"It started out as a beige 318 Swinger grocery getter," says Bill Edgerton of Martinsville, Indiana, referring to his blown '72 Dart hot rod. "A little old lady owned it. I wanted a Demon at the time, but I had a friend who was building a Pro Street car, so that's what I decided to do with this one."
It took nine months to get the car rolling. But, since Bill got it rolling, it hasn't stopped. He and his family drive the car as much as they can. "It's very streetable," Bill says. "It can drive 60 mph all day. We drove it 400 miles to a show once with no problems, and it gets around eight or nine miles per gallon."
However, Bill didn't realize how unusual it was to street drive such a radical ride until he started talking to other owners. "At the My Classic Car show, one guy asked me how I could drive the car," Bill says. "He said, 'I'd get a ticket driving it around where I'm from.' But I just try to use common sense."
At the same show, Bill's Dart took First Place in the Chrysler Modified Street Machine category, cementing its place as a first-rate cruiser.
While it may be domesticated now, this blown Dart has a wild side, and when it does make track passes, it can score times in the 10-second range and go as fast as 132 mph. "It will almost pull the wheels," Bill says. "[Racing it] flexes the body and puts too much stress on it. I don't want to risk that kind of damage. It's built like a drag car, but we show it more than race it."
The base for the Dart's powerplant is a .030-over '70 Dodge 340 block. The heads come from Indy Cylinder Heads. Resting on top of a 6-71 BDS blower protruding from the hood are 600-cfm Holley blower carbs. "We had to make a new distributor because [the blower] was too tall." Bill says. "Then we had to add a Chevy thermostat plate. When you make one change, you have to change everything."
Outside of the colossal blower, nothing attracts attention to this Dart as much as the funky exterior. PPG Emerald Green with a Pearl coating is the primary color, and it is accented by swooping stripes of red and white. The paintwork was done by Kenny Menzel. Over the years, Bill has come to like it in spite of himself. "Burgundy and green are my wife's choice of colors," he says. "I didn't want to put those colors on it at the time [of painting]. But, after it was finished, I liked it."
The idea for the design is a take-off on the famous Pat Musi Camaro, which Bill saw up close at a car show. Adding to the Dart's unique look is the one-of-a-kind artwork on the rear quarter-panel. The picture is of a tribal hunter shooting a poisonous dart through a blowgun. It adds dual meaning to the blown dart theme and gives the car a signature that cannot be duplicated. "At the Street Machine Nationals, where I had it done, a guy came up and asked if he could get his Dart painted like that," Bill says. "But the artist wouldn't do it. He said he would only do it once."
The rear spoiler also stands out on the car's body. Bill ordered many of his parts from Automotion, and the folks there recommended Ed McQuery for the spoiler build. "All I had to do was call him and tell him what car I had and the year," Bill says. "He had a template ready and ran with it. We thought about painting it red, but I didn't want it to be the first thing people see. I want them to say, 'What a great car, and look at that [spoiler],' not vice versa. It's small, but you can tell the difference [driving] with it on there. It's not just for looks."
Above all else, Bill's Dart is a driver-a street car. To get it to that condition required some extensive suspension work. First, Bill and his experienced friend, Mitt Padgett, tubbed the rear wheelwells. The torsion bars were taken out, and the K-member was removed and replaced with a crossmember from Richmond Performance in Richmond, Indiana. Bill needed the rear raised to accommodate the exhaust system and Borla mufflers and keep them off the pavement. Rod & Custom Motorsports supplied the Mustang II frontend, and coilovers are utilized in both the front and rear. The Dart has a rack-and-pinion steering system, and the axles are from Moser.
When finding pieces for the Dart, Bill wasn't picky about the manufacturers. He went with the part that would make the Dodge the most streetable, regardless of who produced it. The front end is from a Mustang, the differential is a Ford, the transmission is a Chevrolet, the body and engine are from Dodge, MSD supplied the ignition, and the seats are Hondas.
"The Chevy trans is different," Bill says of the 400 Turbo unit built by Tom Vetter of Spencer, Indiana. "With the seats, I went with the [Hondas] because the import seats are solid. I'm a big boy, and I needed something that wouldn't get bent out of shape."
Now, Bill says the Dart is almost done, and one piece will finish it off. "I want to put the BDS fuel injection on it," he says. "That thing is [computer] controlled, and I am into that. It'll let me lower [the blower] a little, too. After that, it will be done, except for driving it and enjoying it."