"Check on this one, Jerry. Might be hot."The e-mail was from Mopar Muscle's editor, Geoff Stunkard. He, in turn, had received an e-mail which resulted from a phone call to the Florida office on January 17, 2002:
Hi guys,This gentleman called yesterday about owning his father's '68 Dodge Dart Hemi Super Stock with only 33 miles. The guy said his father only raced it one time and it has been put up since then. Here is his name and number.
I phoned the caller at his apartment in Las Vegas, Nevada. For now, we'll just call him Bob. His father passed away two years ago and left a Hemi Super Stock Dodge in the family garage.
The quickest quarter-mile machine ever unleashed by any factory, the car in question would have been one of less than 100 Hemi-powered Dodge Darts built by Hurst for Chrysler's Super Stock racing program in 1968. These cars were able to e.t. in the 10s almost immediately, were lightened with fiberglass parts and thin window glass, and featured the cross-ram intake that had last seen the light of day in 1965. The name of the game was win, and win they did, but the years of heavy track use and modifications made few of them "survivors." That said, such a vehicle showing just 33 miles and unaltered since new would be extremely valuable.
Like many 20-somethings, the term "SS Dart" was not in Bob's vocabulary. Born in the mid-'70s when "musclecar" was a synonym for poor gasoline mileage, Bob had no idea of the history his father had parked under a car cover in the family garage. He was no dinosaur hunter. We were. The excitement mounted and automotive gold awaited as the call continued.
"Mom said Dad drag raced it one time and he was actually a little scared of it. That's why he stopped driving it. I guess he tried to sell it one time but couldn't find a buyer. And it just sat in the garage."
Then, one day, Bob's mother decided to remodel said garage into a guest bedroom. They pulled the wraps off the old Dodge. Bob's initial impression was that it was a modified drag racer. He looked through magazines at various vintage Darts and could find no similarities to the high-performance features on his father's vehicle.
"It had this huge, ridiculous-looking scoop on the hood. It had roll bars," Bob explained.
Bob had a truck, "kind of old and not reliable." He knew the Dart had very low miles. "I figured if I got it running, it would probably be a decent car to drive."
So, Bob set about getting the car into good running order after its long storage. Apparently, the vehicle had been parked almost its entire life. Bob attempted to change the oil but found little oil in the crankcase. "We drained everything out, put the new oil in, and it cranked over. But was it loud. I thought there was something wrong with it 'cause the whole car was shaking so violently."
Bob thought the engine "was about to blow up," and the best description he could give was the car sounded like a "dragster."
I tried to imagine firing up a 12.5:1 compression, dual-quad Race Hemi with open headers without expecting the result. How strange that Bob's father had neglected to tell him about the "Super Birds and the Super Bees" as this treasure gathered dust at the family's residence.
Bob told me he knew right away the old Dart wasn't going to make a daily driver. He was suspicious about the car's heritage. "What exactly have I found in my Cracker Jack box?"
Bob called a Dodge dealer in town and talked to the manager of the parts department. Let's call him Jim for now. Jim decoded the VIN and got excited. He wanted to come see the car. Bob said, "Sure." Jim, smelling blood in the water, was out in a flash-like ten minutes, Bob recalls.
A Mopar enthusiast, Jim explained the heritage of Bob's '68 Super Stock Dodge. The components were factory stock. What an estate his father had left the family! So the obvious question was, "How much is it worth?" Jim guessed perhaps as much as $100,000.