Family Affair
Mopar Muscle|February 2020
SON BUILDS BIG POWER FROM MOM’S SMALL-BLOCK DUSTER
Scotty Lachenauer

When Glenn Radler turned 17 years old, he earned the right from the great state of New Jersey to hit the roads solely under his own command. With that milestone achieved, and that piece of paper securely placed in his wallet, the question of what he would be driving from this point forward was then quickly answered by none other than his dear ol’ mom, Doris. “On that day she handed me the keys to her ’73 Gold Duster, a car she had bought new and cherished over the last sixteen years,” says Glenn.

From that day onward, the young Mopar lover would handle the gold Duster with kid gloves, treating it with the same respect Doris had done since she drove it off the dealer’s lot back in 1973.

We won’t say there weren’t some typical teenage hijinks along the way, but all in all, Glenn exhibited a certain amount of respect for the Duster. It was a car that he had grown to love, having ridden shotgun in the front split-bench seat since he was brought into this world. And it was a car that he obviously knew well. He used that knowledge to help keep it running as his daily driver throughout his early years out on the rough roads of Jersey.

Although it was constructed with the basic 318 powerplant under the hood, Glenn saw some potential in the A-body, as it was built with a few neat options direct from Mother Mopar. This particular Duster came equipped with air conditioning under the hood, along with the new for-1973 manual sunroof installed by the American Sunroof Company for the Chrysler Corporation. Along the assembly line, the Duster also received the Space Duster Pak option, which consisted of a fold-down rear seat for more storage room outback. For a young and burgeoning car aficionado, this A-body was both the perfect introduction to life on the road and a stepping stone into the world of Mopar muscle rides.

Glenn didn’t waste much time personalizing his new ride. “During the next few years, I had the car hand-painted with the Tasmanian Devil logo on the trunk and a Duster logo on the doors, and of course we did flames coming down the hood over the functional snorkel,” says Glenn.

Aesthetics weren’t the only things that changed. The young gun started playing around with the small-block, tweaking it to his liking. Glenn says, “Improvements to the engine meant many trips to Englishtown’s Raceway Park to run her down the track during my summers and college breaks. I made lifelong friends working on her with other hot rodders throughout high school and college.”

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