It's an automotive legend that most of us know by heart. Amid the height of corporate-sponsored drag racing and in an effort to extend Mopar's already sizeable lead over the competition, Dodge and Plymouth would blitz the NHRA with specialty-built, low-production, Hemi-propelled, econo-bodied rocket ships.
These Hemi Darts were such a limited production that enthusiasts would convert more stripped-down A-Bodies into big-block, tire-melting, street and strip machines. One person with the means and know-how at the head of this trend was Mr. Norm Kraus, proprietor of Grand Spaulding Dodge in Chicago. His auto dealership enjoyed abundant success as a haven for performance-oriented Mopar enthusiasts, offering dealership-modified, 440-powered Darts-the M-Code GSS-after prototyping the 383 GTS a year earlier. In fact, it would be Mr. Norm's performance development team that would inspire many modifications that Chrysler would implement on factory vehicles.
A decade later, in 1977, Norm would sell his interest in Grand Spaulding Dodge, but he was nowhere near the end of his involvement in Mopar racing. Over the next twenty years, he would be inducted into the Mopar Hall of Fame and the A/FX Funny Car Hall of Fame, as well as crowned the King of High Performance, which noted his dealership for selling the majority of Hurst/Campbell-modified Super Stock Hemi Darts in 1968.
Melding the Super Bee logo...
Melding the Super Bee logo with Grand Spaulding Dodge's iconic ram's head emblem makes for this custom bumblebee tail stripe.
Interior accommodations range...
Interior accommodations range across the board. This example is brandishing leather-wrapped seats with Mr. Norm's GSS logo embroidered in matching orange. Since Blue Moon's Motorsports is a full-service shop, if your dreams include competitive racing, they'll be happy to fabricate a full race-prepped cage for your Dart.
The standard Mr. Norm's GSS...
The standard Mr. Norm's GSS Dart comes with a 426 Hemi stroked to 472 cubes erupting out 600 hp and 525 dyno-rated lb-ft of torque. Starting with a MP standard bore block, a billet-steel 4.150-inch stroke crank spins H-beam rods topped with forged slugs. Inside, a custom-ground solid camshaft and lifters command the large valves, putting the aluminum heads to work.
In 2007, Norm Kraus would apply his name to the most daring of high-tier, specialty-made performance machines. Teaming up with vehicle builder Blue Moon Motorsports of Winter Springs, Florida, Mr. Norm is going back to his roots-insane performance-bred Darts.
Blue Moon starts with a straight, original '68 Dart and promptly tears it apart, noting what needs to be replaced and what can be salvaged. Of course, if parts aren't available, Blue Moon has no problem fabricating the needful component. Once dismantled, the Dart's shell is media-blasted, using new water-jet technology. This process means the body is stripped down to bare metal using a solution treated with a potent rust inhibitor. This ensures that while the body is being hosed down at thousands of psi, water won't saturate the sandwiched panels and cause future corrosion.