It's no secret that many people find the Chrysler A-Body as one of the best platforms to build a hardcore drag racer from. Mopar Racing legends Ronnie Sox and Bob Reed were notorious for their Hemi-powered A-Bodies in the '70s, and all racers warmly received the cars. One look around any local drag strip's paddock area, and it seemed that everyone at the track had an A-Body that spent more time on its back wheels than it did on the front. When Dave Kitterman picked up this '72 Dart, a healthy 383 sat under the hood. It didn't take long before he decided he would take things a step further and shove a massive elephant in there.

Dave found the Dart sitting for sale in someone's front lawn in Bradenton, Florida. "The owner had started a project he couldn't finish. He removed the original Slant-Six, factory air conditioning, power steering, and power drum brakes. A 383 had been installed and disc brakes were added," says Dave. The owner drove it around for two years like that before he parked it. Knowing the car needed its share of work, Dave was still very happy with his purchase. The wiring, engine, carburetor, and brakes all had issues that needed to be addressed. In fact, on his way home with the car, a short in the wiring caused a small fire.

Once he got the car home he enlisted two of his friends-Joe Sadlowski and Rick Staab-to help him get the car into running order. In this case, running order meant they tubbed and caged the car, and corrected all of the previous issues. After this was completed, he turned his attention to the body and paint. Being a painter by trade, this was right up his alley. The Dart was stripped down to bare metal to be sprayed down in B5 Bright Blue Metallic. To his surprise, the car was rust free. "I didn't need to make a single rust repair," he claims. "I finished the paint in 1994, and this is still the same paint job that has held up for 15 years."

Dave ran the car with the 383 for a few years before he decided it was time to go faster. So he found a 426-Hemi block, pieced together an engine and raced it for several years like that. Now the car boasts Strange adjustable aluminum coilovers front and rear with a Top Gun four-link and anti-roll bar. Sitting behind the Hemi is a Turbo Action TorqueFlite with a trans-brake built to handle the punishment it experiences at the track.

"I was hooked on the Hemi and I had to have a bigger one!" he exclaims. Hensley Racing Engines out of Knoxville, Tennessee, custom built the current 540-cube behemoth under the hood. It's filled with Ross forged pistons, BME aluminum rods, and a forged-steel Callies crankshaft. Final compression comes out to 15:1, which definitely means no pump gas is used. The camshaft is a custom-ground solid roller cam from Comp with .785/.760-inch lift and 292-degrees of duration. Hensley Racing ported the aluminum MP cylinder heads, and they feature stainless 2.25-inch intake and 1.94-inch exhaust valves with K-Motion springs and T&D roller rockers. Fuel is fed into the modified Mopar Performance Cross Ram intake through a pair of Holley 770 carburetors. After being converted into energy, the exhaust is sent through 21/4-inch Hooker headers with four-inch collectors.

Inside, the Dart was restored to look original. Gary Johnson at Craftsman Auto Upholstery in Bradenton, Florida, did all the work. He installed a new black carpet from YearOne, along with black bucket seats, and replaced all the cloth and vinyl. The Turbo Action Cheetah shifter is a reverse pattern and provides a racy look to the caged interior. Dave gets his engine's vital information through a handful of AutoMeter gauges and a five-inch Sport Comp II tachometer. The only obvious addition to the interior is a LeCarra steering wheel that adds some flash to the cabin.