FAST FACTS: '68 Dodge Dart GTS
Fred Cook . Memphis, TN
The short-block is what the factory, in 1968, dropped in-a LA 340. Master-wrench John Krag from Krag Magnetos in Memphis, Tennessee, put the sizzling small-block together after boring the stock iron out .030 inches and decking the mating surfaces. Fred had the compression pushed up to 11.1:1 with TRW pistons on factory connecting rods. Crane supplied the .467/.494 camshaft and High-Intensity lifters. The original heads were exchanged for a pair of factory performance Mopar X-heads straight off a factory AAR 'Cuda or T/A Challenger. They were promptly milled, ported, and polished, receiving a competition three-way valve job and flow benched. TRW lightweight valves fill the seats mated to Crane springs and Dove aluminum rockers. Fred utilized an equally nostalgic Edelbrock-forged six-barrel intake manifold with the matching trio of Holley carburetors.
Transmission: Fred knows the score when it comes to manual transmissions. The Chrysler-built A-833 manual box is nearly grenade-proof, having served as the standard in manual-trans drag racing for years since its inception in 1965. Fred had the gearbox looked over and fitted with a long-neck Hurst shifter. a new clutch and pressure plate were installed during the restoration.
Rearend: The little A-Body, making as much torque as it does, needed the right combination to keep its back tires planted. A Chrysler 8 3/4 housing hangs out back with stout 4.10 gears and a hard-as-a-rock Sure Grip differential.
Horsepower & Performance: Fred's not divulging all his secrets, but we can guesstimate a number close to or over 400 ponies.
Fred was aiming his sights at a "homespun restoration," so not much was messed with. Fred replaced the old rubber with new polygraphite bushings and KYB shocks, providing the Dart with a stiff but firm ride even through the turns. New leafs were hung in the back. This nimble A-Body can launch just as well as it can carve the corners.
Brakes: Since the Dart was light enough, Fred decided the factory four-wheel power drums worked just fine. with the aftermarket providing almost everything imaginable, freshening up a set of drums has never been so easy.
Wheels: Sleeper is the word here. Fred kept the stock steel 14-inch rims and painted them the same dark green as the rest of the car.
Rubber: Just like the wheels, Fred kept things close to the factory. Redline 195/70/14s up front and 225/70/14s in back are all he needs.
An all-in-house restoration was the aim here. Fred stripped everything off that wasn't welded down, doing a good percentage of the bodywork himself-hand blocking, sanding, and sanding some more. The rest was handled by a professional. What trim and badges weren't salvageable were replaced with genuine OEM parts.
Paint: The artisan was none other than Tennessee native, Ron Foster. Ron's touch at restoring the GG1 Dark Green Dart is golden. A dark green vinyl top and all the trim was installed shortly thereafter.
Interior: Fred did the cabin himself since he spends his daylight hours installing carpet. Auto Custom Carpet provided the interior rug, and Legendary supplied all the vinyl for the seats, front and back. The faux woodgrain wheel was saved, and Fred gave a small salute to the Dart's Hemi-powered big brother by screwing in a radio block-off plate since, "There's no better sound than the sound of your own engine."