December 2001 Mopar of the Month
1962 Dart 440
Larry Nye writes:
My grandparents bought what is now my '62 Dart in 1963 in Eureka, Ca. I still have the bill of sale. Grandpa always bragged about
how fast it was. He said it would pass anything but a gas station. It came with a 361, four barrel, dual exhausts, and dual-point ignition.
The '62 spent most of it's life in Eureka, Lone Pine and Bakersfield, CA. (Yes, we're Oakies.) Grandma drove it until about 1992, when she couldn't drive anymore. It had about 125,000 miles on it with nothing more than a couple of trips to K-mart Auto Center for oil, plugs, tires and mufflers. Grandma kept all the receipts. It had one valve job at about 80,000 miles. It sat in a carport in Bakersfield for a couple of years before I went up and trailered it home to Huntington Beach in 1995.
I just put a battery in the Mopar and it fired right up. Grandma had side-swiped a few things, so the car was pretty rough. Because she played golf every day, the floorboards and trunk were rusted.
In 1998, I decided to rebuild the engine for sleeper duty.
After I pulled the motor, I decided to refinish the engine bay.
Then I reasoned, awe heck, if I'm gonna repaint the engine bay, why not the whole car....at that point, the project spun completely out of control and this is what I ended up with two years later.
The entire car was taken to bare metal and everything
redone better than new.
During the process the original 361 went to Dick Landy Industries, who:
- bored it .040 over
- put a 440 crank in it for 408 ci
- used Ross forged aluminum pistons at 9.0:1 compression
- re-sized and shot peened the stock B rods
- installed a Crane dual pattern hydraulic cam, (222/234 @ .050, .471"/.494" lift, 114 lsa)
- did a valve job, adding new valves, MP rockers, springs and push rods and ported the 1962 heads (in order to keep the 4-bolt valve covers)
- and installed a 1/2 inch hemi pickup, hp oil pump, and windage tray.
With the basic 361/408 the way I wanted it, I added:
- a Weiand Action Plus intake and a Holley 750 carb
- a Mopar Performace electronic ignition
- Doug's headers, with 1-3/4 inch primary, 3-1/2 inch collectors flowing into 2-1/2 inch TTI alumunized exhausts
- a 8-3/4 rear, 742 case with 3.23 suregrip
- and a front disc brake conversion from Master Brake.
Next the original 727 push-button trans went to A-1 in Canoga Park for:
- rebuilding with a 2.77 gear set
- converting to a late model input shaft and splined output shaft
- adding a 2400 stall converter
- and a Trans-go stage 1 shift kit.
To put all the torque on the pavement help stablilze and roll the '62 around I chose Cragar Super Sport wheels, 7x15 front and rear, with Goodyear Eagle II tires (235-70-15 rear, 215-60-15 front) and KYB shocks
The interior was re-done in the original pattern, but using non-original colors.
The paint is Sherwin Williams Ultra 7000, 1956 Chrysler Cloud White
The resto was really fun. I kept all the original stuff.
This car is a great driver! It is fast on the street and it makes copius Mopar noises when the loud pedal is depressed. :-D
People love it.
Yes, it's a four door.
Yes, it's worth a lot less than I have in it.
What's your point? :-)