Fast Facts

'62 dodge dart two-door sedan

OWNED BY: JEFF MIRANDA, POMPANO BEACH, FLORIDA

ENGINE: The first of the "Max Wedges"—a 413-inch RB packed with 11.25:1 compression pistons, high-lift camshaft, and topped by a short-ram intake manifold wearing two huge four-barrel carburetors. TRANSMISSION: An Art Carr-modified 727 Torqueflite, with dash-mounted pushbuttons. (One big reason why this car won automatically.) REAREND: 8%-inch with 3.91:1 rear gears.

ENGINE: The first of the "Max Wedges"—a 413-inch RB packed with 11.25:1 compression pistons, high-lift camshaft, and topped by a short-ram intake manifold wearing two huge four-barrel carburetors. TRANSMISSION: An Art Carr-modified 727 Torqueflite, with dash-mounted pushbuttons. (One big reason why this car won automatically.) REAREND: 8%-inch with 3.91:1 rear gears.

SUSPENSION: Restored stock '62 B-Body (Front

SUSPENSION: Restored stock '62 B-Body (Front

Longitudinal torsion bars with tubular shocks (Rear) HD leaf springs with tubular shocks BRAKES: As good as there were back then: 11-inch-diameter drum-and-shoe brakes all around, no power assist. WHEELS: Era-correct American Racing Torq-Thrusts on Inglewood Tire Service 8.20-15 slicks in back, with a pair of chromed Hudson wheels wearing a pair of vintage BFGoodrich "Silvertown" bias-ply skinnies in front.

BODY: Original '62 Dodge B-Body two-door sedan unibody, all steel. (And, in the case of the '62 Dodge, with styling only a Mopar devotee would love.)

PAINT: One repaint in its original Medium Blue Poly finish, with era-correct lettering added later. INTERIOR: Low-line Dart all the way—vinyl-upholstered bench seats, front and rear. Dash-mounted pushbuttons control the 727. Dash still has heater/defroster pushbuttons and OEM radio delete plate.

BODY: Original '62 Dodge B-Body two-door sedan unibody, all steel. (And, in the case of the '62 Dodge, with styling only a Mopar devotee would love.)

PAINT: One repaint in its original Medium Blue Poly finish, with era-correct lettering added later. INTERIOR: Low-line Dart all the way—vinyl-upholstered bench seats, front and rear. Dash-mounted pushbuttons control the 727. Dash still has heater/defroster pushbuttons and OEM radio delete plate.

The time slips told of elapsed times in the mid-12s, which the original set of drag slicks attested to. What the buildsheet told him was not only the equipment that went on at Hamtramck—the 413 Max Wedge, the 727, and little else—but also when it was built. He's yet to see any documentation of a '62 Max Wedge Dodge with a lower VIN number or earlier build date than this one.

One of the people that helped Jeff verify what he had was noted Max Wedge historian/ builder/restorer Bob Mosher. "I emailed Bob some photos of the car, and he was kind enough to do some research on his end," says Jeff. "Lo and behold, he had actually done some paint work on that car some 30 years ago. He had photos of the car, and he sent them to me."

Two items seen in the photos clinched this Dodge's identity. "The tell-tale parts of it were the exhaust, and a '65 Lions Drag Strip participants' sticker on the left vent window that's been on there for years," Jeff says. "You can see in the photos that he sent me that the sticker is still there. Plus, being from Southern California, he remembers the car." That exhaust system included a specially-hand-fabricated pair of steel-tube headers with curves aplenty, which exits through the Dart's front fenderwells.

Another contact Jeff made was with Bill Gaidzik, the '62's first owner, who bought the car at Wegge Motors in Pasadena, California. (The same place that "The Little Old Lady..." that Jan & Dean made famous may have bought hers.) Through him, Jeff learned that the OEM block had been replaced early on, a casualty of the early Max Wedge's oiling problems. "As far as I know, he worked out something with the dealership, and they replaced the short-block," recalls Jeff. "He doesn't really remember if it was no charge for it, but they did replace the short-block."

Nowadays, this 4,000-original-mile car doesn't make as many %-mile trips as it did in the '60s, but Jeff still gets out with it. "I do drive it to local car shows," he says. "It's a pretty nasty car." It's also one that's only had one repaint, and Jeff has re-done the Blair's Speed Shop lettering that graced the front doors when it ran at tracks like Lions, Pomona, San Gabriel, and Irwindale.

Naturally, a lot of show-goers haven't seen many '62 Dodges lately—especially one with the equipment and history this Dart has. As Jeff puts it, "They'll look at everything else in the show, then they'll stop at this thing here, and just look at it and wonder, 'What the hell is this?'" Jeff adds that the handfabricated exhausts get a lot of attention. "The configuration of the exhaust (headers) is probably the most exotic thing about the car.

And, of course, the fact that it's a 4,000-mile car, that makes them say, 'Wow!'"

If this story has given you the urge to look for that phantom Max Wedge '62 Dart that's older than this one, Jeff has this advice if you come upon a barn filled with early B-Bodies. "If you find one and you don't need it, give me a call and I'll take it!" He adds, "If you have a passion to build it your way, then you buy it in accordance to what you're looking for. Two-door sedans are hard to find—there are more hardtops out there now then there are sedans. Buying one that's already done is great—one man's loss is another man's gain. I've always had a passion for doing them my way, and trying to make them as era-correct as possible. That's the fun that I've had doing these." MM

« THIS THING WAS ONCE OWNED BY A CARD

DEALER [FROM] THE STARDUST HOTEL AND CASINO. WE FOUND HIS PAY STUB UNDER THE BACK SEAT, BUT WE DON'T KNOW WHAT HAPPENED TO HIM. ~

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