It was April 2000 when Robert Steinwachs of Eureka, California, finally realized his dream of restoring and enjoying his own Mopar. His first inkling of wanting to do a Mopar restoration came at the ripe old age of 15 when he broke the news to his parents. It seems a friend of his father's worked at a Chrysler dealership in St. Petersburg, Florida, and Robert wanted to get his hands dirty as well. The answer from dear ol' dad was "How will you pay for it...you know, gas, insurance...and what about money for the restoration?" In one fell swoop of discouragement, Robert went on with his life.
Twenty-two years later Robert has a family of his own and is an accomplished electronics technician. And the smoldering feeling of his childhood is still there to do a restoration.
When a friend told Robert about this '64 Dart GT, fate intervened. The seller was looking to get $800 for the Dart. It was a nice car that needed some work, but solid nonetheless. Although the Slant Six didn't run well, that wasn't a problem. Robert offered the seller $500. When the seller replied, "How about $550?" the deal was made.
Once the Dart reached its new home, Robert pulled off everything that could be unbolted or unscrewed and the parts hunt began. While rummaging through a local wrecking yard, he came across a 360 engine from an '83 Dodge van-just what the doctor ordered. Robert knew he was going to handle the engine assembly chores himself, but the V8 was given to Jerry's Engine Shop in Eureka, California, for massaging. With a .030-inch overbore, the aftermarket pistons helped create a 10:1 compression ratio. A stock cast crank with steel rods were employed, and a Crane cam with .490-inches lift and 214/224-degrees of duration was selected to open and close valves in stock cast heads. Robert topped the engine assembly with a Weiand Stealth intake supporting a Road Demon carb.
With the engine suitably "massaged," it was time to focus on the body. Since the body had little rust, only a few patch panels were required. The lower rear quarters received donated pieces from a junkyard, and sheetmetal pieces removed from a '64 Dart were used on the lower front fenders. The welding and body work were accomplished with the help of friends and Mopar enthusiasts Darrell Zeran and Mike Henderson. Once the body was finished, the crew slid the newly assembled engine between the fenders using mounts from Schumacher's Creative Services.
Behind the little LA, Robert utilized a 727 with a TCI converter to send ponies to a stock 711/44-inch rear from a '72 Duster. Robert employed a complete front assembly from a '73 Duster, which provided disc brakes unavailable in '65. American Racing wheels with Falken tires completed the rolling package.
When it came time to tackle the interior, Harr Motor Trim of Eureka, California, got the nod to wrap everything in white vinyl with blue piping. A medium blue carpet from Auto Custom Carpets covers the floor, and a Kenwood stereo system with Clarion and Jensen speakers fills the cockpit with the appropriate tunes.
Robert's first Mopar restoration hit the proverbial nail on the head. He has built the perfect driver into a beautiful show car that can hold its own anywhere.
What's in store for Robert next? It's hard to say. He spends all his free time driving his Biscayne Blue baby.