When you're a twin, you tend to do things very similarly. Growing up, Ed Faath and his brother Bob were very close. When the time came to start driving, Bob purchased a '68 Charger and naturally, Ed's first choice in cars would be Mopar and he's been hooked ever since. Fast-forward to 2009 and this kinship has materialized multiple projects.
In 2006, a word-of-mouth project was kick started after several discussions with his friend and fabricator, John "Coach" Wallauer. The car in question was a '68 Barracuda that would be turned into a Hemi 'Cuda clone. "That car turned out to be one fun and wicked ride for the street," says Ed. "It was engineered to drive on the street, was street legal, and handled like a go-cart thanks to the RMS Alterkition front suspension." He was so pleased with the way the car turned out that he admits he dreamed of building a car that would actually beat it. His friend John jested that the 'Cuda could use a companion in the garage. This companion could only be a '68 Hemi Dart and he would make sure it was greater than the 'Cuda.
His hunt for a clean Dart body commenced and the first real lead was found through an internet ad. The description was of a low mileage, straight-bodied '68 sitting in a field under a tarp in San Diego. He determined it was the car he needed after finding out it was in exceptional shape save for a few small rust spots on the roof under the vinyl top. Ed, being a cargo pilot, was able to fly out to San Diego to pick it up. Once it was back in Florida, the two men discussed the details of the buildup. "This is when the real fun began," Ed quips.
The interior was restored by Ed along with Kevin and Paul from American Auto Upholstery. T
John has always been methodical about his buildups and as the two began describing the goals of the project, he was taking note and organizing a detailed plan. "Because of his attention-to-details execution, the end result is a car that looks good, always functions well, and is one of a kind in many ways," Ed says
They kicked things off by tearing the car down; every piece of glass, rubber, nut and bolt was removed. During the first day alone, the hum of air tools filled the garage as they worked into the night. After the car was stripped, John took the plasma cutter to clear away the metal needed to back-half the car. It's at points in a project as challenging as this that Ed appreciates the talents of a quality fabricator. "It's often the case that one modification causes a chain reaction in parts that need to be modified or created to make things work. Having a master fabricator right out of the gate will save you time, money, and, as a bonus, leave you slack-jawed with some of the handmade parts that have been created for your car."
The Dart was taken to Rick Perry's shop in St. Cloud, to be painted after John's craftwork was completed. Once there, Bill Haskell started by removing the dents and replacing the roof skin. The roof was truly the only rough spot on the car and Ed wanted it replaced. He found a rust-free roof replacement in a Mopar junkyard in Phoenix. He claims to have seen 40 rust-free Darts just sitting there and was able to find the perfect donor. With the help of an employee, they cut the roof off with a sawzall. Ed loaded it into the tail of a cargo jet and flew it back to Florida the next day. Now that Bill had the part he needed, he filled Ed with confidence by saying it wasn't a big deal to re-skin the roof. Sure enough, he made it look easy.