A Daily Driver 1968 Dodge Dart GTS

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  1. A56

    A56 MoPar Affliction

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    Elana Scherrwriter
    Feb 10, 2014
    On a recent visit to New York City, we tracked down the owner of a '68 Dodge Dart GTS that has been mystifying automotively minded tourists for decades. It's always parked in the same East Village neighborhood with current tags and an active inspection sticker. Searching "Manhattan GTS" online brings up multiple Flickr.com pages and forum posts devoted to the battered A-body, but nobody seemed to know its story. New York is not the kind of town where a car can sit immobile for any length of time, but who could be so hardcore as to drive a '60s muscle car in the middle of Manhattan?

    The answer is 75-year-old Alex Harsley, who came to NYC as a child and made a place for himself in the New York art world. The Dart has been a part of his journey since 1974, when he purchased it on the street for $500. Over the years, Alex used the Dart to transport art and artists for his 4th St. Gallery. Alex's work required regular trips upstate, and he says he put more than 300 miles on the Dart every week. "All kinds of weather, sand, salt, snow, it kept going. I think it's got maybe, half a million miles on it?" Alex isn't driving quite as much these days, but the Dart still sees daily street use, and he was happy to fire up the 340 and tell us all about it.

    HRM -- What shape was the Dart in when you bought it?



    AH -- It was really in bad shape! That first drive was to find out what was wrong with it, and everything was wrong with it! It took me 10 years tonot restore it, but just to get it to where it would run. People look at it now and ask why I don't paint it, make it pretty, and there's no way. I'm just happy it will get me where I need to go.

    HRM -- What were some of the challenges of working on the car in the city?


    AH -- No garage, I have to do everything on the street. I painted the engine on the curb when I rebuilt it. I pulled it out with a jerry-rigged A-frame. Without it, the car sat all nose high, kinda cool, like a gasser. I'd have to push it across the street for street cleaning, wait, then push it back. I had to do that for five weeks before the engine was done!"

    HRM -- How many parking tickets have you got over the years?

    AH -- Only one. When my grandson died. I was so upset, I forgot to move it. That was a bad week. So one parking ticket. Speeding tickets on the other hand

    HRM -- How rusty is it?


    AH -- The body has a lot of fiberglass in it, but the floors are good. I think all the transmission leaks coated the floor and protected it.

    HRM -- Why have you kept it all these years?

    AH -- It took on a life of its own. The artists like it, the people on the street like it. It has character, and that makes it a valuable possession.

    HRM -- What would you do to the Dart if you had the money and space?

    AH -- I'd like a real custom, like a George Barris build, all chopped and channeled.
    HRM -- Would you ever sell the Dart?

    AH -- Sure! For a good price and to a good home, I'd sell it. Then I wouldn't have to worry about it so much. Someone else could worry about it.

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    • Dave 74 Dart

      Dave 74 Dart FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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      Now that's a very cool story. Thanks for passing it on, enjoyable read !
       
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      • JDMopar

        JDMopar Well-Known Member

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        That is a good story, and I remember reading a similar story in a car magazine about the same car and dude around 20 years ago.
         
      • A56

        A56 MoPar Affliction

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        This was written in 2014, as a follow up I'd like to know how the gentleman fared and who has the car if he doesn't.
         
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