Bob's Component Restoration, Part 9: The Space Duster Pak

Members Restorations

  1. cruiser

    cruiser Well-Known Member

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    Good evening fellow Moparites. I trust you've enjoyed the first eight parts of this series, and that my bedtime stories have helped you fall asleep at night. Tonight's installation covers a unique and rare option that first appeared in the 1973 model year - the C73 Space Duster Pak. And yes, I spelled it "Pak" instead of "pack' as Chrysler used this description in their marketing materials back in the day. I was endlessly intrigued by this option and hoped to one day own a car with it. The Gold Duster I bought in 2019 came with the Space Pak, but the folding rear seat package needed a lot of resto work. The C73 package included a folding rear seat back, a narrow modified package tray, a security panel behind the rear seat, and a trunk dress up package which included trunk floor carpeting, fabric inner quarter panel covers, carpeted wheelhouse panels, a vinyl sleeve for the bumper jack, and a plastic tail light cover. Fortunately, all this stuff was there when I bought the car. Particularly rare was the jack sleeve, as these were usually discarded soon after the car was built. Thankfully, my jack sleeve was in perfect condition when I bought the car (see photo). First, I removed and discarded the smelly original one piece floor carpet, replacing it with a very nice new two piece set from Legendary Auto Interiors. I removed the folding rear seat and security panel, then removed the very faded original carpet panels on the backs of both. The accompanying photo shows the new replacement seat back carpet next to the original piece. Note the extreme amount of sun fading and discoloration of the original carpet. Believe it or not, the greenish seat back carpet panel that I pulled from the car was originally gold just like the replacement panel to its left. The security panel is just a piece of 3/8" plywood, carpeted on the front and painted flat black on the back. I purchased carpet stock from Legendary and cut these two carpet pieces to the correct dimensions. I then took these pieces to a carpet shop and had the edges serged to reproduce the way they came from the factory. They were then spray glued to the seat and security panel backs. The seat back carpet had four screw/washer fasteners that had to go back into their original holes. Very tricky, but it came out well. Next, I replaced the original deteriorated black trunk floor carpet with a new black piece from Legendary, serged along the edges (see photo). Legendary does not repop this particular trunk carpet, so I had to cut my own from black carpet stock I purchased from them, using my original as a pattern. Even though I had the gold interior, all C73 cars came with black trunk carpet, black quarter panel coverings, and a black plastic tail light cover panel. This package also included a unique downward curving gas filler pipe, painted flat black, that passes through the trunk. I stripped and repainted the filler pipe and it looks great now. There are three small velcro discs screwed to the front of the trunk floor of the C73 cars. These discs fasten to three velcro patches on the underside of the trunk carpet mat to keep it from sliding around - a small but important item that I successfully replicated. Finally, I replaced the odd and irregularly shaped pieces of black carpet covering the wheelhouses inside the trunk. My originals were missing, so I had to go to my favorite salvage yard in Willmar MN to find a pair of VERY moldy and dirty original pieces to replicate them. There is also a metal intermediate floor panel that goes over the rear axle, covered with gold floor carpet. It took a very long time to clean this floor panel of it's factory carpet glue, but the result was well worth it. So then everything went back in: The two piece gold floor carpet, the intermediate panel gold carpet, the two serged gold carpet panels on the folding seat back and on the security panel, and the black carpet on the trunk floor and wheelhouse tops. I thoroughly cleaned the jack cover and the tail light trim, did some minor re-gluing of the quarter panel fabric pieces, then cleaned everything up. I then reinstalled the rear seat and lubricated the seat back latches with lithium grease, and the job was finished. I love the result! This is such a cool option and I love the adjustability of the package. You can drive with the rear seat back up or down, and the security panel up or down as well. With everything down, it's like having a little station wagon, as the entire car interior is open from the dashboard to the tail lights. This particular resto project was quite difficult. Ordering the correct pieces from Legendary was a challenge because a lot of the stuff that they sold me was incorrect for my model year. The return and reordering process was quite time consuming, so be prepared for this if you're re-doing your C73 package. Please check the accompanying photos, and you'll see how well this resto came out. I love driving my Space Pak Duster and am very glad that I have a restored one, even though the resto was a challenge. That's all for tonight. Now climb into your jammies, turn out the light and go to sleep. Night night!

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    Last edited: Oct 26, 2020 at 4:43 AM
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    • 440jimr

      440jimr Well-Known Member

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      Very cool option, and very nice work!
       
    • mbaird

      mbaird mbaird

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      Lets see the tail light cover . I dont recall if any of my 4 Dart Sports came with one. 2 were convertriple packages .

      Very very nicely done !
       
    • missing linc

      missing linc Loose nut behind the wheel

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      My 75 Dart Sport has the same fold down rear seat. It won't be looking anywhere near as good as yours is. Nice work.
      :thumbsup:
       
    • cawley

      cawley 383 Bcuda

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      A real longtime ago a knew a guy who had a duster with that option. It was dark brown with light tan interior. It also had a light tan side tripe with a light tan vinyl top. I swear it was the snake skin top. Very nice work
       
    • cruiser

      cruiser Well-Known Member

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      Okay, here are two shots of the tail light cover. This is from a St. Louis built 1974 Duster. Other Mopar A bodies from other plants may vary, but here's what mine looks like. Hope this helps! IMG_1534.jpg IMG_1533.jpg
       
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