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Don Mehling's 1969 Dodge Dart Swinger - Oh So Clean

By , Photography by , Wes AlIison

TECH NOTES
Who: Don Mehling
What: '69 Dodge Dart Swinger
Where: Glendora, CA

Engine:The engine was originally built for a guy at National Dragster magazine and passed around the Mopar ranks before ending up in Don's hands. It is a 0.060-over 440 with 11.0:1 compression, TRW forged pistons, and a mystery cam with "about 0.550 lift and around 270 advertised." The rods are stock with an ARP upgrade, and the engine is shifted at 6,000. The heads are factory aluminum Stave VIs from Mopar. The valves are 2.20/1.81 stainless steel. The pan is a Charlie's 8-quart with a swinging pickup, and the K-member was notched for clearance.

Transmission: The transmission is a TH400 from Mike's Transmissions in Lancaster, California, with a transbrake, a reverse valvebody, and a Continental 10-inch converter that stalls at around 3,300 rpm. The shifter is a B&M Pro Ratchet. The Shifnoid air shifter was made by Contender and is controlled by the MSD ignition. Behind the Shifnoid is the delay box that counts down with the Tree and release the transbrake with a dial-in of Don's choice.

Exhaust: Pro Parts makes a partial fenderwell header so you can run a 2-inch primary and a stock-size front tire without them getting together. The headeres end in a 3.5-inch collector with 3-inch oval tubing to the Flowmaster two-chamber mufflers and turndowns.

Rearend: The rearend is a Ford 9-inch housing from Currie with a Strange aluminum Third member and a spool with 4.30:1 gears. This car can also compete in the quarter-mile, so he is shifting into Third with a lot of room to go.

Wheels/Tires: If you look carefully, you can see the 11- and 12-inch brakes behind the 15-inch Weld Draglites. Those are 15x4s and 15x8s with a 6.5-inch backspacing in the rear. The meats are Hoosier 28/10.5=15s from Tucker Tire.

Body: The Marina Blue paint was sprayed by J&S Auto Body in Glendora, California. The front fenders, hood, and rear decklid are all AAR fiberglass. The stripe kit is from Graphics Express.

Interior: The 'cage was hand-fabbed by Don, the gauges are Auto Meter, and the seats are 17.5-inch Kirkey's Economy Drag. The seat brackets were handmade by Don and offer adjustability for both Don and Laura to drive the car. Layson's provided the headliner, and the carpet was done locally at Tony's Canvas. The carbon-fiber dash-panel is actually for a '67 to '68 Dart, so it is too short to cover the entire gap in the stock dash. Don formed the plastic to cover the hole. Don;s neighbor Steve rolled the beads into the door panels.

Suspension: The rear suspension uses a ladder bar setup from Accufab that hooks the 9-inch. The diagonal bar is from Chris Alston, as are the VariShock coilovers. Don made the frame connectors and reinforced them to handle the stress that the ladder bar puts in that area. The front suspension is mostly stock with RMS tubular upper control arms, a quick-ratio steering box, and Heim-jointed tie rods.

Performance: The best e.t. is 6.87 at 99 mph in the eighth or roughly 10.90 at 125. The car makes 452 hp and 600 lb-ft at the rear wheels and weighs 3,00 dry.

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