JULY 1, 2013: 1969 DART GTS 440 CROSS RAM TRACK CAR-TAMING THE BEAST

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Most guys covet old race cars because they’re loud, proud and they’ve conquered rivals on the track.

 

They are the four-wheeled embodiment of everything Tim “more power” Tool Man believed in when he built a ride.

 

Old strip cars are a beast at the track but they’re also a beast on the street.

 

 

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Stand next to an old track car at any car show and the limitations on the street are obvious. The old warrior usually gulps race fuel so the smell is a lot like gunpowder and the guy behind the wheel is wide-eyed because this car was born to run.

 

These cars are built to go wide open from a standing start so idling through a parking lot is almost impossible. They don’t want to be held back and 5 miles per hour is almost lethal to a race engine.

 

You have to keep them running, blip the throttle and not mow down a group of kids. It’s like putting a gazelle in a broom closet.

 

 

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Daryl Frenette wasn’t worried about the practical side of an old track car so he’s now the proud owner of a ’69 Dodge Dart GTS with a racing heritage. Daryl had an advantage over the average guy because he’s a veteran in the world of muscle cars.

 

This Dart has a 440 cross ram under the hood and Daryl explained the background, “It raced for a long time but the guy found out a mini-tub was going to be too costly so he sold it”.

 

 

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Daryl pointed out,It’s all old school all the way and when you look at it you can tell it’s been raced hard. There no power steering, the hood doesn’t fit right and it’s got gray fenders.”

 

 

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The Dart still wears outer evidence if its racing history because the decals have worn off but you can still see what they were in the paint. Daryl plans to leave history intact, “I’ve spent money on paint jobs, I’m going to leave this one as-is”.

 

He also ruled out the Dart’s return to the track, “Not a chance, I’m not a manual guy, something could go bang pretty easy”.

 

 

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Daryl has a different, less frantic future in mind for the old Mopar warrior, “It’s a daily driver when I get a chance. I’m not afraid to drive it anywhere and the only real problem is the wipers. They weren’t used too much so as long as I go fast enough to dry the windows, I don’t have a problem”.

 

 

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He added,Other than that I drive it any chance I get”.

 

The key to success with taming an old race car is to master the car and Daryl had no problems, “It’s pretty civilized in traffic, but it’s a 4 speed so you have to be careful because it”ll launch into the car next to you”.

 

 

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The odd thing about this Dart GTS is “it’s pretty reliable” according to Daryl so the stories surrounding quirky ex-race cars don’t apply to this purple Mopar A-body.

 

The secret to success in the car guy-old race car relationship is pretty simple-Daryl understands the car. He’s been around high-powered muscle cars for a long time so he understands the limitations of this old track car.

 

 

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That’s the kind of knowledge that tames the beast on the street.

 

 

Jerry Sutherland

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