My Classic Car: David’s 1973 Dodge Dart

1973 Dodge Dart Swinger, now black, was lime green when new | David Crabtree photo
1973 Dodge Dart Swinger, now black, was lime green when new | David Crabtree photo

The first car I remember from my childhood was a 1969 Dodge Dart. I was 5 years old. I remember when my dad drove up in it and the discussion how $4,500 was entirely too much to pay for a new car.

When I began looking for my own classic car, I looked for several months, at everything from trucks to rat rods. Then the Darts started popping up with the early ’60 rounded fenders.

I found a ’65 and was going to drive from to Tuscon to pick it up, but it got sold before I could get a deposit down.

Then there was a 70 that I missed.

In November 2013, I saw an online ad for Maples Motors in Tennessee. The black Dart intrigued me the first time I saw it and I had a video sent to me. Once I heard the rumble of the 318 motor with its performance cam, I knew it was the one.

I put the deposit down and traveled down to pick it up. I also drove about 10 other classics at Maples Motors, which is a playground for car enthusiasts.

In the end, I stuck with the Dart. They threw in a set of universal custom Keystones and new tires.

Home successfully with no issues, I jumped right into tinted windows and stereo speakers and a custom box so I could leave my stock radio in. Unfortunately, rain revealed a leaking window and shorted out the stereo system.

My son Troy drove it to Kohl Motors in Long Beach, Mississippi, where he works, to adjust the car’s ride height (it had been set up as sort of a low rider and was bumping and grinding down my not-so-smooth driveway).

A few weeks later, I lost the transmission.

There were other things as well, but today, with Cragar GT wheels, she runs wonderfully and I get compliments 4-5 times every day I drive.

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