When I was home I would go to the local dealer and test drive the cars, after a while they told me not come back anymore. A new GTX was only $2500 but I couldn’t afford it.
As one of the fortunate young men who made it home with both his body and mind intact Eddie had hoped to make those muscle car dreams come true. “Two months before I got back, my first wife wrote to me and said ‘Your money’s all gone, I had to spend it.’” So when he made it back to the USA, there was not going to be a red hot Mopar in his immediate future. Eddie and his first wife were divorced, he went to work for General Electric and still managed to feed his horsepower addiction with other muscle cars.
He spent the next thirty years of his life working his way up, eventually making it to the executive level at some of our nation’s biggest companies. His hard work allowed him to buy and enjoy a variety of different cars, and work literally has had him living in different parts of the country including a two year period commuting from Kentucky to California via airline on a weekly basis. He has modified cars and raced them but most importantly he drove them, “Everything I own I drive”. Still a green beast from Mopar was something he’d always wanted.
A New Opportunity
In 2001 Eddie got his chance. His teenage son wanted to learn about working on cars from his dad. So they went searching for a suitable candidate. Eddie seized the opportunity to hunt down that old Chrysler product that he’d been unable to secure during his younger years. He found the 1968 Belvedere pictured here, although the car was in disguise as the more popular RoadRunnner at the time and nowhere near ready for the show and go life he eventually would give it. He struck a deal with the seller and brought the car home.
Eddie would spend the next several years restoring the car. His son soon found that working on cars was harder, hotter and dirtier than he had anticipated and left dear old dad to toil on his own in the garage. Most of the work he completed on his own subbing out the more difficult body work and interior upholstering. The end result as pictured here is nothing short of awesome. “The Belvedere is actually more rare than the RoadRunner anymore, most of these were crushed because they were the cheap car.”
The entry level Belvedere was Plymouth’s budget friendly car. Most of these were low option cars with small V8’s or slant sixes. This was the car Grandma bought to take to the grocery store and church on Sunday or commuters bought to get to work. Basic, boring, entry level transportation was the idea with most Belvederes. As such they’re not highly sought after in many cases these days, making survivors rare but solid platforms for project cars and still affordable to obtain.
Eddie’s car originally came with a meager 190 horsepower 273 cubic inch V8 engine. That has since been replaced with a Mopar crate 360 packing 380 horsepower. The engine wears an Edelbrock intake manifold and carb inhaling through a Spectre intake system. MSD ignition components light the candles while Hedman 1 7/8″ long tube headers flow spent gasses through stainless steel custom pipes to Year One stock reproduction mufflers and out stainless tailpipes.
Transmission and Rearend
I called the Mopar tech line and the engineer on the phone told me if I’d wanted gas mileage I should’ve kept the 273
“I called the Mopar tech line and the engineer on the phone told me if I’d wanted gas mileage I should’ve kept the 273” he says laughing. “Of course then they told me they could sell me another engine that would get better fuel economy.” Needless to say Eddie stuck with the 360.
The exterior of the car is painted a gorgeous dark green that shines so brightly we had trouble keeping our reflection out of it during the photo shoot. It features numerous small details from badging and striping accents that match the interior to custom mirrors. Custom Boze 17” directional polished wheels ride on 245/50/17 Continental Pro Touring Contact tires. No panel on this car has been untouched by restoration or modification efforts.
The interior stays cool with the help of air conditioning from Classic Auto Air (remember he built this car to drive). What’s even cooler about the interior is the level of customization. An Autometer Monster Tach with shift light hang from the dash along with the controls for the GearVendors unit. The seats are donors out of a 2005 Monte Carlo, they’ve been reupholstered in custom Naugahyde leather along with the back seat and door panels. The Mopar M is custom stitched into both the front headrests. The center console was also taken from an ’05 Monte. Eddie cut the console down, altered the car’s floor pans and then had it covered to match the rest of the interior. Sitting front and center in that console is the V-matic shifter. Steering duties are handled by a Flaming River tilt column with Center Force wheel.
The Big Show
Every year thousands of Mopar fans and their cars converge on National Trail Raceway near Columbus, OH to attend the Mopar Nationals. This weekend event is the Mecca for everything Mopar. Judging for show cars is extremely strict and decisions are not debatable. Unlike many events that award points, the Nationals uses a points deduction system. Each participant starts out with the same number of points and deductions are made for each flaw, error, dirt spec or missed spot in every category.
Eddie has competed on numerous occasions with the Belvedere in the Modified B body category. “Modified cars can’t have anything stock, that’s where you lose points.” he says. Also, the number of entrants in each body category will then determine the number of years those cars are competing against. One year the category might only cover four years of the same body style, the next it could cover ten!
In 2011 Eddie’s Belvedere placed fourth in his class, showing us the judging results he had on hand he only lost four points in judging, meaning a spread of only four points covered the top four cars. Three years earlier however in 2008 Eddie Streeter’s Belvedere won the Modified B body class. Obviously a big deal and the culmination of years of hard work and determination, especially when you consider that the competition always includes some of the top car customizers and restorers in the world. For Eddie, a guy who did so much of the work and had the vision for this car himself, that 2008 win is an achievement worthy of some huge bragging rights, and although he smiles and lights up to talk about it, he mentions it so casually during conversation you’d think he’d just won a top 50 at a local car show.
Eddie says he’s done competing at the Nationals with this car, he still plans to attend the event every year and have a good time though. “I might take my 300 up there this year” he says referring to the modified late model 300C with the 6.1 HEMI also lurking in his garage. With a love of cars like his and a work ethic to match it we had to ask Eddie what he’ll do next. “I’d like to find a Barracuda or a GTX like I had on those posters years ago that needs a lot of work, pull it in the garage and take my time with it.” Whatever he decides to put his efforts towards you can be assured that Mr. Eddie Streeter’s next creation will be something of interest for a lot of muscle car fans everywhere.