Take a look at what we bought today! I spotted this ratty looking Dodge Dart on our local craigslist and couldn’t resist. The ad mentioned that the owner of 25 years had built the car into a hot rod. The suspension and brakes were upgraded using parts presumably from a ’73 Dart. The most exciting part though was the 360 V8 under the hood. It sounded like a lot of fun and one test drive was all it took to convince me! It needs some work, but I’m really excited about this one. We are still trying to figure out exactly what we have, but hopefully some of you will be able to help us crack the code…
First, lets talk about what we do know. The seller, Dave, told us that when they got the car almost 30 years ago the original 273 V8 smoked badly and needed a rebuild. One day while he was driving down the road he passed a fire station and he noticed some firemen who were practicing their rescue skills on an old Dart. They had already cut the car in half, so Dave walked up and asked what they were planning on doing with the remains. They said he could have it, so he dragged it home and started the painstaking process of swapping the parts. The bucket seats came from a newer Mopar and I’m guessing that the Hurst shifter and 4-speed are original to car!
The newer Dart benefited from better braking in the form of front discs and a dual master cylinder. So those went in along with the suspension. Dave was smart enough to replace any worn items while he was in there. It’s been about two decades since the work was done so it needs some refreshing now, but the hard work of sourcing and replacing everything has already been done. There’s some rust in the quarters and the paint is pretty dry. We were able to drive it back to the office though without too much trouble and even managed a few burnouts along the way. We already replaced the leaky fuel pump and have started to make a list of todos.
One area that we could use your guys help with though is determining what all we have here. We were able to confirm that the engine is indeed a 360 (if you squint you can see “360” on the second line), but weren’t able to determine much else from these numbers. This is the area right below the head on the driver’s side and from what we’ve read, the numbers don’t look right. Could this be a warranty replacement or aftermarket block? Perhaps ours source is just wrong, but I’m sure one of you can help us figure out which engine we have. There is a four-barrel intake on top of it and it does go like stink.
You can’t see them in the photos, but there’s a pair of studded snow tires out back! That might not be the best way to get more traction, but they’re a lot cheaper than slicks… New tires will go on the shipping list along with a windshield and interior. The exterior will be mostly left alone, but we might spray the rims black instead of red. It may not be the most desirable popular muscle car, but our little Dart should be able to provide a similar experience for a lot less money. It’s funny actually because I was just thinking that it would be fun to get a car we could take to the drag strip this summer, but didn’t think we could afford anything interesting.
Well, we found something very interesting at a very good price. It’s a blast to drive too! I think Josh stated it best today when he said that the Singer was a fine dance while the Dart is more like WWF wrestling. Dave loved it so much that he even had this custom license plate frame made. We left the frame with him as a memento and jumped in to start a new adventure of our own. Follow along because this is going to be fun!