Sometimes your plans don't always go the way you intend. When Frostburg, Maryland's Eddie Spataro decided to build a car, he had the itch to do a '68 Barracuda. It turned out that his search over the Internet brought him to this black Dart GTS with white stripes. His father used to own one nearly identical to it, and he felt it would be pretty cool to build one. The project was quite arduous and he was ready to take on the task himself with the assistance of a few of his good friends.
When the car arrived, it was in very poor shape. Eddie knew that he wanted to build the car to be the absolute best it could be, so cutting corners was out of the question. Ed and his friend Bob Willison completely restored the interior. The seats receive new white covers, and the doors now wear new panels. The dash was refurbished and a Tuff Wheel steering wheel was installed. There's nothing out of the ordinary in this unmolested interior other than the AutoMeter tachometer and water and oil gauges. The bright white seat covers and details are definitely a sharp contrast from the black carpet and trim.
The exterior of the GTS was once proud to wear its stripes, but nearly 40 years of life had taken their toll. Doug Arnold did the lion's share of the body work and paint, and after the panels were smoothed out, an AAR-Fiberglass Hemi Dart/Barracuda hood scoop was added and everything was sprayed down with black PPG Base/Clear paint. Now the mirror finish was fitting for its stripes, completing the tuxedo look.
Suspending the A-Body are KYB gas shocks front and rear with tubular upper arms up front, and Super Stock springs in the rear. The factory front disc and rear drum brakes are still being used and the rear brake pieces were fitted to a Dana 60 rear. Inside are 3.54 gears and a Sure Grip differential with stock axles. This setup does a fair job at taming the power coming from under the hood, all of which is sent to 255-70-15 Defender tires dressed in classic Cragar SS wheels. They measure 15x4 for the fronts and 15x8 out back.
You can't have a Hemi hood without shoving the proper powerplant in the engine bay. To fill the hole, Ed built a 528-inch Hemi. Starting with a Mopar Mega Block, the 4.500-inch bore was filled with 11:1 JE Pistons. Oliver Nitro connecting rods attach the pistons to the 4.15-inch stroke Mopar Performance steel crankshaft. A custom Comp Cams roller stick rotates inside the Herculean block and brutally assaults the large 2.25-inch intake and 1.94-inch exhaust valves. The Mopar Performance cylinder heads benefit from gasket matching, Dick Landy roller rockers, and Comp Cams valve springs. All the air ingested by the hood scoop is fed into a pair of stock 770 Holley carburetors and a Mopar Cross Ram intake manifold. The clean engine bay is enhanced with a pair of custom aluminum valve covers that display the Hemi's displacement.
With all the work that was put into this GTS by Ed and his friends, he was able to get it done right before Carlisle in 2008. Not only were we impressed with Ed's Dart, so was Chrysler as they went on to invite him and his car out to SEMA that same year. They picked up the Dart and trailered it all the way to Nevada from Maryland-talk about recognition.
You want power? Eddie chose...
You want power? Eddie chose a Hemi to fill the dart's underhood opening.
White interior is always a...
White interior is always a pain to keep clean. You wouldn't expect to see seats so blindingly white in any car.
'68 Dodge Dart GTS
Owned by Eddie Spataro, Frostburg, Maryland
- Engine: Ed built the Mopar Mega Block into a 528 inch Hemi. Inside are 11:1 compression 4.500-inch bore JE Pistons, Oliver Nitro connecting rods, and a Mopar Performance 4.15-inch stroke crankshaft. Mopar Performance cylinder heads with Comp Cams springs and Dick Landy roller rockers are bolted on top along with a Cross Ram intake and twin 770 Holley carburetors. A Comp Cams camshaft spins inside and the exhaust is evacuated by means of 2 1/8-inch primary Hooker Headers with 4-inch collectors. This flows into a 3 1/2-inch exhaust with Borla mufflers. The ignition has been converted over to all MSD products including their 6AL controller and distributor.
- Transmission: Again, Ed's skills were put to the test as he built his automatic transmission to support the incredible power from the Hemi. It's shifted with a Hurst Promatic II shifter and features a TCI 4,000rpm stall torque converter.
- Suspension and Brakes: KYB Gas shocks provide a smooth ride to this '68 A-Body. Up front you'll find disc brakes and tubular upper control arms. Out back are 10 1/2-inch drums with Super Stock Springs. The factory Dana 60 houses a sure grip differential with stock axles and 3.54 gears.
- Wheels: Cragar SS wheels are total classics and look right at home on this late '60s muscle car. They measure 15x4 for the front and 15x8 for the rear.
- Paint and Body: Doug Arnold took care of all body repairs before he sprayed it down in black PPG base clear. An AAR Hemi hood scoop was added to draw in cool air and enhance looks. Finally, the factory white stripes were added down the side.
- Interior: Ed and Bob Willison went to work on the interior together. They completely revamped it with all new black carpet, white seat covers, and white door panels. The dash was restored and now supports a handful of accurate AutoMeter gauges. A Tuff steering wheel replaced the factory wheel. The finishing touch is the Hemi badge on the glove box.