When Tony Angelo of HOT ROD Garage says he’s working from home, what he really means is he’s working out of his personal machine shop just outside of Philadelphia. The shop is an old WWII machine shop that made large gun barrels for battleships, with its gantry crane that runs the length of the shop still intact. Tony says they do just about everything out of the shop—engine work, fabrication, general maintenance, you name it. In his office, he’s got some memorabilia from his time as a professional drift racer and a car club he helped found, Club Loose, but the shop—as they say on Cribs—is where the magic happens.
The current bit of magic Tony is making is reviving his 1971 Dodge Demon from winter storage. Tony bought the Demon, his first car, when he was 15 and wrenched on it all through high school. He and his friends would road trip to Carlisle, Pennsylvania, for the annual Chryslers at Carlisle event in search of rare and hard-to-find parts. He loves the car for how different it was compared to all the other students’ cars—Volkswagens, new Camaros, Fox-body Mustangs—his Green Go Demon definitely stood out in the mid-’90s. He would street-race anything and anyone and generally credits the car for inspiring his love of Mopars and his crazy career in the automotive world.
Tony bought the Demon for a great price from a man who was trying to prevent his ex-wife from getting the car in their divorce. The engine was already bored 30 over, had a hot cam and “nasty” headers, and was set up for having fun on the street and ’strip. Tony was surprised his parents actually let him buy the car.
Tony admits he didn’t properly store the car for the winter, he drove it into the shop and threw a cover over it then forgot about it while the weather was cold. Normally, he would add a fuel stabilizer and drain the float bowls in the carburetor. To wake the car up from its hibernation, he’s going to have to take a few extra steps.
His first step is to clean out the engine bay, a bit of mold on the inner fender liners and a pile of rodent debris hiding around the intake tubes. Next, he wants to avoid any dry cranking so he’s going to pull the distributor and prime the oil pump. Of course, the battery needs charging after sitting for months and he gives all the fluids an inspection before start-up, as well. But most importantly, he needs to give the carburetor a good cleaning.
The float bowls didn’t look very good and Tony had to employ a little percussive persuasion to remove them, which is never a good sign. He decides the best course of action would be to pull the whole thing, give it a thorough cleaning throughout, and reassemble it with some new gaskets—the “reusable” gaskets didn’t live up to their name. Thankfully, carburetor parts are still cheap and readily available at most auto-parts stores. After giving the jets and metering blocks a good soak in a bucket of carb cleaner and ensuring all the fuel passage were clean and free-flowing, it was time to bolt the carb back on and start the Demon. To prevent unnecessary cranking, he manually filled the float bowls, and to his delight, the Demon started right up on the first try! A quick adjustment on the idle screws and timing and now Tony’s ’71 Demon is ready to cruise all summer long.
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