based on early 1960’s Mopar Logo

1962 Dodge Dart Station Wagon Drag Car — The Tennessee Hustler

David writes: This photo shows me in my 1962 Dodge Dart wagon The Tennessee Hustler at Great Lakes Dragaway in Union Grove Wisconsin in August of 1978.

I bought the former race car as-is, earlier that year from Bredemann Buick in Park Ridge Illinois. In hopes of somehow making it streetable. (An 18 year old’s pipe dream to say the least.) Bredemann was trying to get into some high performance cars. But thieves quickly started trying to remove stuff off the cars on their lot at night, and began vandalizing some of the new car inventory in the process. So the owner told the GM to get all the hot rods out of there. Consequently I was called to “come and get my car,” after making only two $400 payments towards the $1500 I was supposed to pay. I originally found an ad for it in the old Tradin’ Times paper.

I worked at Holiday Texaco in Evanston Illinois at the time. So I took our tow truck out there, and brought the Mopar back to the shop.

The Dart had a 383 engine, dual quads and 10-1 compression. The Mopar also had remnants of a PowerFlite 2 speed push button transmission with a stall speed, and a line lock on the brakes. Half of which worked. We got it running well enough to take up to the strip on Grudge Night. Where I did one embarrassing test run of 16 something, misfiring most of the way.

Shortly after this photo was taken, I was told to leave the track. So alas, no second run. Apparently a Bo-Peep ammonia bottle that was rigged as a radiator overflow, did just that. The track flunky mistakenly yelled at me that I was leaking oil, and that was that.

Once back home, I pulled the engine to put in my 1967 Dodge Polara 500 convertible. Which never fully came together, for one reason or another. The 383 just had some timing problems, but eventually did run well. The partial trans swap did not go as well, and I guess it just was not meant to be.

The Dart wagon body was sadly sent to the crusher due to space constrictions at the Texaco. But the front seat made it’s way into our tow truck. I sold the slicks and wheels. The 383 later went to power a friend’s 1968 Dodge Charger. Though I never did see it actually on the street.

Being so young at the time, I just had no idea what the value would be some day, of both the Dart and Polara.

1962 Dodge Dart Station Wagon Drag Car — The Tennessee Hustler

Contact David: 1962 Dodge Dart wagon owner contact

Thanks, David!

Great story! We all would like that Way-back Machine to zoom back for the Mopars that got away! Memories do suffice nicely though!   smile!

Gary H.

April 16, 2012

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