Something about the fourth generation Dodge Dart demands a big engine, a set of Weld wheels, 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 green ’73 model are great reminders of how much fun these cars can be. Featuring a built 408ci V8, an upgraded automatic, and plenty of original interior pieces, 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.
Benefiting from a recent frame up restoration, this Dodge Dart still retains all of its original sheetmetal. The car''s solid panels were straightened and sanded until everything lined up just right and the doors, trunk and hood closed with factory precision. Defect free, the completely smooth canvas was then covered in original Chrysler code GF3 Light Green Metallic and buffed to a brilliant shine. Instead of re-installing the original black body moldings on the car''s panels, the owner opted to paint a much more appealing gloss white Swinger stripe around the decklid. It’s an excellent look with the metallic green serving to highlight the cars vintage personality and the white Swinger stripe hinting at hotter mechanicals.
Step in for a closer look and you’ll find plenty of Dodge detail work that separates this Dart from its daily-driven siblings. The fascia is a familiar one with a full-width grille and mirror-like chrome bumper. Things start to differ a bit at the hood where a Duster scoop inhales clean air, branded by “360” emblems on either side. On the sides of the pillarless hardtop, color-matched drip rails sit above new glass housed in straight stainless trim. Square marker lights at the front and rear of the car line up perfectly with front fender-mounted “Swinger” emblems while swept fender openings feature new stainless trim. At the back of the car, ridged fenders flow into another broad, show worthy chrome bumper which houses four silver trimmed tail lights while a right-justified “Dart” emblem caps off the view. Despite a few modifications, the car has a distinctly OEM presence sure to win over any Mopar fan lucky enough to see it in person.
Lift that scooped hood to find what appears to be one of Mopar Performance’s 360ci/380hp crate engines. While it did start out that way, this 360 has been completely disassembled and enlarged to 408ci, creating enough fire power to turn this Dart into a missile. On top of the motor, a Holley 750 double pumper grabs air through a chrome air filter with a reusable filter element and sucks fuel from stainless fuel lines that are complete with a Summit fuel pressure gauge. That air-fuel mixture goes through a Mopar M1 single plane intake into Magnum R/T high flow aluminum heads that have been street ported, street polished and rebuilt with Manley stainless valves. The fuel is sparked by an MSD Blaster coil and Chrysler Electronic ignition system that sends fire through Accel racing wires. Sportsman Racing Products pistons, rings and connecting rods combine with an Eagle crank and Clevite bearings to provide an 11.8:1 compression ratio. Exhaust gases then exit through coated TTI long tube headers into a three-inch exhaust system. The engine bay has been coated in body matching code GF3 Light Green Metallic and carries the same gloss as the exterior body panels. Finned Mopar valve covers are painted black and contrast nicely to the orange engine block. Up front, a factory radiator, which easily keeps the small block cool, sits in front of fresh belts, fresh hoses and a chrome engine strut rod. Note that there is no power steering, no air conditioning, and no other extraneous hardware that adds complexity and weight; this car was built to go!
Under the car, a 904 3-speed automatic features a Coan Racing 3800 stall converter, a full reverse manual valve body, and an auxiliary cooler mounted in front of the radiator. That tough transmission twists a custom driveshaft connected to an 8 ¾ limited slip rear end that houses Moser axles and Richmond Sure Grip 3.91 gears. Holding this awesome driveline into place is a factory torsion bar front suspension and a factory rear suspension with Mopar Super Stock leaf springs and adjustable air shocks. At the corners, manual disc front brakes with new-for-1973 single-piston calipers and manual drum rear brakes do a very good job of stopping the car, while manual steering offers a vintage feel. The three-inch exhaust is a true dual system with an H-pipe, Dynomax mufflers, and stainless tips that are mounted just below the rear bumper. Cosmetically, everything looks solid and free of rust. The floor pans are freshly undercoated over clean sheet metal and sub frame connectors tie the chassis together. A full set of Weld Pro Star wheels wearing 215/60 front and 235/60 rear BF Goodrich radials give the car a race-friendly attitude and provide plenty of traction as long as you’re easy on the right pedal.
The restored to original Chrysler code D2F6 green vinyl bench interior is in great shape and shows little to no wear. At ground zero, like new green carpeting covers the solid floors below, anchored by clean door sill plates and custom floor mats embroidered with the Swinger logo. The car offers room for four thanks to a pair of bench seats wrapped in subtle two-tone vinyl. Slide into the driver position to admire the original dash complete with its original gauges and wood grain applique. Sure, there''s an Auto Meter Sport Comp tachometer on the column and a matching trio of Autometer gauges under the dash, but those are the only signs of progress from the driver''s seat. To the right of the gauges, an old school Sparkomatic deck sends sound to a pair of Panasonic 6x9''s in the package tray while heater/defroster controls and a factory electric clock fill out the rest of the space. The dark green door panels are in excellent shape and feature only chrome door handles and chrome window cranks for ornamentation. The original steering wheel and original column are color matched to the dash and feature a chrome shifter for the 904 transmission below. Up top, the black headliner is tight and includes optional shoulder belts that connect to standard lap belts. The factory correct theme carries to the trunk where a new mat, jack, and decals round out the space.
Documentation for this car includes the original owner’s manual and 13 trophies from local shows.
Whether you’re fan of the compact A-bodies or just like cool and different cars, this 12-second Dart is sure to put a smile on your face. Built with a fervor usually reserved for rare-air Mopars, the car offers impressive craftsmanship, a stout driveline, and period-correct look that would look right at home on any drag strip. Could you build one like it? Maybe – but not for anywhere near the asking price. Save yourself the hassle and bring home this killer ’73 Dart Swinger today!