In late July 2007, Joe was invited to the historic Cordova Drag Strip, a few miles north of Griffith's shop, for the unveiling of the restored Dart. There were about 30 others in attendance at the track that warm Monday afternoon. Joe was anticipating this more than anyone else, as he had not been allowed to see the Dart before its ceremonial unveiling. A round of applause was heard across the lot as Griffith and Pontnack rolled the cover from the Dart. The car looked as it had in 1968, and the crowd and photographers gathered for the posing of the car in the same spot at the same track where it had been photographed when it was new. It was hard to say who was more proud and excited-Joe, the proud owner, or Larry Griffith and the crew that helped bring this historic race car back to life.
Greg Clause and Bill Shambauch of Joe's Paint & Body in East Moline, Illinois, performed the restoration bodywork and painting. Griffith accomplished all the mechanical restoration and provided the correct Hurst DVFX 468 Competition Plus shifter and reverse lock out for the A833 four-speed slick shift box connected to a Dana 60 with Power Lock and 4.37:1 gears. He refurbished the 13:1 compression, .060-inch overbored Hemi with a magnesium crossram intake manifold, correct 4235 and 4236 770-cfm 4150 Holley carburetors, and a Cam Dynamics .700/.680-inch lift, 320-degree duration cam. He also found a set of original Cragar chrome wheels to match those that were on the Dart in 1968 and mounted M/T DOT tires. He even found the original spark plug wires, and Pontnack found the original deep sump oil pan that they had fabricated. Guess where those parts are now.
Fast Facts'68 Hemi DartJoe HilgerFormerly Owned by Larry Griffith