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June 2000 - Finally got my windshield replaced. The old one had a crack from top to bottom when I bought the car, so I figured it was time to replace it. I took all the trim off myself, not wanting to trust it to the auto glass mechanic. The new glass looks great with the dark blue tint band at the top, and I don't have to stare at that stupid crack any more!
I got an email from the KC-AMC club about a Mopar show, where AMCs were invited, in Blue Springs MO (East of Kansas City) June 11. I was visiting my parents in the area anyway, so that worked out great. I spent Saturday working on the car, cleaning it and putting some final touches on. Sunday my Dad and I headed out for the 2 hour drive. It started raining 45 minutes into the trip and didn't let off until we got to the show site. Unfortunately, the rain picked up again, so all we could do was wipe off the road grime and head into the judging lane. After the inspection, I parked it in the parking area.
There were a lot of cool Mopars there, my favorites being the 63 and 64 Sport Furys, but there was also a great 62 New Yorker - talk about a cruiser! During brief breaks in the downpour, we checked out the other cars. Some KC-AMC members showed up, notably John Garland and his smoking 446 cubic inch AMC-powered 69 AMX. This thing is totally awesome. He hasn't made a full pass with it in it's current configuration yet, but he ran 10s and 100+ mph in the 1/4 mile after shutting it down at the 1/8 mile mark and coasting the rest of the way. Should run 9's easy. There was also another 69 AMX, a 70 Jav and a 74 Jav. So, 5 AMCs in a field of 40+ cars.
Things wrapped up a little after noon, as it became evident that the rain would not stop. There were no classes, so each car was rated individually in a Gold-Silver-Bronze format. The Matador received a Gold! Boy, was I surprised. Granted, it was a local meet, and things were pretty laid back, but still, it was pretty cool to get that plaque.
That afternoon, Dad and I were trying to fix the backfire and ignition woes that have plagued the Matador since I bought it. Didn't run terrible, but not near as well as it should. We found that the points were totally wasted, and the points power lead was partly cut with the wiring exposed. Replaced the wire, points, condensor, cap and rotor, checked the coil, timing and dwell, but it still backfired. We noticed that the coil did not have a ballast resistor, so the points were getting 12v all the time, instead of stepping down to 6v. The car came with electronic ignition, but had been switched to points some time.
Anyway, we left it alone after that since we had to get back home. The next night I installed the ballast resistor, and on a whim, decided to replace the plugs. The first six I pulled were fine, but #5 was completely plugged, and heavily fouled. Hmm, could that be the problem? Raw gas pouring into a hot exhaust? #7 was a bit dirty, but not bad. After replacing the plugs, WOW, what a difference! No stagger on acceleration, instant throttle response, and no backfiring! Yippee! I had forgotten what a 360 powered car was supposed to drive like. Can't wait to take it on the road to Kenosha now. Should get better mileage now, too.
I will hopefully be installing Air Lift helper springs inside the stock coils in the rear to help out with towing our pop-up camper. I tried Monroe air shocks, but with the 2.5" duals, there just wasn't room for them.