be able to buy it or have the means to get it back to Quebec. Despite that, Miguel 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 worked very hard researching the history on the car. 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 Calgary and remained there until 1987 or so. “I believe it was factory ordered by someone with a big wallet because it’s loaded with options,” says Miguel. It came equipped with the A01 Light Package, A04 Basic Radio Group, A88 Interior Décor Group, G11 Tinted Glass, H31 Rear Window Defogger, J25 Three Speed Wipers, J41 Pedal Dress-Up, J45 Hood Pins, M25 Wide Sill Moldings and N42 Dual Exhaust Tips.
From 1971 to 1987, it spent time in Alberta before heading to the Creston area of British Columbia with a guy named Terry. In 1990, Terry’s girlfriend’s father, Rick from Calgary bought the car off Terry and it made the trek back to Alberta. Miguel managed to get a hold of Rick and he said he 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. Wayne decided to start drag racing the Duster frequently at local drag strips around Calgary and Edmonton so the original A833 4-speed transmission was swapped out for a built 727 Torqueflite automatic. To make the car lighter, Wayne swapped out the power steering box for a manual unit and then removed and tossed the wiper motor, heater box and other various un-needed parts.
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 so it was difficult tracking its history. A lot of dead ends,” Miguel says. After getting it home, Miguel got to work restoring the Duster. On the inside, he installed brand new Legendary seat upholstery, carpet, door panels, headliner and package tray. Luckily, the B5 Blue paint on the exterior was still in great shape so he polished it and then had it ceramic coated for a mirror shine. The proper white 340 stripes were also re-installed.
Under the hood, Miguel 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 built unit that produced a 449 horsepower and 520 lb-ft. of torque on the dyno! That’s one screaming small block! The 727 Torqueflite automatic transmission was removed and replaced by a date code correct A833 4-speed that came with the car so Miguel can row through the gears with a Hurst Competition Plus shifter.
Out back, Miguel installed a 489 rear end case with 3:23 SureGrip gears into the 8 3/4 rear end to get the power to the ground properly. Miguel also re-installed power steering into the car as it originally came with and installed 14×5.5″ color-matched B5 Blue steel wheels with dog dish hubcaps as coded on the original broadcast sheet that Kori managed to find. They are wrapped in Goodyear Polyglas E70-14 raised white letter tires. In May 2019, the Duster hit the road for the first time with Miguel and since then, he has put 2,000 miles on it.