Car Feature: Rick Trunkett’s Nasty 1972 Plymouth Duster Has Boost

When you talk about classic Mopar performance cars an image comes to mind of mythical beasts that prowled the streets, were big, angry, and fast. Those types of images hold true today when you see a Hemi powered NHRA Super Stock car leaving the line wheels up and roaring down the track clicking off a low 8 second pass.

The Duster looks to be all business, but even still it hides a little something under the hood for the unsuspecting.

These cars and their look can get burned into you at a young age when you’re a gearhead and ultimately drive you to step into the Mopar world like Rick Trunkett of Hinkley Ohio. Following his dream of wanting an old Mopar for his first car Trunkett has built one of the nastiest 1972 Plymouth Duster street cars in the country that puts down over 900 hp to the rear wheels.

The story of Trunkett and his Duster start at the early age of 15 and has continued on until this day. “I found the car in the local paper and saved up the $1,500 to buy it,” says Trunkett. Over the years the Duster has received seven different engine combinations and 12 different transmissions. That may seem like a lot to the average person, but co-owner of Big 3 Racing sees no problem with it. Trunkett says, “I learned everything I know about cars working on the Duster, I call it my R&D car”.

That hole in the front fender is your first clue that something is up with this Duster.

A boosted muscle car that runs 9’s like this mean Mopar must be a track queen right? Nope, this is a true street car that sees more than 2,500 miles a year, and a lot of those miles are far from easy. The Duster went to the TX2K14 event to compete in the roll racing event right alongside the fastest super cars in the world. 

Coaxing big power out of 435 CID Mopar R3 tall deck block takes a mixture of quality parts, and Trunkett has done that in spades. A 4-inch Eagle crank is used to rotate a set of Eagle connecting rods that wear Wiseco pistons. The Mopar mill uses a custom grind solid roller cam and was machined by Hawk Engine & Machine then assembled in house at Big 3 Racing.

Under the hood is extremely clean showing off all the Mopar muscle and large 88mm turbo.

Flowing the air into the motor is a set of aluminum Indy 360-1 heads that are filled with stainless steel 2.05 intake valves and 1.65 exhaust valves. The valve train is completed by 1.6 radio Harland Sharp rocker arms. Feeding the boosted air into the engine is an Indy intake manifold that is fitted with a billet 1000 cfm Holley throttle body.

Getting this goal performance level out of the Duster required modernization of parts where possible, and this included the Holley Dominator EFI system. “Holley EFI and Rick Anderson have the best EFI and tech support in the industry and really helped us out with the whole setup” says Trunkett. A set of Holley Dominator 12-1800 pumps flow the pump gas to the Holley 120 pound injectors. All of the tuning is handled though the Holley system by Trunkett himself on the dyno, street, and track.

Bob Hess Sr. laid down the Amber Sherwood Green paint down in his own garage and added the flat black to the AAR fiber glass hood to give the Duster a sinister look.

The star of the show under the hood is the custom Big 3 Racing turbo system that Trunkett fabricated. A set of 1 ¾” headers feed the exhaust to a Borg Warner 88mm turbo. To keep all 18 psi of the boost in check a Tial blow off valve is used along with a Turbonetics 35mm wastgate. Incoming air is chilled by the Frozen air to water intercooler that resides in the back seat of the Duster.

The Big 3 Racing Duster has been an R&D vehicle, with plenty of engine and transmission swaps putting in the time.

Taking the brunt of the Mopar power is a FTI built powerglide and 3800 stall torque converter. A B&M transmission cooler keeps the fluid happy as Trunkett gives the slushbox its orders through a Hurst Quarter Stick shifter. Sending the ponies outback is a custom steel 3.5 inch drive shaft that’s held in place by a fabricated safety loop.

Making big power is one thing, but getting all the power down is another. To ensure maximum traction is achieved Trunkett addressed the suspension from front to rear on his Duster. A set of Lakewood adjustable shocks are used upfront in conjunction with the stock springs, upper and lower control arms. The rear uses a full Caltracks system that is attached to the Mopar rear end that is filled with Moser axles, spool, and 3.55 gears.

Just the right touch of old school looks and modern engineering make this beast something to contend with.

A set of Centerline Telestar rims keep the Duster rolling with 15x5s sporting 185-60-15 rubber up front and 15x9s out back that are wrapped in a pair of 275-60-15 MT Pro drag radials. To bring the Mopar to a stop SSBC 4 piston front brakes and Wilwood 4 piston rear brakes are used.

On the low boost tune and pump gas the Duster has been 9.91 at 147. With the wick fully turned up this spring on the dyno the Mopar put down a stout 905 hp and 816 ft/lb torque at just 18 psi of boost. With that kind of power the Duster should run deep into the 9’s. Trunkett plans to run the local Renegade Racing Association Series and grudge race the car when he’s not at the shop building hot rods.

 

Outback Trunkett doesn’t hide what this car can do while rolling down the street with the Stroud parachute attached and the NHRA mandatory on off switch in plain view.

Getting this car done has not been a short task, “I would like to thank Chuck Stefanski for an awesome wire job along with final fit and finish. Bob Hess built a bad ass motor and helped make sure I did it right the first time,” says Trunkett. 

Inside the Duster you can see the original Grandma Green upholstery is in place but is now wrapped in a custom 8.50 certified roll cage for trips down the 1320. A custom dash setup houses the Holley LCD touch screen that controls the Dominator EFI system.

Rick Trunkett has built a classic Mopar with a modern twist. His Duster takes an American muscle car classic and fuses it with modern technology to produce a brutally powerful final product. Trunkett says “this car drives like a 1972 Duster, until you hit the go pedal, then it is smooth and scary”. There is not a thing wrong with smooth and scary when you are putting down 900 hp to the wheels.

Check out the gallery below for some more pictures of this insane Plymouth Duster. No matter what angle you view it at, it’s an awesome testament to the time and effort that Trunkett put into it, and it’s more than just show… this Plymouth will dust you and not even break a sweat! Just watch it twist the chassis on the dyno in the video below.

About the author

Brian Wagner

Spending his childhood at different race tracks around Ohio with his family’s 1967 Nova, Brian developed a true love for drag racing. When Brian is not writing, you can find him at the track as a crew chief, doing freelance photography, or beating on his nitrous-fed 2000 Trans Am.
Read My Articles

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