BIANCA Cilia has been playing with classic American muscle since she was in primary school, just like her sister Chantelle, whose ’65 Impala we featured in Iron Maiden last month. Bianca’s current ride is a sweet 1973 Plymouth Duster, which she imported from the US herself for a delightfully different weekend cruiser.
This article was first published in the December 2020 issue of Street Machine
How did you catch the car bug?
Dad has always had mad cars. He had a ’57 four-door and a whole bunch of other stuff when I was a kid, so all of my baby photos are of me in cool old cars. My first car when I was seven years old was a ’55 Chevy, and then I had a turquoise 1965 Mustang for 10 years. My dad is a spray painter, and I’d spend all my spare time in the workshop, so I learned how to pull cars apart and put them back together. I can pretty much rebuild an entire engine by myself.
A Plymouth Duster is an unusual sight on Aussie roads. How did it catch your eye?
I visited the US when I was 21 and went to the Pomona Swap Meet in California to buy a car, and saw it there. I hadn’t seen a Duster in Australia before, and it was what I was after: coupe, V8, power steer, and it was complete and in good condition. So I brought it back here and went through all the processes for the VASS engineering and getting it registered.
What has been done to it so far?
Just a lot of basic mechanical servicing and maintenance so far, and I did most of the mechanical stuff myself. I got the seats and interior reupholstered, because they were a bit sad, and it still has the factory 318ci V8, which doesn’t miss a beat, with a 904 Torqueflite trans behind it. I obviously changed the wheels to the Street Pros, which are 17x4.5 fronts with Mickey Thompson Sportsman S/R radials and 15x7 rears with American Racer rubber. I also had Brett from Conformed Vinyl Creations put the black stripes down the side to break it up a bit.
Any future plans for it?
Not at this stage. It’s just my weekend cruiser and something I use when I’m between cars as a daily driver. I have a TE Cortina in the build, which will be engineered with a stroker Cleveland, built C10 trans and BorgWarner diff. It’ll be a bit of a street-and-strip machine – I might even do Drag Challenge in it someday.
How do people react to seeing you driving around in an American classic?
Well, a lot of people know my dad and what he does, so if they know I’m his daughter they aren’t usually surprised. But it is pretty unique to have over here, and I love cruising around in it.
Is there anyone you’d like to thank?
My dad Tony, my mum Lisa and my partner Matt Misale for the help. It’s been a dream of mine to be in the magazine since I was a little girl!
Photos: Nathan Jacobs
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