Hello My name is Richard and this is the story about a 1973 Dodge Dart Sport I bought in 1974.
The car was like new with only 3000 miles on it.
I added some air shocks and some Cragers along with cool tires and was ready to go.
Oh! Lets not forget a CB radio with a killer whip antenna. Had to have one of those in the 70's!
Karen and I dated for just a short time in 1975 and we never forgot each other. More on this later.
The short and long of it is that I kept this car for many years and drove it daily. Finally after the second engine and no time to work on it or a place inside to work on it I sold it for $100.00 to a kid who drove it home.
I thought he was going to fix it up!
Many years went by and I thought of the old Dart many times. And to be honest I thought of the girl in the picture often also.
I many times wondered what happened to both of them.
Well as time has it the girl in the picture (Karen) looked me up one day and we discovered that neither of us had forgotten the other.
We started talking VIA the web and phone and later visted each other. The relationship grew and I finally decided to move to NC to be with Karen.
Karen and I decided to look into what happened to the old Dart that we had once dated in and while in Maryland we found the home of the kid I had sold it to. His brother answered the door and when I told him who I was and what I wanted he sorta laughed and said that he thought the old Dart was back in the field behind the barn. My heart sunk to think my old friend had been left to rot in some pasture field.
Karen and I soon found what I feared in the fieild with grass trees and briers grown up all aound.
It was sad, the old Dart had been driven to that spot and left to die! We looked it over and decided to find the owner.
Who was once a boy had grown up and had a family and was driving another Mopar that he decided to fix up.
When I ask Johnny if he would sale the Old Dart back to me he qiuckly ask what it was worth to me!
I didn't want to tell him what it really ment to Karen and I so I quickly said I would give him $100.00 for it, the same amount he had paid me 10 years ago.
He said sure and when he gave me the title I was floored. It was my title and had never been transferred!
Now begins the journey to the Restoration of our old friend.
We towed it home from Md. and the next day I decided to check out the engine. First I checked the oil. Full!, Antifreeze? Full!, Transmission fluid? Full!
Well what the heck. Removed the air cleaner sprayed the carb down with WD 40. Knowing that the gas in the tank was junk after 10 years I cut the gas line prior to the fuel pump and ran a line into a gas can. Installed a battery, poured a little gas in the carb and went to the starter. Low and behold the engine turned over fine but no fire. After a quick inspection and finding a missing ballest resistor I knew why.
A quick trip to the auto parts store had the resistor replaced and again I was ready for a try.
When I turned the key the engine made maybe one full turn and roared to a start. It's ALIVE!!! What a blast to hear the ole Dart start up after setting for 10 years out in the open.
Now Karen and I have built a new garage, completly stripped the car and began replacing panels and getting rid of all the rust. Wow what a job but my past experience as a metal finisher and some other restoring helps in this big project.
You can see some of the progress in the pictures.
To sum it up thus far we have completely stripped it, replaced both rocker and quarter panels, three of the floor panels, trunk side filler panels and other patches where needed. The K frame and ball joints have been rebuilt and restored.
We have now flipped the car over using two engine hoist and cleaned the bottom and used bed liner to seal it all up. The inner panels including the rocker panels have also been sealed with bed liner internally.
Next will be the task of inspecting the gas and brake lines to determine the need to clean up and use or replace. We will install these along with the restored gas tank while the car is upside down!
We will also replace the seals in the rear as needed and rebuild the rear brakes.
10/18/2008 Ordered complete brake lines, calipers etc. yesterday. Hope to install next week.
Got word today (10/23/2008) that all brake parts will be here tomorrow. Yaa! Looks like plenty to do this weekend.
Well it's been a while but between work and a short illness I have gotten behind on the restore.
The new gas tank is now installed with all new lines and float.
New brake lines also installed. It is so much easier to do this with the car upside down.
I am now working on the body lines where I seamed the new quarter panels. It has been a pain but have one side almost done. Time consuming but I want it perfect.
Also Ebay has been kind and I now have a Edelbrock Endurashine 600 CFM Carb for the 318. I also got a Performer intake but it was painted. I now have all the paint off and am in the process of polishing it to a briliant shine. Endurashine was not avaiable in the Performer intake so I will polish it and probably spray with some high heat clear to seal it. If anyone has an idea on what to use to spray over it let me know.
I am a little worried about the hood clearance but I think I will be able to use a Edelbrock 1002 air cleaner and I have already cut the air cleaner flange to reduce the height. I don't want to use a large air cleaner because I want the Carb and intake seen.
Oh almost forgot that I also finished the rear axle assembly. All new parts including lines and brakes. All painted and ready to install.
Things are going slow but with working and life it all takes a while.
I will try and get some more pics soon.
Your encouragement is needed! Thanks
Update March 2013:
Both full Quarter Panels to be delivered soon. I wasn't pleased with the work I did on the partial Quarters and in fact I think the body line would have never met my expectations. I hate nothing more than to look down the side of a car and see ripples. Someone talked me into trying the partial Quarters and never again near a body line.
Now to get the garage cleared out, get the car hooked back to my make shift rotisserie, get it flipped back over and get busy!
Cheer me on I need it! Thanks for any encouragement.
Update March 28th 2013:
Both full Quarter Panels arrived last week and wouldn't you know it I've been sick. Dr. put me out of work for a week. What a waste of time.
Anyway WOW what a big box. AMD packs them good and the truck brought them right up to the work dock. Now to find the time to get back to the project!
Update December 17 2017:
Finally got to going again. Borrowed a friends rotisserie and have the Dart right side up, removed back shield, removed right quarter. Now to get everything dressed up and ready for the new quarter. New pics to follow.
Update March 6 2018:
Finished installing the right side full quarter and some patch work. Door hung and adjusted to 3/16" gaps between quarter and fender. A little more to do on that side later.
Removed right side quarter and working on replacing trunk drop off. What a pain!
Picked up an new tank of Mig gas today. Back at it tomorrow!
Let me know how you all like the new and updated pics.
Can't wait until Karen has time to help in the garage. (Part time job)
Update March 10 2018
Got the left side full quarter panel installed. Wow what a job. A lot of repair to do behind the panel before I could even start the fit process of quarter.
Update June 2 2018
Front clip pre-fitted and hood installed. These will be removed again and completely stripped and primed.
Installed B&M floor shifter today and welded 4 bolts to the tunnel so the shifter can be sat down over the bolts and nuts added to keep it in place. Found a nice B&M shifter for $130 on EBay. Doing away with the column shift and linkages will be nice. Less junk in the way of headers and cleaner look.
Update January 4 2019
Took the transmission for rebuild yesterday and the engine goes tomorrow for rebuild. Two more hurdles!