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This Guy’s Garage: Tony Deptula’s Mopar & Chevy Haven

HOT ROD logo HOT ROD 5/15/2018 Hot Rod Network Staff
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Tony Deptula / Brighton, MI

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We met Tony Deptula on our trip to the Detroit area when we went to shoot Mike Copeland's '74 Maverick. We were looking for a place to shoot the Ford, and Mike dialed us in with Tony and his place, Deptula Performance. Tony has been at this location for a number of years and as you can see from the variety of cars in his shop, he does like to mix it up. Some of the cars belong to him and his son JT, while others are just passing through for repairs. He has a long list of customers who have entrusted him to keep their older cars in running condition, with others looking for performance upgrades. His passion for wrenching on cars started at an early age and has progressed into a full time business. He is also an avid racer who likes to compete at the track.

#1 1968 Dodge Super Bee

Tony has owned this 1968 Dodge Super Bee since he was 17. He spent many summer days mowing laws to save up for this car. When he bought it, it had a 440, a 4-speed, and a Dana 60 rear, and was originally painted Dark Green Poly. Since a yellow 1969 Coronet stoked his Mopar flame at a young age, he decided early on that it had to be painted yellow. Over the years it has received a 28-point roll cage, mini tubs, and a fiberglass hood. Under the hood, the 440 was replaced with a 540 cubic-inch mill which consists of an aluminum Indy block and heads. The 4-speed was also swapped in favor of a race-prepped 727 TorqueFlite, as was the Dana 60 with a Dana 70 stuffed with 4.88:1 gears. This was his weapon of choice at the drag strip. Tony has many fond memories of racing the Super Bee at Detroit Dragway in the early '90s.

#2 1971 Chevelle

The 1971 Chevelle was a purchase Tony made in 1994 as a result of the Super Bee breaking down. A friend was selling it and he acquired it at a very reasonable price. "Best purchase I've ever made in my life. I love it!" says Tony. It was back halved and had a roll cage installed so it was well on its way to being track ready. Propulsion comes from a 502 cubic-inch Chevy big-block topped with Dart cylinder heads, a Holley Dominator, and a 500-shot nitrous fogger system. It's shifted by a Hughes Turbo 400 and 6,500-stall converter and backed by a Ford 9-inch rear stuffed with 4.56:1 gears. Tony runs solid high 9-second passes with it.

#3 1969 Camaro

This 1969 Camaro sporting a Hugger Orange paint job was in the shop for some service. It was originally used in Connecticut, but is now in Michigan. Tony states that the car is not a trailer queen or show car. The owner drives it regularly to work and on shopping trips. It wears Z/28 emblems but is equipped with a 350 small-block that the owner had built a few years ago. It has Edelbrock heads, intake, and a Holley 750, and breathes with a set of Hooker Super Comp headers. At the rear is a 12-bolt posi.

#4 1959 Corvette

A recent arrival in the shop, this 1959 Corvette came in for some upgrades to the mostly stock drivetrain. Painted Roman Red with white coves, it looks stock but doesn't have the original 283 small-block. Tony has already replaced the original 4-speed with one from a 1964 Corvette. The next upgrade on the list for this C2 is a brake swap with new Wilwood units mounted at all four corners. Tony describes this Corvette as a really nice driver that sees regular use on the street.

#5 1970 Dodge Challenger Convertible

Tony has been working on this car since he was 17. The owner of this E-Body acquired it in 1984 as a theft recovery. It is an original BL1 Beige Slant-Six car that has had a 340 small-block transplanted in it, along with 727 torqueFlite, and an 8 rear with a 3.23:1 posi. Shortly after purchasing the Challenger, the owner bought a shaker hood for it, which it still wears. The 340 is a mix of a '70 block, '72 heads (running 10.5:1 compression), and a Carter AVS carburetor, which Tony will soon swap with a Holley.

001-tony-deptula-garage-brighton-mi© Hot Rod Network Staff 001-tony-deptula-garage-brighton-mi

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