When I was 16, I started working and saved every paycheck for six months to buy a car. I bought my '69 Dart GT in 1987, and I am the second owner. When my dad and I drove it home, there were no brakes because the linings were gone. it didn't have an exhaust and wasn't very good looking. the trip was 30 miles, and driving home like that was not too smart. The car sat for three months while I scraped enough money together to get it road worthy. when I was finally able to drive it, I used it for my daily transportation to high school. In college, I bought a second beater car, and the Dart was retired from daily duty. That was when I started the slow transformation to its present condition.

This car is a GT model-the last official year for that model. In 1969, the GT package was considered the pre-mium model of the Dart lineup. Most came with a lot of options, and performance was not the main focus. My car came with bucket seats, air conditioning, bumper guards, power steering, and chrome wheelwell moldings. Most of the modified GT Darts I've seen do not have the aluminum trim following the belt line of the car. I decided to leave mine on, and most people comment that it compliments the car-probably due to the color combination of white, black, and chrome. Modifications have been going on for 17 years now, and I drive the car over 1,200 miles a year.

The last few years, I have driven to the Mopar Nationals from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Even though it is a three-hour drive to the Nationals, I race and cruise on Brice Road. In 2002, I spun a rod bearing on my last run and could not drive it home. I had to hook it up to my dad's pickup truck and pull it home.

It was a different story in 2003. I drove it to the Nationals and ran 11.62 on street tires with a full exhaust. I cruised the car on Brice Road for the rest of the weekend and then drove it home without any problems. We cruised home at 60-65 mph, and the car got 12 mpg.

Since there is no rollbar in the car-and there will never be-it's a street car. But I do get to the track from time to time, put the slicks on it, race it, and drive it home at the end of the night. Sometimes I never even open the hood at the track. I always race with a full exhaust and 93-octane pump gas, just as it is driven on the street. The last time at the track, the car ran 11.40s consistently. the last run was 11.35 at 118 mph with a 1.62 60-foot time. The launch is still in need of work, and I've changed a few things to click off some 11.2s or even 11.1s in the near future. Not bad for a street car on pump gas with factory cast-iron heads, no nitrous, and driving to and from the track.

I feel pretty good with the results, considering just about every part of the car was done by me (with assistance and support from my dad), including all engine, transmission, rearend, body, paint, and interior work.

Tech Stuff
340 Block
*bored .020
*414 cubes with 4-inch cast crank
*Diamond-forged pistons
*Eagle H-beam rods
*Hughes HEV5056 solid-lifter cam (250-degrees duration at .050)
*Compression ratio: 10.65:1
*Oil pan: custom-made by owner from a stock pan (deepened and baffled)
*M1 single-plane intake manifold
*Double-pumper carb based on Proform body with 850 baseplate, estimated flow is over 900 cfm

Heads
*Cast-iron J (915) heads (owner ported)
*2.02 Intake valve
*Combustion chambers: polished and cc'd
*Mallory Unilite distributor with MSD Digital 6 unit and Blaster SS coil
*Valve covers: owner-modified MP cast aluminum
*Headers: Hooker adjustable supe comps (171/48-inch to 3-inch collector sli on collector)
*Exhaust: owner-built 3-inch and 211/42-inch stainless steel
*Mufflers: Magnaflow with Dynomax bullets used as resonators

Transmission
*727: owner-built and modified
*Torque converter: PTC 9-inch that stalls at 4,400 rpm

Rear
*Housing: 831/44 narrowed with owner-installed back brace
*Axles: stock Mopar cut to length
*Center section: 489 case with Billet main caps and 4.30 Sure Grip and billet aluminum 7290 yoke

Other Specs
*Wheelwells: rolled, but otherwise stock shape
*Rearend: moved back 1.5-inches to allow front clearance for the 30-inch- tall 315-60R15 BFG drag radials on 10-inch Centerline Convo Pro wheels
*Wheelwell openings: stock
*wheeltubs: sectioned and stretched lengthwise to the inside for tire clearance
*Competition Engineering adjustable drag shocks on all four corners with super stock springs in rear

Interior
*New owner-installed seat covers
*Custom steering wheel with owner-built 4-inch extension to the column
*Hurst Promatic V-Ratchet shifter with T handle modified to fit under the stock consol
*Custom gauges in the consol and dash