The North Carolina town of Randleman would be like most other small boroughs in the Tarheel State were it not for a certain racing family-Lee, Richard, Maurice, and Kyle Petty-who have made the town synonymous with Mopar history. But there is more than just the Petty clan; car people abound throughout this region of the Piedmont, including residents Tom and Linda Rich, who put together the '70 Dart Swinger 340 gracing our pages this month.
Though the A-bomb was pretty solid when they bought it, it was showing some serious abuse from its 31 years of existence-the engine was completely shot; the interior trashed and in pieces; and a lot of the trim and small stuff were either missing or beyond repair. However, for $2,200, Tom ended up with the car, two 340 engines (one rebuildable), and a slew of hard parts. it would take the next three years before he turned it into something he was proud to take out and drive around his neighborhood.
The engine in the car was actually one of the first 340s ever built. The '68 model mill was cast in June 1967 and was a suitable replacement since the numbers-matching version was history. Bill Richardson of Ram Racing Engines in Lynchburg, Virginia, got the call to put the package together. After boring the block out by .060-inch for a true displacement of 348 inches, the balanced stock '68 reciprocating assembly was topped with 10.5:1 compression KB forged pistons.
A set of ported X heads, filled with stainless steel valves actuated by an Isky camshaft outfit, ended up above the bores in unison with an Edelbrock Air Gap intake and a 750-cfm Edelbrock AVS replacement. After the high-test gets sparked by a Mopar chrome box ignition layout, a full tti exhaust system complete with Dynomax mufflers hustles the exhaust note rearward with a throaty rumble.
Behind this was the one visible deviation from stock. Tom decided he really did want more than the three-speed gearbox the factory had installed and swapped in an A833 four-speed; the stock A-Body shifter is used to change gears. A 3.73 Sure Grip unit rebuilt with parts from Yukon is now in the 8 3/4 rearend.
Turning to the interior, new black vinyl upholstery for the two bench seats came from Legendary, while rechroming by Layson's got the dash back in style again. The gauges were all rebuilt at this point. There is an OEM tachometer in the rally dash cluster, and a thumbwheel-type AM/FM radio has been added to the car. Other than that, it's just like 1970 all over again.
A set of super stock springs and KYB shocks went underneath the rearend, with the car's front suspension recreated to stock specs using polyurethane bushings and front disc brakes. as built, this car is very basic, with no power steering and no power brakes. Rallye wheels hosting highway-run BFGoodrich TA Radials are on all four corners now.