If you know anything about Mopar folklore, you know about Norm Kraus. And if you know anything about Norm Kraus, you’ve certainly heard of Dodge’s 440-powered Dart GTS hardtop. During the 60s, in an attempt to appeal to younger buyers, the Kraus brothers began purchasing, tuning and selling high performance cars to exact specifications for anyone who had a little cash to play with. It wasn’t long before Chrysler execs talked the popular young gearheads into opening their legendary Grand Spaulding Dodge franchise. And eventually, creations from “Mr. Norm’s Garage”, like their storied 1968 Dart 440 GSS, would become prototype equipment for factory-produced metal like this pristine 1969 Dart 440 GTS. Yes, this is a real-deal M-code car that wraps a numbers matching 440 V8 and a date-correct A727 Torqueflite in a fresh, factory-correct restoration. And honestly, whether you’re a diehard Mopar collector or just a cool gearhead who wants to fill an empty space in your garage, this blue chip Dart should be your first consideration!
Assembled as a run-of-the-mill 383 car, then transformed into a 440-powered strip streak by the Hurst-Campbell Corporation, this Dodge is one of only 640 M-code Darts produced for the 1969 model year. Most of those big engine warriors were sold to drag racers who needed something tough to whip at the track and, as a result, Chrysler expert Galen Govier estimates that only 30 still exist. For the sake of accuracy and authenticity, here’s a breakdown of this GTS’ VIN and fender tag:
* L: Dodge Dart/Demon
* S: Special
* 23: 2-door hardtop
* M: 440 cubic inch high performance V8
* 9: 1969 model year
* B: Produced at Dodge Main in Hamtramck, Michigan
* 266077 – Sequence number
* E63 -- 383 cubic inch V8 that’s equipped with a 4-barrel carburetor
* D32 -- Heavy duty A727 Torqueflite automatic transmission
* LS23 -- L: Dodge Dart/Demon, S: Special, 23: 2-door hardtop
* M9B – M: 440 cubic inch high performance V8, 9: 1969 model year, B: Produced at Dodge Main in Hamtramck, Michigan
* 266077 – Sequence number
* F8 – Dark Green exterior paint
* P6G – P: Premium grade trim, 6: Vinyl trim, G: Green interior
* F8 – Dark Green door frames
* 114 – Assembled on January, 14th of 1969
* 901080 – Order number
* C16 – Center console with bucket seats
* C55 – Bucket seats
* G15 – Tinted windshield
* M21 – Roof drip rail mouldings
* M25 – Wide sill mouldings
* R11 – Music Master AM radio
* V8W – V8: Transverse stripe, W: White
* Y39 – Special order
* END – End of codes
The beneficiary of a nut and bolt rotisserie restoration that, by the looks of the car, was probably completed sometime late last year, this stunning Dodge coupe has been fully rebuilt from its frame rails all the way to its correct chrome drip rails. Take a good look at our photographer’s highly detailed pictures and you’ll see one slick Mopar that’s obviously logged very few miles since it was thoroughly shaken down. The car’s sculpted Chrysler body has been massaged and finessed until its panels were as straight as anything that sits on a modern showroom floor. And since the experts at Jeff’s Resurrections in Taylor, Texas knew that body would be getting A LOT of serious scrutiny, they went the extra mile to make sure everything lined up correctly. Naturally, two-stage urethane was chosen to accurately reproduce Chrysler’s code F8 Dark Green finish. And on the outside of that two-stage, a correct white bumble bee stripe perfectly frames the car’s razor-sharp quarter panels. If you crave conversation and want to be the center of attention at every car show you attend, this rare muscle car is your kind of ride!
Widely regarded as one of the most successful compact platforms to ever roll out of Detroit, the Dart offered buyers the same excellent combination of performance and style in the 60s as it does today. At the front of the car, a black anodized grille centers two large parking lamps between two larger headlights, a pristine chrome bumper and a red-trimmed “GTS” emblem. Above that grille, a defined hood props familiar “440 FOUR BARREL” power bulges in front of like-new glass that’s cleared by satin finished wipers and framed by well-maintained stainless trim. Below that glass, multi-faceted body panels are detailed with correct wheel lip moldings and straight rocker spears. Between those wheel lips, a traditional Chrysler pentastar emblem combines with new marker lenses to perfectly complement traditional chrome door handles and a stylish driver’s mirror. And at the back of the car, a black and silver valence hangs a small “DODGE GTS” emblem between canted tail lights, a second pristine chrome bumper and traditional stainless exhaust tips.
