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Satellite With Style

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Concours restoration of a ’69 Plymouth.

Photos and words by The Brunt Bros

Several years ago, Joe Murnan brought a beautifully restored Daytona to the Mopar Nationals. The car hardly got a second look. Then, Joe brought something else to the Nats.

…This.

It all started when Joe planned to restore his ’69 Plymouth Satellite. The body had some rust, and the interior needed freshening. But, the 383 cube, TorqueFlite drivetrain was righteous.

First stop was Tony’s Hard-Core Neon & Interiors, in Staten Island, NY (since relocated to Murfreesboro, Tenn.)  The deal went something like this:

Joe pulls into Tony’s shop. Tony comes over wearing the white coat, carrying the clipboard, the whole nine yards.

“Hey, Goombah, what you need? Neon license plate frame? Maybe you want some undercar lights, you should look like the Starship Enterprise going down the highway. Hey, I got a special on the latest deal—black neon inside the car. It makes you glow. You look like Casper the Friendly Ghost behind the wheel. Even lights up your teeth. Freaks everybody out.

“Goo- who?”

“Goombah. G-O-O-O-M-B-A-A-H!”

“Look, Tony, forget the neon lights. Forget the goombah stuff. I’m restoring this Satellite and I need the interior fixed up.”

“Interior, huh? No problem. But what about the rust in those quarters and those pitted bumpers?”

“Why, you do bodywork too?”

“Sure. I do interiors, but I always wanted to try exteriors.”

“I don’t know, Tony.”

“Listen, goom…, I mean Joe, baby. Give me a shot. I’ll do the body so rust will never ever show, and you’ll never have to wax the finish again—ever, and you can kiss bumper pitting goodbye, too.”

“Gee, I don’t know…”

“Joe, Goombah, trust me. I’m Tony. Look, you sure you don’t want the neon? I can make the whole car look like the mother ship in ‘Close Encounters.’ Freaks everybody out.”

“No lights. I want to go through con­cours judging at the Mopar Nats.”

“Concourse, eh? OK. Anything else on the car you want me to fix?”

“Yeah, the ventilation system  doesn’t work very well. I don’t get enough fresh air in the car.”

“Fresh air? No problem. Look, guy, don’t worry. I’m Tony.”

Tony’s Hard-Core Neon & Interiors is one of those high-class shops that takes about a year to complete a job, and they just keep sending bills in the mail to cover their hours and parts. So Joe figures he’s getting a real Platinum Award quali­ty restoration. The Satellite is completed just three days before the Nats.

“Hey, Joe, baby. Your car’s ready. It came out dynamite.”

Joe gets down to the shop so fast, he leaves flaming tire tracks like in “Back To The Future.”

“Hey, Tony. Where’s the car?”

“Over here.”

“Over where? And, what’s that, that…thing over their with the…the… hair?”

B

Tony’s first attempt at “doing exteriors” had him come up with the innovative idea of covering the bod (and the rust) with maintenance-free indoor-outdoor carpeting. Poor ventilation problem was solved by cutting roof and trashing doors.

“Joe, baby, that’s your car!”

“Nnnnmmggh.” Gasp!

“Joe, baby, wassamatter? Check it out. Look, no more ugly rust spots, no more washing, no more waxing.”

C

Tony built his shop’s reputation on his impeccable, and award-winning interior work…as evidenced by the fabulous seat cover job shown here.

Gasp! Gasp! “Nnhhhmggrghl.” Gasp!

A

Satellite took a little over a year to restore by Tony’s Hard-Core Neon & Interiors, formerly located in Staten Island, NY. Owner insisted on a no-expense-spared, concours quality job.

“Yeah, it’s indoor-outdoor carpeting. Covers the whole body. It’s a Tony’s Hard-Core exclusive. Yeah, and that problem about not getting enough fresh air in the car? Your entire heating/ventilation system was shot. So I solved the problem by cutting the roof and trashing the doors. Man, you get fresh air up the wazoo. Looks like the car in the Munsters TV show. Neato, eh?

E

Boat windshield replaces stock glass so perfectly, it fools all but the most knowledgeable of concours judges.

That windshield, by the way, is off a boat— another Tony’s Hard-Core exclusive. So’s the rear light. I do boats, too, but there wasn’t enough room on my sign to include it.”

“Rrrggghhmmnn.” Gasp! Puke!

“Joe, baby, chill out, you’re turning colors. I know you’re excited to see your car, but my insurance don’t cover if you croak in my shop. Here, let’s step out­side. Hey, remember those ugly pitted bumpers? Check it out. Genuine California Redwood log bumpers. Man, you can go through a brick wall with these babies, and they’re maintenance-free.

D

Check out those NOS tail-lamp bezels. Rare Redwood log bumpers are correct for this car as assembly line workers turned to the local lumber yard when the bumper parts bin ran dry. Only about 25 cars were turned out with these bumpers.

Gasp! “Aaarrgghh.” Choke!

“Joe, baby, where ya’ goin’? Come back. Goombah, check out these neat new neon lights. They make your whole car flash in different colors—like it’s gonna blow up….Freaks everybody out…”

A special thanks to the Brunt Bros for passing this archived story and photos from the early days of Cars Illustrated…the Janitor

 

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