- Rotisserie restoration
- DuPont Viper Red
- Built 440 V8
- JW Performance A727 automatic
- Dana 60 / Sure-Grip
- Manual brakes
- Manual steering
Something about the fourth generation Dodge Dart demands a big engine, drag radials and a straight open road. Maybe it's all those swept lines or just the simple fact that Dodge never put enough motor in them for most of us. Whatever it is, we're into it and Darts like this awesome red '71 model are great reminders of how much fun these cars can be. Featuring a pro built 440, drag-ready suspension and a fully functional interior, this meticulously restored Dart strikes the perfect balance between street and strip. At under $30k, you can have fun blowing the doors off stock HEMI cars and still have leftover money for gas and rear tires. Does hot rodding get much better? Hardly.
Well over 150,000 customers drove home new Dodge Darts in1971. Looking at one, it's easy to see why. From the classic profile to the swept fender openings, it's a strong almost universally appealing design. The beneficiary of a rotisserie restoration, the panels on this '71 are solid and true. Originally a GW3 Bright White car, those panels now wear an expertly applied coat of DuPont's Viper Red. The paint is practically luminescent and free of any notable imperfects. Peek underneath and you'll find that glossy paintwork extends to the floor pans. Panel fitment is far better than what the Windsor, Ontario plant was capable of. Gaps are even all around and doors shut with ease.
There was never much trim on darts and this build stays true to that. Up front, a showroom fresh grille spans the entire width of the car and houses correct headlights and marker lights that function perfectly. Below the grille, a flush chrome bumper features a show winning shine , The hood is a fiberglass Six Pak design manufactured by AAR. Aside from the wheel and tire combination, the large scoop is the only clue fellow drivers will get that something sinister is lurking under that hood. At the sides, correct Dart badges sit high in between the doors and the C-pillars. color matched drip rails sit above new glass that is housed in straight stainless trim. Though bumblebee stripes are always cool, the absence of one on this Dart gives the car a clean look that's sure to draw a crowd anywhere you drive it. Out back, a chrome bumper houses four rectangular taillights while making space for the license plate.
Being a Dart, you might expect a 340 or a 383 under the best conditions. This one goes way beyond expectations with a fully built 440. Up top, a chrome open element air filter hides the no-choke Holley 4-barrel carb that sits atop a Weiand Team G single-plane intake. At the sides, ported and polished 452 heads with 214/181 stainless steel valves rest under chrome valve covers. The block itself is a period-correct 1971 440 block that's been bored .030 and stuffed with high quality parts like Speed Pro 10:1 forged pistons. Clevite rods, and full groove main and cam bearings. At its heart is a Comp XE284H cam that provides a mildly lopey idle. An eight quart Mopar oil pan with a Milidon HV oil pump keeps everything properly lubricated. The 440's awesome rumble exits through a set of under-frame coated headers that connect to a 3” exhaust with chambered mufflers. While not obnoxious, the neighbors will definitely know when you fire up this Dodge. Thanks to the MSD ignition, the setup starts immediately and idles without any poking or prodding. The battery has been relocated to the trunk, lending the bay a clean and tidy look.
The chassis specs leave little question as to what this Dart was engineered to do best. Peak underneath and you'll find a drag strip ready JW Performance A727 Torqueflite built with a reverse manual valve body, 3,400 rpm stall converter and a Mopar SFI flex plate. A 16,000 GVW auxiliary transmission cooler keeps the trans temps in check while a finned aluminum pan adds some style to the undercarriage. A Mancini driveshaft loop keeps the custom driveshaft in place while transferring power to the Sure-Grip equipped Dana 60. A set of Moser axles turn the Weld Pro-Star wheels wrapped in. The suspension has been tweaked with track-friendly modifications such as Competition Engineering 3-way adjustable race shocks up front and staggered leaf springs with Mopar Super Stock rear shocks out back. That. Chassis modifications include welded and bolted subframe connectors as well as a Direct Connection spec K-frame with spool mounts. Steering is a manual affair as is braking which utilizes front discs and rear drums to get the job done.
Peer inside and you'll find a fully functional interior free of roll cages or any other racing-based inconveniences you might expect with a car of this demeanor. The front and rear seats have been recovered in factory style black vinyl and show little to no wear. Those seats sit on fresh black carpet protected by floor mats with the Dart logo embroidered on them. The dash looks straight out of 1971 with the exception of some tastefully blended Auto Meter gauges that read oil pressure, water temperature and voltage. There's also a matching Auto Meter tachometer on the left side of the steering column, right behind the Mopar Tuff Wheel. An original AM radio still resides in its original home if you ever get tired of listening exclusively to the 440 rumble (not likely). Shifting is controlled by the reverse-pattern B&M Prostick shifter sticking up through the floor. While the idea of long hauls in a 440 Dart on drag radials may seem daunting on paper, this is a surprisingly comfortable interior with the capacity to seat four adults comfortably. Even fully built, the Dart's thrifty roots remain intact.
Documentation includes a thorough spec sheet as well as a significant pile or receipts documenting both the build and some of the maintenance performed since.
Most Mopar builds of this quality would easily run you into second mortgage territory. For $30k, this fully sorted Dart delivers on all fronts. If you're looking for a badass cruiser with plenty of bite, don't miss your opportunity to take this one home.
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