With the car's shell primed and smoothed to perfection, it was time to lay down some paint. My friends suggested the more popular High Impact Mopar colors, but I figure if you're going to "build the ultimate Dart" you've got to go with Petty Blue. After spraying the car (and most of my parents' garage) with multiple layers of single-stage Sikkins Urethane, I turned the car over to the professionals at John's Body Shop in Yonkers, New York, for a final coat, wet-sanding, and buffing. Hey Dad, sorry about all the overspray in the garage. Now the old man mows the lawn on a Petty Blue Toro!

With the body looking sweet, we focused our efforts on the nonexistent interior. New seat covers, headliner, and a rug from Year One were ordered and installed. The Rallye dash and console were hooked up along with a salvage-yard dashpad and door panels that I dyed to match. Even the vintage Suntach was a junkyard gem. I knew the stock radio was not going to cut it, so I installed an aftermarket CD player, amp, and speakers. (Sorry purists . . . I just can't listen to AM radio!) But the crowning touch has to be the restored Rim-Blo steering wheel that I glommed from my brother's 'Cuda project when he wasn't looking.

(glommed: (glah'md) v. 1. New York slang. 2. To acquire without permission or formal payment. 3. See "stole")

With the car being all show and no go, a clean 340 block was honed and filled with a forged crank, stock rods, TRW 10.5:1 pistons, and a mild .441-inch lift cam. A rebuilt set of "J" heads, an Edelbrock LD340 intake, and a Carter 625 carb round out this streetable mill. Spent gases enter stock manifolds and exit through stainless exhaust tips in back. The original 727 TorqueFlite was treated to a manual valve body and 3,000-stall converter. An 831/44 rear filled with a Sure Grip and 3.23 gears twist the axles. A set of BFGoodrich Radial T/As on 14-inch Ralley wheels put the power to the pavement.

I'm proud on cruise nights to tell people I only have $1,000 under the hood. And with the car's total budget coming in at just under $9,000, it goes to show that you don't need a fat wallet to make your Mopar dream ride come true.

Danny and I never lost sight of the vision, and more importantly, he never gave up on his personal quest to make my addiction to Mopar as strong as his. Thanks for all your help, Dan. After three years of hard work, it's a great feeling to jump in the car, stomp the pedal, and tear up the streets of Wappingers Falls, New York. Let me add that future plans do not call for trailers and trophies . . . I drive it every day!