Growing up, Dale Renner was surrounded by Mopars that would play an important part in his childhood and shape his passion for cars. “For as long as I can remember, I have always been into Mopars. When I was young, my Dad had a beautiful ’73 Road Runner and my Mom had a ’73 Duster 340 that I absolutely loved!”, says Dale.
Like every young kid, Dale couldn’t wait to get his driver’s licence and already knew what he wanted. When the time finally came for him to get his licence and get a car, he knew he wanted a Mopar of some type; preferably an A-Body. He says, “I drove my Mom and Dad crazy looking for a decent A-Body. We even had a few pit bulls chase my mom and I back to her car one time! After searching for a while, a long time family friend who also had his own mechanic shop found a ’70 Duster that he thought would interest me. When I saw it for the first time, I knew it was the perfect car for me so I bought it at the age of 15!”
The Duster was sitting on a set of Slot Mags with Kelly Charger L60 tires out back and had a custom “roll bar” made from stick welded exhaust tubing along with a big Hemi style hood scoop. Although the Duster was originally FM3 Panther Pink, Dale decided to paint it Lime Green instead. He would drive the car to school every day during the week and in the evenings and weekends would cruise around the Lansdale and Pottstown, Pennslyvania areas.
Dale says, “The car became a project of sorts for me and my dad. We would take it to Maple Grove Raceway and it slowly progressed and got faster with time. We would always talk about how someday we would like to totally redo it as a full Pro Street car and go all out with it. After I had my first son and a couple year stint in Dirt Mod racing, the car took a back seat to Little League games and the likewise.”
The car would continue to sit around 1999 when Dale got a call that nobody wants to get; his dad was sick with Stage 4 lung cancer and didn’t have long to live. Sadly, he would pass away shortly after in 1999 at the age of 46. “After coming back from the funeral, I started taking the car to Maple Grove Raceway again as a part of my own therapy process. That’s when I decided it was time to turn it into a full Pro Street car like we had always talked about. I started doing a ton of research on what I wanted and my buddies all rallied around me ready to help “do it like Pop wanted it,” recalls Dale.
The Duster was quickly torn apart and the project started picking up steam. The car was dropped off with Dale’s long time family friend Jim Geese and then taken to Vanishing Point Racecars for the full Pro Street treatment such as back halfing and tubbing it. The rear quarter panels were stretched 1/2 an inch to fit the big tires and the antenna and fuel cap were both filled in.
Everything was then test fitted before the car was sent off to Rich Mitman at Top Notch Body Worx in Sellersville, PA to get painted back to it’s original FM3 Panther Pink. Black 340 stripes, a rear Go-Wing and a US Body Source Six Pack style hood finished off the exterior.
The old home made roll bar was removed and replaced with a proper 12 point roll cage. Underneath, a four-link system was built with Chromoly round tubing. A Chromoly K-Frame was installed with Chromoly upper and lower control arms and rack and pinion steering. To match the Panther Pink paint job, the K-frame, four-link system and roll cage were painted Panther Pink as well. Aldan Eagle coil overs are also fitted. It rides on Centerline Warrior wheels with custom made bead lock wheels on the back. Out back sits a pair of 33×22.5″ Hoosier Quick Time Pros and Mickey Thompsons up front.
On the inside, a custom hand build dash was installed along with Kirkey Racing bucket seats, Stroud Safety 5 point harnesses, window netting, Mopar Performance gauges and a Grant GT steering wheel. Dale says he even had a custom child seat made to fit the back seat area of the car. Under the hood sits a 1970 340 small block that has been bored .030 over and has 14:1 compression.
It’s been totally built with a .603″ lift cam and ARP head stubs and fasteners throughout. The heads are 340 X-heads that have been upgraded with 2.08 ported and polished valves along with Harland Sharp roller rockers. Up top sits a Mopar M-1 intake manifold with a MSD Atomic EFI system. Everything breathes through Hooker Super Competition headers that run into a Spintech 4 1/2″ exhaust system.
Dale says, “I really want to thank my crew chief Dalton Renner, my wife Kim and my two younger boys James and Derek for all of their support and help. A bunch of huge thank yous also go out to Jeff Wenhold, Darren Transue , Bill Petersen, Dana Pannapacker, Mike Frey, Jim Geese and Don Carey for all of their help building the car as well as Rich Mitman and his team! Their paint job still wins several Best Paint awards 17 years after it was painted!
The car has won quite a few awards on both the local and National indoor show circuit and even a Concourse D’ Elegance Outstanding Classic Car award. It was also featured on several TV shows with the latest being “Car Fix TV” on the Velocity Channel. I’m so proud of how the car turned out and I’m sure my dad would be too.”