Back in the day, you could buy cars in a variety of colors, although until the advent of HIP (High Impact Paint), they tended to be a little bland. Regardless of that, one of the most visible things people do when they work up their machines for street and show status is fresh pigment. For truck driver Dennis Probst of Deptford, New Jersey, the stock color and black vinyl top gave way to Dupont Dodge Viper Red when he was ready to finish his LA-equipped '68 Dart GTS.
But that came after Dennis had owned this particular car for a while. In fact, this is the only Mopar he has owned, and his father bought it for him when he was 17 years old. Now 30, Dennis recalls that the old man might have wondered just what he had gotten himself into soon afterward.
"The car had been registered in my name for less then 24 hours and I got my first speeding ticket-85 mph in a 55 mph zone," he says. "My dad grounded me for two months and the car sat next to the house. Before long, people were stopping by to see if it was for sale!"
The 340 GTS is probably not the rarest machine on the planet, but the model is scarce enough that even back then (1987), it drew a lot of attention. So, over the next decade, Dennis spent a good deal of time reworking it for improved performance. The result scored a very respectible 324.9 horses and 360 lbs.-ft. torque at the rear wheels on the Dynojet during the Carlisle All-Chrysler Nationals. Not just a nice show piece, there is much more than meets the eye to this very clean example of small-block Scat Pack action.
Under the bonnet, Dennis had Jeff Mazzoni (Mazzoni Racing, Vineland, New Jersey) put together a balanced bottom end that has no problem spinning to 7,000 rpm. This consists of the stock crank, Eagle ESP rods, and TRW 11.0:1 pistons that Mazzoni prepped and R&R Automotive of Vineland, New Jersey, balanced, adding an ATI Super Damper and B&M solid flexplate to the ends of the crank. Next, cast-iron X-heads were prepped with bowl work and a port match, filled with 2.02/1.60 Milodon valves and Crane hardware, and bolted to the tops of the bores. A solid-lifter Crane pumping .540 intake/.560 exhaust on a 294-duration is in the middle of it all, kept in time by a Cloyes double-roller timing outfit. An Edelbrock Victor Jr. intake topped with a 750 Holley dual-feed double-pumper is the starting point for the incoming charge, which is then ignited by a combination of MSD and Mopar ignition parts before heading south through a set of customized Hooker Super Comps.
Behind this, Mazzoni put together a 727 that uses a Cheetah full manual valvebody, a 4400-stall Trans Specialties 8-inch converter, and a B&M shifter. The 8 3/4 4.10 Sure Grip rear is supported by MP super stock springs, longer shocks, a pinion snubber and polyurethane bushings, and Moser axles. Weld Drag Lites supporting narrow Michelins up front and wide BFGoodrich Drag Radials in the back roll it around.
The body features side stripes and wheel moldings and small pieces from Totally Auto in Feasterville, Pennsylvania. Mods include moving the battery into the trunk, a front-disc conversion (and a 4.5-inch bolt pattern at all four corners), Comp Engineering front shocks, and .810 torsion bars. The interior is mostly stock, augmented by a 14-inch Grant wheel and an array of Autometer gauges. Mark Henry of M&H Auto Body in Philadelphia gets credit for the straightened panels and aforementioned paint.
We were impressed enough by the Dart's appearance and numbers at Carlisle that we figured the car would be something Mopar Muscle readers would enjoy, so Dennis quickly agreed to take the car into town for some driving shots. The results shown here and on the cover prove that Dennis is not afraid to take his A-Body out for a Sunday stroll, and we think you'll understand why this one is staying in the family.