Paul & Leona
Anyone who knows me knows that I had been searching for years for another 69 Dart. In 1999, Leona and I put out the word that we were seriously looking for a 69 Dart project car and in December 2000, a fellow club member, Fred Jaramillo, saw this car in Bosque Farms and called us.
We bought the car from a Chevy guy who unfortunately had done some strange things to it including some hack jobs on the dash (which would come back to haunt me) but the car was a very good example of a daily driver/project car. It had very unoriginal Swinger emblems drilled into the quarters and a painted stripe and painted white top. Right away, we started gathering parts from junk yards and fellow Mopar lovers and ordering things as we could to make the car more comfy and better on the eyes. When we bought it, the Dart had a 273 2bbl, automatic with a 7 ¼ rear-end and although it had 216,000 miles on it, it was still getting 17 mpg while cruising around town and 21 mpg on the road so I drove it to work everyday.
In December 2001, I put a 360 4 bbl in it that I had gotten out of a 73 Scamp (believe it or not) and we just couldn't seem to get the bugs worked out so in July 2002, I put a 318 4 bbl in it that I picked up from Chris Johnson and it seemed to be doing fine. However, all along we were having electrical problems with the car and so eventually, the car sat until we could yet again come up with the funds to get it fixed, meaning purchasing brand new wiring harnesses for the entire car.
Eventually, I picked up an original 69 340 and trans for a great price and after replacing the 7 ¼ with an 8 ¾, and the flat hood with a bulge hood, I was finally able to send it down to the paint shop for body work and paint. They had to replace one of the fenders which I thankfully had and they also painted all the interior metal pieces, the rims, and engine compartment. Thanks to One Day Paint and Body on First St.
The car originally had a bench seat in front and a duck taped back seat. It took a good chunk of time to find the current 1968 buckets that House of Covers recovered while at the same time putting in new carpet.
The decal Swinger strip, new headliner and vinyl top came next. Thanks to John Young for the excellent installation of the headliner and vinyl top and the recovering of the sun visors. And thanks to Chris for the help in polishing & repainting the grille & polishing all the chrome.
s I said, this is the end result of a 20-year search for me and I am very happy with our new toy. Thanks to all who have helped in the search and the project: Mike Stevenson, Chris Johnson, Fred for the direct hit on finding the car and most of all my wife and girls for getting greasy and helping all along the way. I'm glad Leona loves Mopars and our Dart as much as I do or this Dart would have never been. Next in line…….the Duster. It's time to get her back on the track.