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.
Rick Perry finished the rest of the body work and gave the A-Body a bath in Lamp Black paint outside and sprayed the inside in Viper Red with a pearl additive. The Dart was sanded and polished before returning to John's for final assembly. A 528-cubic inch Mopar Mega Block Hemi built by Speed-O-Motive in West Covina, California, was installed. It's backed by a JW Performance-built 727 transmission with a JW Performance 9-inch 2500-stall converter. The monster Hemi breathes through a 3-inch exhaust that features tti 2 1/4-inch primary headers with a 4-inch collector and Flowmaster mufflers.
Under the fiberglass hood rests a Speed-O-Motive-built 528 Hemi based around a Mopar Mega
When the combination came together it was finished ahead of schedule. "It's hard to believe, but the entire build was finished in about 12 months," Ed says. He is impressed at how streetable the Dart is, despite its aggressive nature. Because of its mild street manors, Ed has the Dart out as much as possible. He takes it around to local cruises, car shows, and plans to take it to Orlando Speed World in the future. "I'm happy to report that this car won't be seeing a lot of garage time." Above all, the Dart has made an excellent companion for his 'Cuda.
'68 Dodge Dart
Owned by: Ed Faath Orlando, FL
Engine: The project called for a Hemi Dart clone so there was only one engine option in mind. Speed-O-Motive out of West Covina, California, built the engine. Starting with a Mopar Mega Block, bore was increased to 4.5-inches and the stroke was set to 4.15-inches. Forged Ross pistons, Speed-O-Motive H-beam rods and 4.15 8-bolt crankshaft make up the rotating assembly. A pair of Stage V ported aluminum cylinder heads sit on top while a 254/258 .750-inch lift Crower solid roller camshaft spins inside. The rest of the valvetrain includes Stage V roller rockers, Com Cams springs, and Manley Gen II valves. Air and fuel are delivered from custom dual Holley 770cfm carburetors from Performance Carburetors into a Tim Hogan sheet metal intake.
The trunk houses the fuel cell and battery. It was also painted in Viper Red and creates a
Exhaust: TTI headers 2¼-inch primary headers with 4-inch collectors flow into 3-inch pipes with Flowmaster mufflers.
Transmission: A JW performance-built 727 transmission with a 9-inch 2500 stall converter, shift kit, and a Precision Performance shifter.
Rearend: A Moser 9-inch with a Detroit locker, 35-spline axles, and 4.57 gears receives all the punishment of the monster Hemi.
Suspension: Custom coilover shocks and springs suspend the front and rear suspension. The rear was converted to a Chassis Engineering 4-link by John Wallauer.
Brakes: Wilwood front and rear drag brakes.
Wheels & Tires: Holeshot stars with red centers. Up front, 15x5-inches with 26x7.5-inch Mickey Thompson front runners. Out back, 15x16-inches with 33x19.5-inch Mickey Sportsmans.
Talk about steamrollers, these custom red center Holeshot wheels measure 15x16 and wear 33
Body: The roof came from a donor car located in a junkyard in Phoenix. Aside from that, it's entirely original. Fabricating for the four-link rear was performed by John and the roof was replaced by Bill Haskell. A fiberglass hood and hood scoop was installed to add to appearance and increase the breathing of the large motor.
Paint: Final body work and paint was done by Rick Perry. For the outside, Lamp Black urethane basecoat-clearcoat was chosen and 2006 Viper Red with pearl was applied inside.
Interior: Ed was able to keep the original interior parts but had to recover the seats and install new carpeting. The detail work was all done by Kevin and Paul at American Auto Upholstery in Orlando, Florida.