Like many Mopar lovers back in the '60s, Rob Fraser remembered when Dodge and Chrysler-Plymouth dealers sold brand-new, tire-frying performance cars.

But Rob did more than just dream about them. He influenced his family's decision to buy one—one that he inherited, drove daily, parked, and restored years later.

That car is this Q5 Bright Turquoise '69 Dodge Dart Swinger 340. "I was 18, and my dad and I went down and ordered it," he recalls. "It was when the new models went on sale in September 1968, so I have a lot of memories of that one."

Getting to that point wasn't easy, according to Rob. "I was twisting a lot of arms. Dad usually replaced our cars every four years—we'd had a '65 Valiant before that. I knew that he would buy a Dart. So I started pushing for the Swinger 340."

Before then, the Frasers had a dinner-table discussion about which transmission to order the Swinger 340 with. "I started making a pitch for the four-speed, and Dad cut me off and said, ‘Your mother can't drive a standard transmission—we have to get an automatic,'" says Rob. "Mom got very upset about that, and she pointed out that all cars had standard transmissions when she learned how to drive, and she could operate a standard transmission very nicely, thank you very much. I said, ‘Thanks Mom!'" (By the way, Rob's mom picked the color scheme—Q5 Bright Turquoise Metallic with a black bench seat interior and no bumblebee stripe.)

Once ordered, it wasn't until early January 1969 when it arrived at Lakehead Motors in Port Arthur, Ontario. Per Rob, that delay was thanks to the demand for Ma Mopar's new small-block–powered budget muscle car.

The Swinger 340 was one of the Frasers daily drivers for the next four years. "Come 1973, Dad was going to trade it in, but I was in love with it," Rob recalls. "It was just an absolute toy for an 18-year-old to have back then. So I made a deal with him, and I got the Swinger."

That meant the four-speed A-Body was even more of a "toy" for Rob. "It got used very lightly for about the next five years, until you couldn't get premium leaded gas anymore for it," he says. "I parked the car and I figured that I'd deal with that later."

"Later" happened after the life-changing events many young Mopar guys experienced. "When it finally came out of the garage, it had followed me around for life," says Rob, "through things like marriage, children, and mortgages, because I had no money to do anything with it for a number of years."

Eventually, Rob decided that it wasn't going to stay buried in his garage. "It finally got to the point where I said, ‘I've got to do something with that car or turn it over to somebody else who'll get some enjoyment out of it, because I'm not getting any enjoyment out of it sitting in the garage, and time certainly isn't being kind to it."

So in 2009 the restoration began. Fortunately, it hadn't seen any major crash damage or rust. "The only sheetmetal that we replaced were the rear quarters," says Rob, who says that was from bad repair work, including a poorly-installed rear quarter. "We went to AMD and got a couple of new ones, and I think the new ones are nicer than the original ones were."

The 340 also got plenty of attention. "One of the paramount objectives of the restoration was to be able to drive the car, but with 10.0:1 pistons, that wasn't going to work very well with today's pump gas," says Rob. "So, we had to modify the engine a bit, so it would run on pump unleaded. It doesn't show outside of the engine."

Finished in July 2011, Rob began showing his restored A-Body. "We've been down to Carlisle a couple of times with it," he says. "It's about 1,400 miles round trip from Ottawa, and we drive it all the way."

Even if you never "influenced" your family's car choices, Rob has this advice if you're looking to restore a vintage Mopar, regardless of whose garage or barn you find it in: "Build what you want. It's a matter of personal taste, what you want in your car.

"Follow your passion, and count your pennies so you don't get in trouble halfway through your restoration."

Fast Facts

'69 Dodge Dart Swinger 340
Owned by: Rob Fraser, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Mopar Power

Engine: LenTech Auto Performance in Ottawa, restored the original 340, and added a Mopar electronic ignition, SRP pistons, and a Comp Cams hydraulic flat tappet camshaft and rocker arms. The stock '69 340 heads got a set of hardened valve seats and Comp valvesprings, while the exhaust system was restored to OEM-new with the original exhaust manifolds, HP stock-type mufflers, and 21⁄2-inch pipe.
Transmission: Original 23-spline 833 restored by ASE Motorsports in Ottawa, and the OEM shifter was rebuilt by its manufacturer—Hurst
Rear: Original 83⁄4 rear end was restored to Hamtramck-new condition with a 3.23-geared Sure Grip and stock axle shafts

Sure Grip

Suspension: Restored '69 Swinger 340 Rallye suspension: (Front) Heavy-duty torsion bars and shocks, unequal-length A-arms and front sway bar (Rear) Heavy-duty leaf springs and shocks
Brakes: Ordered new with the B41 and B51 options, the power front/disc/rear drum brakes were also restored by ASE Motorsports.
Wheels/Tires: Original 14x51⁄2-inch steel wheels wear the correct '69 Dodge dog-dish caps, while a set of P215/70R14 Michelin Harmony red-stripe radials replaced the OEM D70-14 bias-plies.

High Impact

Paint/Body: Original all-steel '69 Dart hardtop unibody was restored by ASE Motorsports, which included new quarters from Auto Metal Direct and a base/clear version of the original Q5 Bright Turquoise Metallic paint
Interior: Front seat, headliner, and carpets restored by ASE Motorsports with help by Legendary, while the rear bench still wears its original upholstery. Sound system is the original R11 Music Master AM radio, and a period-correct Stewart-Warner Stage II tach is the only non-stock item.