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1969 Dodge Dart Swinger - Look Stock And Swing A Big Arm

Randy Burg is flying the Mopar flag.

Randy Burg's got a thing for Mopars. His first car was a '65 GTO in 1967, but eventually he fell into a comfort zone with the Mopar crowd and has never looked back. That means fast cars, too, not just wimpy wannabes that only sound like the real thing. "Right now, the slowest car in the family is my wife's Z06 Corvette. She hates it when I say that."

Indeed, the Burgs have a penchant for Pentastar power. You may remember a story we did in Oct. '05 called "440 Flashback," where we followed along as Randy power-tuned his 440 Dart and squeezed a decent 12.65 at 108.51 out of a relatively mild 440 and a four-speed. This small-block Swinger makes that big-block look tame.

"I originally bought this '69 Dart Swinger for my daughter, Chelsea, to drive in high school. She drove it for a couple of years but got tired of no air conditioning and poor gas mileage, so I bought it back." The first thing Randy did was flog the little 340 automatic on the dragstrip, but soon the Swinger began to lose its edge. Randy suspected the cam. "After we pulled the cam, we noticed that the cam bearings were wiped out. We couldn't change cam bearings without pulling the engine, so the engine came out. Next we checked the mains, and they looked just as bad as the cam bearings-right down to the copper backing." Thus began the path to more power by way of a stroker crank.

"I talked to Bob Mazzolini in Riverside, California, and he suggested putting a stroker crank in it." That's when this story really got interesting. Rather than tweak the original 340, Randy scoured up a 4.030-inch-bore 360, and Bob supplied a 4.00-inch stroker MP crank and piston package that bumped the displacement up to 408 ci. Next came all the attendant pieces, including a set of Edelbrock aluminum heads that Randy painted Mopar Orange to add to the subterfuge factor.

That's what Randy likes to do. Appearances can be deceiving, and from the outside, this little Swinger looks like a refugee from a 1969 Dodge Boys ad. He's even got those Dodge Scat Pack decals in the quarter-window. The closest object to something post-1969 is the Sony CD player that sits under the dash near the Auto Meter tach and gauges. Other than those additions, this could clearly be a case of arrested development.

But with more inches under the hood, this Dart is right on target with a ton more torque than the original A-motor. Randy's only driven this Dart on eighth-mile tracks, so he has no quarter-mile times. But in the eighth, this stock-appearing Swinger has hit a best of 7.63 at 89.9 mph. According to our official Pocket Dyno decoder ring, that's equivalent to 11.70s, which will make even the most jaded big-block fan take notice. Credit needs to also be assigned to the set of 3.91 gears and especially to the pair of gummy BFGoodrich Drag Radials that help this 3,000-pound flyweight really scream.

Randy's other Dart now has the stroker big-block out of his son's B-body that has since been sold. So Randy's now got a pair of Darts to draw from. Either one can set you back in the seat-all the way back to 1969.

Tech Notes
What: '69 Dodge Dart Swinger 340

Owner: Randy Burg

Hometown: Ojai, California, a trendy little artist community just north of Ventura and the 101 Freeway.

Engine: The original 340 began wheezing, so Randy bought a 0.030-over 360 block and had Bob Mazzolini Racing help him choose a 4.00-inch Mopar Performance crank that creates 408 ci. He then added SRP forged 10.5:1 pistons connected to Eagle H-beam rods. Randy's buddy Jay Roach helped him assemble the short-block with a Melling high-volume oil pump and JE file-to-fit rings.

Heads: You have to look closely, but those are Edelbrock aluminum 340 RPM heads fitted with 2.02/1.60-inch valves and 65cc chambers that have been milled for better piston-to-head clearance.

Camshaft: It all started with the camshaft when Mazzolini recommended a Mopar Performance PN 4120653 purple-stripe, mechanical-lifter, single-pattern cam with 241 degrees of duration, 0.528 inch lift, and a lobe separation angle of 112 degrees. Randy added a set of Crane Gold Race 1.6:1 roller rockers just to keep the valvetrain happy and bolted it all down with ARP head bolts.

Induction: Randy also painted the Edelbrock RPM Air-Gap with a Barry Grant 750-cfm Speed Demon carb chosen to mix the air and fuel. It's all fed by a simple, mechanical Carter 110-gph fuel pump, and it works just fine.

Exhaust: Randy liked the Tube Technologies headers so much on his big-block Dart (even if they were a bear to install) that he also chose a set of TTI tubes for the small-block. The headers use stepped tubes from 1 5/8 inch to 1 3/4 inch and roll into a TTI 2 1/2-inch exhaust system muffled by a pair of DynoMax mufflers.

Transmission: It looks totally stock from the cockpit with the column shifter, but under the sheetmetal, it's a Brown's Transmissions-tweaked 727 TorqueFlite equipped with a B&M shift-improvement system and a 3,000-stall speed converter.

Rearend: The Mopar 8 3/4-inch rearend works just fine spinning 3.91 gears, although Randy generally runs a set of 3.23s around town, both with a Sure Grip limited slip to put the torque to both tires.

Suspension: Here's where there's little to talk about. The only thing Randy has added is a set of 90/10 front shocks, and he yanked the power steering in favor of a manual box to save weight. That's it. It's even still got the stock pinion snubber.

Brakes: He added a TCI Roll Stop to help with burnouts, otherwise those are stock drums on all four corners.

Wheels/Tires: To add to the effect, Randy likes to run the stock 14x6-inch Rallye wheels with 225/60R14 BFGoodrich Radial T/A tires. It's all part of the act.

Body: It's just like he bought it from the previous owner in Seattle, where it was repainted and treated to a new Swinger tail stripe.

Interior: Randy restored the interior and added the Sony CD player and Auto Meter gauges.

Performance: 7.63 at 89.9 mph in eighth-mile (11.70 equivalent at 111 mph).

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