“I’ve hurt a lot of feelings with this car over the years,” Jim McIsaac of British Columbia, Canada laughs when talking about his history with his 1967 Dodge Dart GT. It all started around 1985 and Jim was in his late teens driving a ’67 Dart with a 383 when he met a local guy named Larry who owned a ’70 Maverick.
“Despite the fact that Larry owned a Ford, I got him into Mopars pretty quickly. We quickly became good friends and did a lot of racing together. One day, Larry borrowed my Dart and let his girlfriend drive it. Unfortunately she lost control and crashed it. I basically told him it was a “you break it, you bought it” type of thing so he ended up buying it off of me,” he shares. With Larry taking the crashed Dart, Jim went out and purchased a RR-1 Yellow ’67 Dart GT to replace it, the one you see here. He says, “I purchased it off a local Chevy guy. He had a white big-block Chevelle with two nitrous systems on it and the Dart was his wife’s daily driver.”
Being into racing, Jim wasted no time getting to work on making the Dart as fast as possible. Over the better part of a year, Jim was car-less while he caught rides to work to save as much money as possible to put towards his Dart. After saving enough money up, he purchased a 440 off George Duda at Mopac Performance. “The engine came out of George’s ‘Cuda and was sitting in their showroom. The second I saw it I knew I had to have it so I worked my butt off saving up for it along with the other various go-fast goodies for it,” he says.
Once he bought the 440, he quickly stuffed it between the inner fenders of the Dart. Jim shares, “The first time I fired it up, I didn’t have headers or anything on it yet. I had a pair of Hooker headers on order from Mopac but I couldn’t wait for them to fire it up. When I started it, I had one of those plastic fuel filters on it and it happened to be right by one of the exhaust ports so needless to say, it caused a fire. I managed to put it out but I thought holy, I better wait for my headers and not do that again.”
After a couple of months, he had the rest of the parts finally installed. He patched up some rust holes in the rear quarters, sprayed the body in primer gray and put two Centerline wheels on the back. “I was really happy to finally have it on the road. I had it running absolutely great and had a killer stereo in it too. It didn’t look very good but the stereo rocked and the car was fast!” he laughs. He continues to say, “Over the next ten years, the Dart was my only car. I drove it everywhere. Eventually I bought a cheap ’70 Dart to daily drive and made my ’67 even faster.”
Jim tells us, “We did a lot of street racing back then down in Langley. There were three different spots we’d go to that had marked off quarter miles. The one spot I actually lived at the end of the quarter mile in my trailer for quite a while. I’d have people knocking on my door wanting to race me. I’d go kick their butt and go back home. The car quickly became a legend around there.”
“A lot of guys I beat started putting nitrous on and I slowly started losing races as I was running just the engine without any type of power adder. I did beat a lot of cars with nitrous on just motor. Finally I went to Mopac and bought a bottle for it. “With the bottle, I killed everyone I raced, they couldn’t beat me. I went 11 straight wins one night.”
He continues to say, “Half of them I didn’t even need the bottle but the bottle made a fast car so much faster. I eventually moved to Chilliwack and kicked everyone’s butt out there too. By this point, I had gotten the car painted red so it was looking a lot better.”
“I have so many good stories with this car. One night, I was out in the Dart and my buddy had his ’70 Charger R/T out. We pulled up on either side of this Camaro at a light. When the light went green, we were gone. He got beat badly by two Mopars at once! Another time I came up on these two Camaros lining up to race. I pulled into the third lane and spanked them both. I got a 2 for 1 on that one! I beat a lot of high dollar cars with my garage built Dart.”
Years later, Jim decided it was time to treat the car to a restoration. Jim’s wife Belinda says, “I wanted a car that sounded like Jim’s Dart and realized that my 2007 Dodge Super Bee couldn’t accomplish that old school rumble, so we found my ’68 Plymouth GTX project and got started on it. Jim started donating parts off of his Dart for my GTX so he could eventually upgrade his Dart. He says, “I wanted to do it properly so I took my time and did it piece by piece.” A few years back, the Dart was treated to new quarter panels, rockers and inner wheelhouses and as a gift for his 50th birthday, Belinda paid to have it sprayed in a fresh coat of shiny red paint.
The new engine was built by Jim along with Norm at Fortins in Chilliwack, B.C using a 440 and specifications from an engine build in a paper Mopar magazine. The engine features Mopac aluminum heads that have been extensively ported, a MSD ignition system, Weiand intake manifold and a Holley carburetor. Everything breathes through Hooker Super Competition headers that exit through the front wheel wells and run into a pair of period correct side pipes. While it is not currently hooked up to nitrous, the Dart is set-up to run it.
Backing the engine is a 727 Torqueflite automatic with a full manual valve body and a 5000 stall converter. Out back is a built 8 ¾ Suregrip with 4:30 gears. The Dart rides on Centerline wheels with Michelin tires (195/70R14) out front and Mickey Thompson ET Street drag radials (28×13.50-15LT) out back. Jim says, “I drive it hard. I’ve done burnouts that have literally melted the asphalt and I have no plans to ever change that.”