based on early '60's Mopar Logo

1965 Dodge Dart GT Convertible

July, 2000:
1965 Dart GT

Bill writes to update: "The Dart is now done except for the passenger side candy cane trim and a convertible boot. I have a little over 1200 miles on it and gets a lot of looks at the couple car shows I've taken it to. We don't see any '65 Darts up our way."

Follow the Dart's restoration from the Works in Progress Page.

Bill Brandt wrote:

When I was 16 my first car was a 65 Dart 2 dr. with a 170 cu slant six. Since then I've been partial to the not so popular 65 Dart. In April '96 I ran across an ad in the local paper for a 65 Dart convertible. I went and looked at it and it seemed pretty solid. It was out of California, had a 360 under the hood, and spare 273 engine and a box of parts. So I bought it.

1965 Dart GT

This is my first attempt at restoring an old car and I have learned a lot. I started taking the car apart, and of course the more I took apart, the more work I found needed to be done. There was pinhole rust in the floorpan at the footwells and some in the trunk floor. The rear quarter panels had some small areas of rust that had bondo over the holes and the rear valance behind and below the rear bumper had been replaced with plain sheet metal. The front suspension needed replacing, and trim pieces were missing.

1965 Dart GT

I borrowed a rotisserie and stripped it down to the unibody. I learned to weld with an acetlyene torch and welded in new sheet metal over the footwells, and welded shut the pin holes, formed my own sheet metal for around the rear fendwell areas since nobody makes repro panels for a '65 Dart, welded in new sheet metal in the trunk and inner fenderwell on the left side.

I replaced the entire front suspension, cleaned and painted both sides of the floor pan with POR-15, and topcoated it. New rear leaf springs, axle seals, axle bearings, brake lines, fuel line, wheel cylinders, shoes and had the drums turned. I stripped off most of the paint with an exacto knife and finished off with paint stripper. I had the car painted just before Christmas of '98 with the original Ruby Red in a base coat/clear coat.

1965 Dart GT

Since Christmas I have been puting it back together. I made my own door panels using 1/8 inch masonite with maroon vinyl with thin quilt batting as the backing material. It was an automatic on the tree, and I converted it to the floor using the shift mechanism, console and wiring from a 65 Dart GT parts car. I also added a set of hood scoops from a 73 Demon 340.

1965 Dart GT

It is now ready for the engine to go in and have the top replaced. I am puting the 273 in with a few modifications, bored .030 over, Edelbrock dual plane manifold, mild cam, 4 bbl and dual exhaust. I plan to get the engine back together and have it on the road by summer.

This will be a summer driver, too much invested to let it sit around and collect dust.

Thats about it in a nutshell. Attached are some photos....

Thanks, keep up the good work on the web page.

Update: I've got about 300 miles on it since I got it running. It is currently in the shop getting a new convertible top installed, hope to have it back this week. Then all I need to do is have the paint touched up, wet sanded and rubbed out, put on the trim and she'll be ready for the summer.

1965 Dart GT

1965 Dart GT

1965 Dart GT 273 engine

Thanks, Bill. You are doing a fantastic job!
Take pride when you drive the GT and prepare youself for a lot of 'thumbs up' from folks. :-)

UPDATE July, 2000: Well you did it! Congratulations on restoring the Dart! Your Dart is a rarely seen Mopar in any part of the world. :-)

Gary H.

March 13, 1999; Updated December 10, 1999; July 9, 2000.

Page revised and moved to the new web site garage August 18, 1999.

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