The power-hungry gearheads at Ma Mopar ensured this Dart will never miss a beat by swapping its traditional 383 cubic inch B block for a 440 cubic inch monster wedge RB. Original to the car, and subsequently branded with a 2536430 casting number, a late 1968 casting date and a correct partial VIN, this fully restored mill makes a dyno-proven 258 horsepower and 298 lb./ft. of torque at the chassis'' spin-happy rear wheels! That side-stepping rampage begins when oxygen filters through an organisol covered and “440 MAGNUM” branded air cleaner to a large Carter carburetor and a correct cast iron intake. At the sides of that intake, stamped steel valve covers cap original 440 heads which bark into fully restored exhaust manifolds. At the front of those valve covers, sparks are sequenced from a reproduction coil to Chrysler Electronic Suppression Wires via a traditional points distributor. And in front of that coil, a heavy duty radiator circulates water through reproduction Chrysler hoses and old school squeeze clamps. Naturally, this Dart’s clean engine bay is a nice combination of form and function with details like a fresh Mopar red cap battery, an authentic Chrysler washer fluid tank, chrome ancillary components and yellow and green carburetor springs all present and accounted for. Everything from the car’s glossy fenders to its straight firewall is coated in an excellent layer of Dark Green pigment. And with one twist of the key, the big V8 makes low profile cruising literally impossible.
Throw this Dodge on a lift and you''ll find a fully restored undercarriage that, in addition to grilling many Fords and Chevys, looks clean enough to grille a rib eye steak on. The rock solid floors, which are covered in an appealing combination of deep gray primer and Dark Green overspray, provide the perfect backdrop for a completely rebuilt suspension. Behind the big motor, a date-correct A727 Torqueflite 3-speed automatic takes care of gear selection while an 8.75 inch rear end puts the power to the pavement. Around that drivetrain, an OEM-style chassis remains in place with torsion bars up front and parallel leafs out back. Cool and confident stops are provided by a full set of manual drum brakes. Exhaust flows down the center of the car to traditional turbo mufflers and bright stainless tips. At the corners of the floor, 14 inch steel wheels spin E70-14 Firestone Wide Oval Super Sport redlines around chrome ‘dog dish’ hub caps. A thorough examination of all this Dodge’s bushings, lines and hoses ensures it has the plenty of road going reliability. And while early Mopars didn''t earn their place in history as canyon carvers, this car’s suspension feels tight and ready to take on any sweeping boulevard.
According to this Dart’s fender tag, that nostalgic green interior is indeed factory-correct equipment. And, while many muscle car fans might prefer a traditional ‘coal chamber’ cockpit, there’s no denying this coupe’s unique presence. The first thing that catches your eye is a trio of rebuilt bucket and bench seats that are firm to the touch and feature tightly-pleated covers. At the bottom of those seats, fade-free carpet enables the car’s dark green theme to flow to a small chrome shifter that’s wrapped in a wood-trimmed console. Above that console, a warp-free dash anchors intricate gauges and an old school Dart Solid State radio in an attractive V-shaped contour. At the sides of that dash, green door panels hang bright chrome hardware between Dark Green frames, bold “GT SPORT” badges and stain-free armrests. The driver spins a simple black steering wheel around a fratzog branded hub pad. And behind the cockpit, a fully restored trunk hauls a correct jack and a plaid-patterned mat below a fresh decklid decal.
The sale of this awesome A-Body includes full Galen Govier documentation, a small drive that’s loaded with digital restoration photos, an official dyno sheet, a vintage picture that shows the car as a decaled dragster, current contact information for Jeff’s Resurrections and two Saddleback Dodge tag frames.
Whether you’re into rare Mopars, sleepers, or just engine bays stuffed with big motors, this ’69 Dart GTS has something to offer nearly every enthusiast. Factor in its super fresh restoration and you’ve got a real winner that’s poised to gain some serious value! If you’re ready to hit the streets in one of the rawest and most brutal muscle cars to ever roll out of Detroit, don’t miss the chance to own this first class Dodge A-body!