Some classic cars offer up no background as to their lineage. Who bought the car originally? What did they do with the car? What modifications did they make? That is not the case with this "heavily documented" 1968 yellow Roadrunner. In fact few cars would have this kind of colorful history and the paperwork to back up those claims.
This 383cid-powered Roadrunner was purchased by the original owner and went directly to the location Chrysler intended - the drag strip. Complete with a long history of drag strip quarter mile time slips from the legendary Lion Drag Strip in Long Beach, California, it was clearly a regular. To improve on the original factory performance, an equally legendary racing engine builder, Bob Lambeck, built up a 440cid engine and tucked in the finest performance parts of the era. The engine build up and the timing for the swap from 383cid to 440cid are also well documented.
When the Roadrunner came to All America Classic Car Restoration, it bore all the battle scars of its four decades of racing. Not only did the car still have the 440cid engine from Lambeck underhood, but it had the original "matching number" 383cid engine, transmission and bellhousing. That's gold for the muscle car collector.
After a review of the original "survivor" paint job (a valuable thing for collectors) it was deemed too worn for the owner and AACCR set about repainting the body after repairing all of the body blemishes. The interior was refurbished as well to just the way it looked when it rolled from the southern California dealership when new. Today it stands a beautiful time capsule of the way things were back in the 1960s when new car owners raced their cars often - and hard - because that was the factory intended.
West Coast Mopar is equipped to handle extreme custom restoration, taking that rusted out memory all the way down to its frame, and bringing that dream engine back to life.
The 1953 Woodill Wildcat, currently undergoing a complete restoration and powertrain upgrade at All American Classic Car Restoration (AACCR), is a unique and rarely remembered piece of American sports car history. The brainchild of Blanchard Robert "Woody" Woodhill, this fiberglass sports car was offered as a kit for many car owners looking for something that was totally different from the cars of the era. Debuting a year before another fiberglass sports car was to arrive, the 1953 Corvette, the Woodill Wildcat was truly amazing!
The Series 1 Wildcats were a conglomeration of parts, including Glasspar custom fiberglass bodies, a custom frame built from angle iron, front suspension from a Willys Jeepster, and the rear axle from a Willys Aero. To power the package, they used a Willy inline six-cylinder engine that gave it power befitting the sports car theme. Shortly thereafter, a Series 2 version arrived with slight modifications, including a hood bulge for more engine space, a hood scoop for fresh air, and a number of cosmetic changes for improved safety. Only two Series 2 versions were ever constructed.
After some positive media visibility for the Woodill Wildcat at the Petersen Motorama show in November 1952, excitement by sports car fans in the Woodill Wildcat increased quickly. That enthusiasm was cut short by the introduction of the Kaiser-Darrin, a car produced by Willys that became a direct competitor to the Wildcat.
Not to worry, Woody decided to make his new Wildcats available in kit form for home builders using many parts from readily available 1939-48 Fords. As noted by Woody, "Do it yourselfers with a modicum of mechanical skill" could assemble these cars in their home garage.
The new Type 2 Wildcat evolved over the next few years integrating more advanced parts to make them serviceable, and accepting larger power plants such as the Ford flat-head engine. A complete Wildcat kit sold for $1,208 in 1953, the more advanced 1954 models receiving a price increase to $1,617. For those looking for turnkey Wildcats, they could be had for $3,260 in 1953 (about $31,500 today). While that may seem cheap by today's standards, this was a significant sum for that era since a Cadillac Series 62 club coupe sold for $2,900 that year, a convertible priced at $3400.
The Wildcat under construction at AACCR was a 1953 model fitted by a previous owner with a classic Cadillac engine. At the owner's request, everything underbody has been freshened, a late model 383cid small block Chevy engine now powering the chassis. A 5-speed Tremec transmission will make the gear shifts easy to control and a new rear end along with Wilwood four wheel disc brakes are a huge handling upgrade over the previous underpinnings.
The classic Wildcat fiberglass body has been removed from the chassis and refinished by the AACCR technicians, taking care to retain the original bodyline configuration. As you can see from the photos, the body has been repaired, reinforced and re-fiberglassed where needed. Now in primer, the body will receive a gel-coat to fill in any surface imperfections, primed, and then painted.
The Woodill Wildcat is a striking body shape that received great notoriety in its time. Now forgotten, AACCR is excited to see the car come back to life, reminding us of a time long past when a home-built fiberglass car was to wave the green flag for an exciting new era in car customization.
This Wildcat is currently undergoing major restoration at West Coast Mopar (July 2020)