Well it all started a couple of years ago. I had completed the restoration of my 1970 Plymouth Roadrunner and wanted to make it available for someone else to enjoy. I had completed it in April 2006 and was ready for a new challenge. I put the Roadrunner up for sale for some time but no one wanted to give me the money that I wanted for the car. There was plenty of interest but the market was just not that strong in the San Antonio area. I had a friend, Ronnie Rohde, that was very interested in the car but his money was tied up in other cars in his stable.
Well in June 2015 I went to visit my daughter, Joy, in Iowa. I had competed the restoration of a 1968 Dodge Dart GTS 360 4-speed for her several years earlier. After driving her beautiful Dart for four days, I fell in love with it again. On the way back from Iowa, I told my wife, Emma, that I was going to call Ronnie Rohde to make him a one-time offer for my ’70 Roadrunner. Ronnie had a beautiful Limelight 383 automatic ’70 Roadrunner and a ’67 Dodge Dart roller that we had picked up recently in the Dallas area. Ronnie had bought a ton of upgrades for the Dart that still needed to be installed along with building an engine for the Dart. So I called Ronnie on the road back and we spoke about the trade and he surprised me by agreeing to a straight across trade for the Limelight Roadrunner and the Dart along with all his new parts.
I was like a young kid at Christmas when I got the Dart home along with all the goodies that came along with it. The first thing I did was to put the Limelight Roadrunner up for sale quickly selling to a gentleman from Corpus Christi. This gave me additional finances to build the Dart the way I really wanted to do it. Included in the trade was a brand new Reilly Motorsports AlterKation Street/Handling assembly which sets up the front-end with coil-over springs and Viking double-adjustable shocks totally eliminating the torsion bar suspension allowing for large tube headers. A heavy-duty sway bar complements the front end package for improved handling. The improved upper control arm design also allows for tremendously improved caster adjustment for significantly enhanced steering control. Six degrees of caster was dialed in making the car go straight as an arrow which will improve the high-speed handling down the drag strip. Rack and pinion steering also freed up significant room for the big block going into the small A-body.
The rear suspension is also state of the art with a Reilly Motorsport Street Lynx triangulated four-link with Viking adjustable shocks. It is all connected to a Ford 9-inch with 4.10 gears with sure-grip. The reason for using a Ford housing is that I wanted to have a complete 3-inch TTI exhaust system on the car with polished tips exiting at the rear bumper. An 8.75 Mopar rear-end would not have survived with sticky slicks behind the big block. A Dana 60 would not allow tailpipes to exit the back of the car and I did not want side pipes.
Sitting on all four corners is a set of Wilwood disc brakes. As you all know, the car was originally built with 4-wheel manual drum brakes and that was totally unacceptable behind the big block. If you’re going to go fast, you need to be able to stop fast.
As mentioned earlier, the exhaust system is a complete TTI Exhaust 3” aluminized system with polished ceramic-coated 2” to 2 1/8” step headers, an h-pipe (due to Gear Vendors Overdrive) and polished tips at the bumper. I really wanted to install an x-pipe but I was unable to clear the GVOD.
The engine is a b-block 400 bored and stroked to 500 cubes. It is running forged aluminum Diamond Racing pistons with 11.2 compression ratio. The Molnar rotating assembly is all balanced with forged H-beam connecting rods and ARP hardware. The bottom end of the engine is reinforced with a ½” custom stud girdle tying the block and main caps together along with reducing windage from the crankshaft. However with the stud girdle, clearance problems arise so an external oil pickup system from Milodon is used to provide oil to the engine. Sitting atop the engine is a complete Indy 440-1 CNC 325 system with 2.19” intake valves and 1.81” exhaust valves. The intake ports are Max Wedge size flowing 359 CFM for big horsepower. Using the 440-1 heads requires some specialized hardware like offset rocker arms and lifters. The camshaft is a custom grind spec’d out by Dwayne Porter at Porter Racing Heads providing 260 degrees at .050 intake and 266 degrees at .050 exhaust with .628 intake /.633exhaust lift capable of producing 750+ horsepower.
The fuel/spark system is also trick. It is a Holley Dominator multi-port fuel injection system with a 1385CFM throttle body sitting atop the Indy single plane intake manifold. The eight injectors have been upgraded to 48 lb/hr units to ensure adequate fuel is provided should ever a power-adder is used on the Dart since the Holley Dominator system has the ability to handle four stages of nitrous oxide, a supercharger, or a turbocharger. Who knows, it may happen…you know you are never satisfied with the power you are making.
The transmission is a custom-built Cope Racing Super Pro 727 Torqueflite unit with a manual reverse pattern transbrake valve body capable of handling up to 1000hp. It is backed up by a Gear Vendors Overdrive unit providing .78 to 1 final ratio meaning that my 4.11 ratio will actually be 3.20 which will be great for cruising.
I would like to once again thank Ronnie Rohde for making the trade so that I could complete this creation. I am looking forward to completing the tuning of the EFI system, being able to cruise it on the street and also to take it down the drag strip. So far 10.48 seconds at 128 mph is the best pass made. Mopar or No Car.