Mopar enthusiast and North Georgia Mopar Club member Dan Clark of Stone Mountain, Georgia, has been driving this '66 GT since he acquired it in 1976. While vacationing with his parents in Florida, he came upon the Dart and ended up giving the seller $500 for it. He then filled the tank and drove the car back to his (at the time) hometown in western Pennsylvania. After several round trips from Pennsylvania to Florida, and a lot of other mileage-accumulating endeavors, Dan moved the family, and the Dart, to Georgia in 1988.
Dan knows he is the third owner of the car, based on title records. This one was built in August of 1965, and was the 775th Dart off the assembly line for the 1966 model production run. Dan tells us that he believes it to be a special ordered dealer model, based on its high option count, which includes an automatic transmission, power brakes, power steering, and air conditioning. The original sale price was $3,519. Although the Dart remains completely stock, it has been upgraded with classic Cragar wheels and an eight-track that Dan added years ago. Dan performed a partial resto on the Dart in 1982, and a major one in 2003.
During that last resto process, Dan did virtually all the work himself, proving that he either has all the time in the world on his hands, or he is one of the most efficient time managers around. Either way, he personally did the bodywork required, but admits that he did not paint the car. He would have, but the reason he didn't was because he didn't have a place to spray it. He turned that part of the project over to Rosebud Collision in Loganville, Georgia.
Dan personally replaced the headliner, the door panels, seat covers, and the vinyl top himself, and like any restorer, he spent at least some of his time on eBay, searching for miscellaneous parts to complete the job. Despite the temptation to slip in a newer 360 crate engine, Don, like many traditionalists, decided to stick with what he had. For Mopar folks, the little A-block has a great performance history.
This is a driver, and according to Dan, this Dart has crossed more time zones than Doc Brown's time machine. Dan has motored this car to, and on, a variety of full-fledged racetracks, including Watkins Glen, Charlotte Motor Speedway, and Road Atlanta. He's boogied as far north as Niagara Falls, New York, and as far south as Key West, Florida. He figures the car has actually been driven at least 180,000 miles.
Since this Dart came into the Clark family, it has touched the lives of many people. Dan's daughter laid claim to it when the time comes that her dad doesn't want it anymore. Being a smart gal, though, she decided not to wait, and bought her own '66 Dart. It also turns out one of Dan's best friends and brother-in-law, Bill Shaw, was driven to the church on his wedding day in this very car back in the '70s.
1966 Dodge Dart
Owned by: Dan Clark, Stone Mountain, Georgia
- Engine: Despite the temptation to slip in a newer 360 crate engine, Dan stuck with what he had. He rebuilt the 273 back in 2003. The factory cast-iron intake supports an Edelbrock carburetor, and a dual-point distributor lights the fire. Finally, the factory manifolds send the gas out the back of the car through a stock, replacement exhaust.
- Transmission: A console-mounted shifter works the gears in the 904 box that Dan rebuilt.
- Rear: The small but adequate for this application 7-1/4 rear features 3.23 gears, and is bone stock.
- Suspension: Rebuilt to factory specs with the help of Just Suspensions.
- Brakes: Manual 10-inch drums. Apparently after 180,000 miles, they work just fine.
- Wheels/Tires: Classic 14-inch Cragars with 205/70-14 and 215/70-14 radial tires cushion the bumps.
- Paint/Body: After Dan handled the body work challenges, the bright red shiny stuff was applied by Rosebud Collision in Snellville, Georgia.
- Interior: With the help of Legendary Interiors and Year One, Dan has brought the interior back to as new in regards to appearance.
The early 273 valve covers...
The early 273 valve covers were a classy hint as to what should be expected from this engine. They were offered as standard equipment on all Hi-Po 273 powerplants. They also make a nifty disguise for any A-block Mopar, regardless of actual displacement. Dan maintained the 273's personality when he rebuilt it years ago by keeping its solid lifter valvetrain in place.
The '66 Dart has undeniably smooth lines. These early A-Body cars were tight, rattle free machines that only Mopar lovers were lucky enough to know about. This Dart was painted green from the factory, but the second owner had it repainted red. When Dan did the resto in 2003 he decided to repaint the Dart red again because, well, he likes it.