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Mr. Norm’s 1968 Hemi Dart for 2007

The 1968 Hemi Dart was among the most notorious muscle cars ever sold in the Americas. Its 426 Hemi engine and light weight made it the car to beat, on the street or strip.

1968 Hemi Dart GSS

Only a few were built in 1968; in 2007, “Mr. Norm” created a few more. Each car had a build book, production sheet, and build order, and was delivered by Mr. Norm himself, just as in 1968. The total remained under the original production run.

Mr. Norm has also created the prototype 383 Dart GTS and the M-Code 440 Dart, both of which were later put into production by Chrysler; and sold the majority of the legendary Hurst/Campbell-built 1968 Hemi Darts.

1968 Dart GSS Hemi

Built using 21st century parts and accessories, the GSS Hemi Dart should have better performance than the original, but it’s based on the older cars. Mr. Norm brought original 1968 Darts into the shop, dismantled them, and examined each part to see whether it could be restored or needs replacement. When no parts were available, parts were hand-made with metals of the same alloy and weight. Restoration and build-up were handled by Blue Moon Motorsports.

Mr. Norm's dashboard

The body shell was cleaned to bare metal on a rotisserie, and water treated with a rust inhibitor.  Metal fabricators corrected original imperfections in the sheet metal by using hand dollies; any replacement parts were spot-welded at the factory seams. Mr. Norm’s wrote that no fillers are used; instead, the metal was hand contoured to the original shape. Any epoxy primer started the painting process.

inside Mr. Norm's Hemi Dart GSS

The body was hand sanded and primed three times.  After a final wet sanding by hand, the body was painted in sealer, base paint, intermediate tinted clear, and final clear coats.  The body was baked at 150 degrees for thirty minutes to cure the surface, and then allowed to air dry for 48 hours.

Two days later, the body was removed from the paint booth and wet sanded by hand with 2000 grit paper; then buffed.

rear - Hemi Dart GSS

The car then gained its new, stroked 426 Hemi™ dual quad engine, the driveline, upgraded suspension, brakes, and cooling systems, and related systems, with new wiring, plumbing, and restored gauges. The interior was sound and heat insulated; it gained a new headliner, dash pad, and auxiliary gauges, with five point seat restraints. Suspension components were preloaded and adjusted before road testing.

The GSS Hemi engine began with a new Chrysler 426 Hemi block — iron or 356-T6 aluminum — with a standard bore, hot tanked and magnufluxed. Rotating assembly components were billet steel, forged aluminum, or tool steel. These engines ran on pump gas, and were sold in 472 cubic inch and 528 cubic inch forms.

528 Hemi engine

Bowler Performance Transmissions set up the 727 Torqueflite automatic or the A833 4-speed. 

The Dana 60 was the mainstay of all Mopar muscle cars sporting the Max Wedge and Hemi powertrains; it was rugged, easy to build, and could accommodate just about any gear and posi combination.  Mr. Norm’s used new nodular units that were tougher than the originals, with 4.10 gears. 

To minimize body twisting, Mr. Norm's GSS Hemi Darts used custom sub-frame connectors from Control Freak Suspensions.  To accommodate the massive 285/40-17 Pirelli P-Zero ultra performance tires, the rear wheel houses were enlarged by three inches, and the stock spring mounts were relocated to stronger torque boxes made by Blue Moon Motorsports.

Mr. Norm demanded that the front suspension system use upper and lower control arms with coil over performance shocks.  The whole K-member had to be crafted from Drawn Over Mandrel (DOM) seamless tube. The new front suspension system eliminated torsion bars, and used rack and pinion steering.

In the rear, leaf springs were changed to a split monoleaf spring supported by fully adjustable traction bars to change the pushing point on the car and help weight shift towards the rear while maintaining the correct pinion angle, eliminating any bind.

Prices for a GSS 1968 Hemi Dart in good condition ranged to nearly a half million dollars in 2007; the new 2007s sold by Mr Norm’s started at $149,000, lower than many clone cars.

Specifications

  Standard Hemi S/S Hemi Aluminum Aluminum S/S

Cubic Inches:

Stroked to 472

Stroked to 528

Stroked to 472

Stroked to 528

Horsepower:

600+

700+

625+

720+

Torque:

525+

600+

550+

600+

Fuel Required:

91 Octane Pump Gas

Standard Engine Features

Super Street Adds

All engines come complete with Mr. Norm’s GSS in-tank Aeromotive fuel pumps, pre- and post-filters, regulators, and stainless braided and hard lines. All fuel tanks are tig welded stainless steel (not fuel cells). Oil coolers are standard.  The S/S engine includes a competition oil cooler and competition oiling system. Dyno sheets are included.

The transmission includes:

TorqueFlite Automatic

Hemi 833 4-speed

Standard features

Body

Wheels, Tires & Brakes

Driveline

Interior

Exterior

Options lists

A4 - Interior Package - $ 3,900: Tuscany leather bucket seats, special pedal pads, billet gel cell battery tray in trunk, original courtesy lighting from Dart GT

A5 – Comfort Package - $6,900: heat and air, with polished billet serpentine system

A6 – Sound Package - $4,900: Sony Xplod™ AM/FM/CD with six speakers, dual amplifiers, subwoofer, power antenna

A7 – Power Accessory Package - $2,900: power doors, locks; security system
P1 – Show Paint Package - $ 13,200: paint underside, smooth firewall and engine bay; custom mix three-stage Planet Color™ paint

FG1 - Fiberglass Package - $ 1,800: Fiberglass S/S fenders

E75 – Engine Protection Package - $3,300 (Included With E74SS): dual high-output gel cell batteries, dual pass billet transmission oil cooler (not with A-833; $450 less), higher performance oil cooler

EX3 – Exhaust Package - $3,300 (Included With E74SS): ceramic coated mufflers and exhaust tubes, polished stainless steel exhaust tips (round or oval), side exit, electrically actuated “dumpers”

E74SS – GSS S/S Engine Package - $9,500: 426/528 Hemi with 700+ horsepower iron block, dual four-barrel Holley carbs, aluminum heads, solid lifters, headers, dyno sheet, higher performance oil cooler, chrome valve covers; runs on 91 octane gas. Dual output gel cell batteries, EX3 exhaust package, E75 engine protection package.

E74A – GSS Aluminum 426/472 Engine Package – Add $8,900 to Base Iron Block Hemi: 625+ horsepower, lighter weight.

E74A-SS – GSS Aluminum S/S 426/528 Engine Package - Add $8,900 to E74SS - GSS S/S Iron Block Hemi: 426/528, 720+ Horsepower. Chrome valve covers. Includes EX3 and E75.

GV1 – Gear Vendors Package - $3,500: Converts TorqueFlite to five speeds or A-833 to 7 speeds. Cuts RPM by 20% when active. Custom shortened driveshaft.


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