Young Gun Zach Paynter of Riverside, California fell in love with Mopars at an early age. When he was just nine years old, his father purchased a '67 Barracuda to fix up and drive, so Zach pretty much grew up spending much of his time in the garage, or attending car shows with his dad. As a kid, Zach says the experience was a blast, and he really fell in love with his dad's 'Cuda, but knew that one day he wanted a Mopar of his own. Zack admits feeling a little jealous at times when his dad and friends were talking about cars, and says he sat back and listened, waiting for the day when he could get his first car. Last October, at the age of 16, Zach finally got his chance.

While searching websites for Zach's first Mopar, Zach and his father found an ad for a '67 Dart for sale in their area for $1500. Knowing that the price was right, they immediately called the number and made arrangements to look at the car. Super excited, Zach couldn't wait to look at what could be his first car. Upon arriving to look at the Dart, Zach and his father noticed that although wearing primer, the body was actually in very good shape. The car also had a 318 engine with an Edelbrock Performer intake and carb, and an 8 3/4 rear end. Even though it wouldn't run, Zach and his dad knew the Dart was a good deal and purchased the car on site. It wasn't until they got their car home that they noticed something curious about their find.

Looking at the rear of the car, Zach observed that the taillights didn't look right for a '67 Dart. Thinking at first that someone had simply changed the taillights, Zach looked the car over well, noticing the '68 grille and round marker light openings that were specific to 1968. Looking up the VIN on the Internet, Zach verified that he indeed had a '68 Dart 270, and not a '67 Dart like the advertisement said. Further decoding the VIN, Zach found out his Dart was originally green with a white top, and equipped with a 318 V-8 and a column-shifted automatic. Eager to get his car running, Zach and his dad worked on the engine and got it started, but a leaky intake manifold gasket dumped coolant into the oil and stopped their progress. Rather than taking a chance on simply changing the gasket, they decided to remove the engine and properly build the Dart.

Learning from his dad's experience, Zach knows that building a Mopar project car takes hard work and dedication. His plans for the Dart include painting the car red and installing Weld wheels and disc brakes. Of course the transmission and rear end will be rebuilt, and Zach has already scored another low-mile 318 engine from one of his father's friends for $100. We're glad to hear about Zach's plans for his car, and we congratulate him on his Rare Find. Now when Zach attends car shows with his father, he'll be able to join the conversation with stories about his first car, a '68 Dodge Dart.