1964 Dodge Dart – Daniel Stern

We’re still out here in Seattle working hard to get the house in shape for grandpa’s memorial (not til June 7 to give his many, widely-scattered friends and family time to make travel plans). For about five years now, every time I’ve been out here I’ve frequently driven past (and drooled over) a sanitary ’64 Dart about five blocks from grandpa’s house. I spoke to a guy washing it some years back and he gave me a brief tour. 273-2bbl, pushbutton auto, ’76 Dart front discs and matching big-bolt ’76 7¼” 2.76 rear axle, rallye wheels, a sturdy (welded) trailer hitch out back, a modern stereo under the dash with amp under the front seat, otherwise stock and did I mention sanitary?


Well, we’ve been here this trip since April 18, and I’d been meaning to drop by and photograph it for the Wikipedia Dodge Dart article. ‘Bout two weeks ago, I had my camera and the sun was out, so I stopped by. It was parked with its nose very close to the back of a ’68 or ’69 Mustang convertible, so I rang the bell of the house it was in front of.


A nice lady came and answered the door. Yes, it’s her Dart. Oh, how awesome to meet another Dart lover, c’mon in. Sure, she’d be glad for me to take pictures. Oh, how neat that I contribute to the Wikipedia Dodge Dart article. Yeah, the guy I spoke to must’ve been her husband. It was her first car, bought when she was 16, out of California. Still got all the original glovebox literature and a meticulous logbook kept by its engineer original owner (if you think this sounds a lot like the story of my red ’71, you’re right). Oh, my grandfather’s house is right over at 68th and 52nd? We’re neighbors! Matter of fact, it’s kinda cool I should come round just now, because she’s about to sell it.


*gog* Oh no she didn’t just say that! (oh yes, she did.)b


Few days later I went back and got a closer tour and test drive. Car runs great, front end and rear springs all rebuilt, bunch of new body seals, Pertronix ignition, etc. This isn’t actually quite his wife’s first car. That car (’64 Dart 270 225/auto) got hit badly enough to take it off the road permanently, so they found this car (’64 Dart 170 273/auto) with no engine, bought it, swapped all the 270 trim parts and complete interior into it, transferred the drivetrain from the hit car, and drove it that way for 10 years. Restored it and decided to put a V8 in it; bought a ’71 318 and put it in but couldn’t make it quit overheating at idle and low speed. Found a ’64 273 in a Valiant, put that in. V8 pushbutton 904 rebuilt at that time.


Garage contains many, many spare parts, including complete power steering setup with rebuilt steering box and correct shorter steering shaft. Not on car right now because at time of 273 installation didn’t have 273 steering pump bracketry, so swapped back to nonpower to get the car on the road. Extra pushbutton boxes, extra remote sideview mirrors, much extra trim, and a whole lot more. Price discussed, fair deal quickly reached for car plus all parts except that ’71 318.


It’s not perfect; it does have some quirks and flaws. The transmission upshifts way too late, the brake pedal is effective but kinda low and soft (feels like new master will cure it), minor water leak into RH side of trunk persists despite new trunk gasket, new backglass gasket, bodyshop added dual drain tubes to cavity below backglass gasket, and attempts at using RTV to seal backglass gasket. Has two cylinders too many and half of them are on the wrong side of the engine bay. But every bit of metal is COMPLETELY solid. Spare tire is on another big-bolt Rallye wheel.