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.
The car was a stripe-delete build, so this example has no bumblebee graphics around the rear quarters. However, all the brightwork has been redone, including the "Swinger" and "340" emblems that helped make the car a standout back in its prime. The body, which required no sheetmetal replacement, was prepped, and Jenkins Autobody and Restoration in Asheboro, North Carolina, laid on a fresh coat of B5 Blue PPG paint. The black vinyl top was the finishing touch.
For the Rich family, the car's completion has been very satisfying and not just on weekend drives. It has taken home three First place titles at the Charlotte Auto Fair in the '70-'72 musclecar division, as well as honors at several Mopar events including shows at Rockingham and Farmington, North Carolina.
Fast Facts: '70 Dodge Dart Swinger 340
Tom and Linda Rich * Randleman, NC
Engine: Since the car was in pieces when Tom bought it, and the original 340 had long since disappeared, the next best thing was a pilot block that had come with the purchase. The foundry had cast this in June 1967, months before the engine's formal introduction for the '68 model year. Tom fortified it with warmed-up parts: Keith Black Silvo-Lit 10.5:1 slugs, an Isky Mega-cam with .485 lift, ported heads, a full tti exhaust setup, and an Edelbrock Air-Gap intake, and Performer carburetor.
Transmission: The three-speed that came with the car new bit the dust, so now there is a 23-spline A833 four-speed between the engine and driveshaft.
Differential: A 3.73 Sure Grip 8.75 banjo outfit keeps the tires planted.
Horsepower & Performance: Thanks to Bill Richardson's assembly work, the engine dished out 395 horses at 5,700 and 413 lb-ft of torque at 4,200 on the Ram Racing Engines dyno in Lynchburg, Virginia.
Suspension: Strutting its stuff, the Swinger got a set of KYB gas shocks and Super Stock springs; polyurethane bushings were used up front.
Brakes: Stopping the car the old-fashioned way (four drums and no assist) wasn't optimal, so a new front power-disc setup is now behind the rims. Drums remain in the back.
Rubber: BFGoodrich TA radials.
Body: Three years is a long time, but Tom and Linda gathered up the pieces and have made the Swinger a standout. Luckily, though weary, the car did not need any fresh metal.
Paint: After prep, the car was resprayed in the original B5 Blue by Jenkins Autobody and Restoration of Asheboro, North Carolina, who also redid the vinyl top.
Interior: The Mopar hobby's two L's- Legendary Interiors and Layson's Restorations-provided most of the interior fixes, which the car definitely needed. The gauges were rebuilt, and the dash panel itself was rechromed.