As Finland's Tero Ilola shows us this month, rare finds can be found all over the globe. T
Residing in the country where the muscle car originated, we Americans sometimes forget that our affliction with automotive power knows no boundaries. While we may have started the muscle car craze here in America, it certainly caught on quickly in other parts of the world, and Finland is no exception. This month Tero Ilola of that country reminds us that many Fins are avid automotive enthusiasts and drag racers as well, as he shares his rare find, which is a '62 Dodge Dart that just happens to be a part of Finnish racing history.
Landing a deal on this ex-race car started when Tero was visiting a "Forest Finds in Finland" website and saw pictures that someone submitted of a '62 Dart sitting in the trees in the Finnish countryside. Recognizing the car as the Dart raced in the '70s and '80s by driver Pekka "Long Tall" Penttila, Tero knew that the car had been dismantled and turned into a street car in the late '80s, and after being driven for a couple of years the car simply disappeared without a trace.
Tracking down a lead from a "Forest Finds in Finland" website, Tero eventually found the c
Seeing the car on the website, Tero began tracking down leads, eventually finding the location of the car and its current owner. The car had been sitting outside for some two decades, and as rumored the 440 that propelled it during its race career had been replaced with a small-block more suited to street use. Even so, much of the original equipment was there and the documentation proved this to be the car Tero remembered from the dragstrip. Knowing this car was somewhat famous as a race car in his country, and loving the look of the old Dart, he quickly made his purchase.
The Dana 60 had been replaced by an 8¾ rear differential, but chassis modifications
When it was raced, this Dart was powered by a 440 engine and equipped with a pushbutton-operated TorqueFlite transmission. The rear end was replaced with a Dana 60, and the rear wheelwells were modified to fit huge racing slicks. Up front, the brakes were converted to discs for additional stopping power. Raced in the Modified-Standard class, the car was run regularly in Finland, and captured fourth place in the 1980 national championship race.
As suspected, the 440 had been replaced with a small-block for street use. Other documenta
Although the car is a little rusty and worse for wear, and much of the original drivetrain has been replaced, Tero and a member of Pekka Penttila's original team are planning to restore this Dart to its previous glory. The paint job will duplicate the black and white paint that adorned the car in its heyday, and the engine will be replaced with a 440 like it had in the '80s. Once completed, Tero plans to again drive this car on the track as well as on the streets of Finland. We congratulate Tero on his rare find and wish him luck during his restoration of this '62 Dart.
Though a little rough, the interior of the Dart was intact and mostly complete. Tero plans
These old photos show the Dart during the '80s as it was drag raced in the country of Finl
Tero plans to restore the car to the way it was raced during the '80s, and to once again d