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Just Having Fun
Ok here is where the story gets cool. Like I said I sold the car to a friend of a friend. While he owned it I installed a set of 3:91 gears for him and performed routine maintenance on the car. He owned it and beat the crap out of it for a couple of years and then sold it. After he sold it the car seemed to fall off the face of the earth. I never saw it again anywhere. not at the track ,shows or just driving around. I kinda always wondered what happened to it. Then out of the blue in April 04 a good long time friend ( Dan Mangold) e-mails me and says he thinks he found my old Dart. So I get directions and goto the house and sure enough its my old Dart and it was only like 5 miles away all this time. And does it look bad. Here is where it was sitting and what it looked like.
So I go back a few times before I catch anyone home. I talk to the sister of the owner and find out that his mother has been hounding him to get rid of the car. I explained that it used to be my car and I leave my phone number and leave thinking I may have a chance of getting my car back. A few weeks go by and I hear nothing. By now in my mind I already have the car back and I picture what I'm going to do with the car in my head. I had also told Tyler (my son) that I found the car and he is all excited to go see if we can get it back so I decide to go back to the house and I get the sister again . She says she told her brother who was just graduating college and her mother and that they have my number. this time I had brought Tyler and a few pictures of when I owned the car before just to show them I wasn't giving them a story. Before I leave I ask if I could look under the hood. Thinking it was still the 340 I put in years before I got a little surprise. I see Eddy heads , Performer RPM intake and a MSD ignition system. I was like WOW ! I may have just stumbled on to something...
Another week or so goes by and I finally hear from Sam (the owner). I talked to him for an hour or so about the car. I find out he bought it to drive to high school but blew the motor after having it for a couple weeks. He tells me that there is a 360 crate motor in it and sounds great. and that a local speed shop put the motor in. So we decide on a price as long as I can hear it run. The next day I drive to the house with my battery charger and some tools and gas. Now the battery is so dead that my charger/starter won't even get it to crank. Not wanting to leave without hearing it run I call a friend Dave who lives a few miles down the road and ask him if I could borrow a battery. Dave brings the battery up and we stick it in crank it over get gas in the carb and this thing fires and sounds outrageous. Dave and I looked at each other like holy crap. So needless to say I borrowed the money from my very understanding girlfriend Jamie and left a deposit .Then made arrangements to pick the car up and pay it in full on June 7 2004 which happened to be my 35th birthday...(happy birthday to me).
So after talking to Sam a little more he tells me that he really doesn't know much about cars. His father was putting the car together for him until he passed away .His father was Steve Collison a writer for a number of different magazines over the years. So while he was putting this motor together he was also writing about five articles on the build up. Sam asks me if I ever heard of Ray Barton .Well being a long time Mopar guy I definitely knew who he was. He says well Barton's shop put the motor together . So I hooked the car up to the truck and towed it home the whole time thinking did Barton really build this? what is in this motor?
I get the car home with no problems and figure I may as well start cleaning the thing up. So after scrubbing the rest of the night and most of the following day it started to look like its old self. A little rust over the rear wheels but nothing too bad.
After cleaning it up I had to fix a few things before I could try and drive it. I ordered a new alternator bracket and spacers from Bouchillon Performance so the belt would stay where it is supposed to be. I had the proper pulleys laying around so that was no big deal. It had this crappy B&M floor shifter in it that I really didn't like so I went to the yard and got all the column shift linkage so I could trash that floor shifter. There was no kick down linkage on the car so I ordered the throttle and kick down cable kit from Lokar . So now with a new battery and belts that won't fly off and the throttle and kick down cables all on and adjusted it was time to take it out for a spin around the block. Man does this thing run. you can defiantly feel the converter .Of course I had to break something in the process. It wasn't that bad thank god . I just blew the tranny pump seal. luckily I had a fresh trans laying around that good friend Tom Cangelosi had built a couple months before for another project I have. so it was a just a quick swap. While the trans was out I did find it had an ATI Street Master converter in it which is cool. Over the next few weeks I kept straightening out little things I didn't like and just driving it here and there. I took it to a few local cruise nights. The first show I got to take it to was the Berlin Chrysler show which my friend Dave runs. I didn't win anything but it was cool to get the car out and seen. In Sept I took it to the Mopar Car-B-Que which was a really good time Of course I had to get involved in the burnouts at both places... And in October I went to the show at Hammonton Ford.
I finally just had to know what it would run at the track so I took it to the fall modifiers get together at Atco Raceway. I had no idea what it would run. I knew it felt and sounded strong but on a set of crappy bias ply street tires who knows how it was going to go down the track. The main thing I wanted is for it to go straight and not break. The track was packed and I wasn't sure if I would get many passes. The first run it went a 14.6 @ 102.5 mph. I was pretty happy with that because the car went straight and pulled hard all the way down the track once I got it to hook. It actually spun the tires through all three gears and I had to get out of it a bit to get it to hook. It ended up being about two hours before I got another run. and to top that off it was going to be a run that counted. only one time run... now that sucks. So not knowing what to dial in at I just stuck 14.50 on the window and baby it off the line and the car ended up going a 13.2 @106.1 mph and the guy next to me red lighted so I make it to the second round... In the second round I dialed in at 13.26 and heated the tires a little more since it still spun in the first round. the car went 13.13 @ 106.4 mph and the car next to me broke out more then I did... go figure. so here I am in the third round. all I want to do by now is go home its been a long day. so I get to the line heat the tires and launch but the car spins the tires more then the earlier run and slows down to a 13.34 @ 106.0 mph on a 13.13 dial... Guess what . the car next to me breaks out and I find myself in the fourth round... man am I tired now. I keep the 13.13 on the window heat the tires really good this time and bring it up on the converter a little more then the earlier runs and the car runs a 12.81 @ 106.9 mph and breaks out and I get eliminated and I get to go home..... all in all it was a great day. the car went into the 12's without even trying and I was able to drive it home.. so I was happy. I guess I'll have to do some tuning and put a set of slicks on it and see what it will really do. here are a few pics and a video from the track. don't mind my girlfriends foul mouth .lol..
Click picture below for video
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