’74 Dodge Dart Sport
The best finishing A-Body in this year’s contest was the bright orange ’74 Dart Sport owned by Ken Harrington of Pahrump, Nevada. As his first car, Ken has owned this Dart for 25 years, but kept the Dodge much as he remembered if from high school when he recently refreshed it. Ken uses his Dart Sport regularly, driving to car shows on weekends, and entering drag racing events, and even burnout contests. Ken even admits to street racing his car back in the day, but only races on the track now that he’s a little older.
Owning the Dart since he was 15 years old, Ken learned a lot about Mopars with this car, modifying the original 318 with parts from Super Shops, then installing a 340, and finally a 360, which is in the car today. The 360 is equipped with a cast crankshaft, forged pistons, and a Crane solid flat-tappet camshaft. Ken ported the factory X heads himself, and installed Harland Sharp 1.5 ratio rocker arms. The automatic transmission is equipped with a Turbo Action reverse-shift manual valvebody and GER 8-inch, 4,000-rpm converter. Out back, Ken installed 4.30 gears in the 83⁄4, with Competition Engineering 50/50 ratio shocks. After straightening the body and installing a fiberglass hood and scoops he made himself from a mold, Ken had the car painted in multiple coats of Hemi Orange base/clear paint.
This car has come a long way during the 25 years Ken has owned it, and during our contest it ran the quickest elapsed time of 11.76 seconds in the quarter mile. We love the fact that Ken kept his Dart true to the car he remembered in high school, and the look of this car’s interior brought back fond memories of how we modified our cars “back in the day.” We thank Ken entering our True Street Challenge and congratulate him on his third place finish.
’69 Plymouth Road Runner
The Road Runner was the Motor Trend Car of the Year in 1969, but we’ll bet none of the originals looked as good as Steve Morrison’s Plymouth. Coming to Las Vegas from Simi Valley, California, Steve was a late entry in the True Street Challenge, getting his Road Runner finished just in time for Mopars at the Strip. Steve’s Road Runner is an original black on black 383/four-speed, with only 68,000 original miles. Owning and driving the car for five years, Steve just completed the 10-month restoration, and plans to use the car to drive and cruise, though we did catch him racing in the four-speed class as well as competing in our contest.
Steve’s Road Runner is still wearing all of its original sheet metal, and painted in stunning PPG 9300 black paint. The suspension of this Road Runner is stock with the exception of QA1 shocks, and Steve installed a Dana 60 with 3.55 gears. The original interior was restored to stock specs, with the exception of aftermarket oil pressure and water temperature gauges. The 440 engine was rebuilt by Quarter Mile Performance in Chatsworth, California, and features a Milodon oil system, Scat rods, Ross pistons, and a factory forged crankshaft. A Comp Cams hydraulic-roller cam was installed, and the Edelbrock Performer RPM cylinder heads were treated to port matching. TTI headers and 3-inch exhaust expel the gasses, and a Chrysler 18-spline Hemi four-speed makes the car a blast to drive.
Steve’s ’69 is laser-straight, and the paint quality is top-notch. On the track, the Road Runner scored well, running a best elapsed time of 12.81 seconds in the quarter-mile at over 107 mph. Throughout the weekend, Steve consistently clicked off 12-second elapsed times, both in the True Street Challenge and in the four-speed drag racing class. As it turned out, Steve scrambled to make the show, and was still in the process of installing items like the glove box liner and windshield wipers during the event. Were it not for these details, this Road Runner would have placed higher than forth in the True Street Challenge.
Ken Posey Sr.
’69 Dodge Dart
We love big-block equipped A-Bodies, and Ken Posey of Fresno, California, brought a potent ’69 Dart to Vegas this year. When Ken wasn’t busy showing and racing his Dart at the track, we saw him driving it just about everywhere we went during the weekend. Ken has owned this Dodge for six years, originally picking it up at a swap meet with a blown Slant Six. He and his son Ken Jr. (along with numerous family and friends) spent the better part of five years transforming the car into a big-block equipped street and strip brawler.
Ken’s Dart started out as a clean original car, but isn’t what Ken and his son wanted. On the outside, a custom fabricated steel cowl induction hood was installed, and the Dart was treated to fresh T5 bronze metallic paint (the original color) from PPG. The interior of the Dart was in great original condition, so it remains that way today. The chassis of the Dart was modified with tubular upper control arms and Competition Engineering 90/10 shocks up front, and the rear was mini-tubbed to accommodate Hoosier 28x13.5-inch DOT drag tires. Ken built the big-block himself, using a 400 block, Ross pistons, a forged 440 crankshaft, and a Mopar Performance .509 cam. Unported 440Source cylinder heads were installed with stock rockers, and the engine is fed by an M1 intake and Holley carburetor. An auto tech himself, Ken, along with his son, performed all of the work on the Dodge, including building the automatic transmission and installing a 10-inch, 4,500-rpm stall converter.
This Dart drives and shows very well, but where it really shines is on the dragstrip. With a relatively mild, street-friendly combination, Ken managed to run 11.94 seconds in the quarter-mile, at more than 110 mph. Ken enjoyed the weekend, and says he needs to thank his brother Kevin for helping with the wiring, and Mike Owens who painted the car. As a budget build, Ken traded labor and did much of the work himself, and got to spend valuable time with his son during the process. We thank Ken for entering the True Street Challenge, and for exposing the next generation to the fun that can be had building, driving, and racing a Mopar.