There were a few cosmetic changes for the 1968 Dodge Dart. The exterior front fascia had the grille-mounted parking/signal light configuration moved slightly farther from each fender with side marker lights also added to both sides front and rear, as mandated by law. The windshield wiper arms were a no-glare matte black rather than chromed in keeping with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard number 108, and three-point restraints were basic equipment with an added shoulder harness for each front outboard occupant although the passenger had to manually attach the harness to the lap belt each time. In 1968, the EPA was just starting to flex its muscle in a big way, and although emission controls were minimal, they were in effect in 50 U.S. states making Chrysler's “Clean Air Package” standard equipment on all models. Mechanical changes include the upgraded Dart steering linkage and the standard axle ratio that Chrysler dropped from 2.93 to 2.76.
The most exciting thing for 1968 was the newly offered, and now very rare, factory-built Dart GTS Hardtop. Thanks go to some high-profile race drivers lobbying Chrysler for a high-performance Dart. The press release quotes a Chryco spokesman: “Dodge is putting more zip in its Dart in hopes of hitting the bull’s eye in class B Super Stock drag racing competition this year. The new vehicle is lighter and quicker featuring the Hemi 426 engine, which will complete the quarter-mile at over 130 mph in less than 11 seconds.”
These units are bare bones equipped; so I’m not certain how many of the above regulations are applicable to this Hurst-Hemi Dart option. Only 50 of these special order units rolled off the assembly line; they have stripped-down interiors with two bucket seats only, no optional equipment, no side window mechanisms, and primer body paint only, but this unit does include a non-warranty disclaimer from the manufacturer. These race units had fiberglass fenders and hood with a special scoop; it also sported lightweight window glass, lighter doors, a Hurst shift kit, a floor-mounted, four-speed transmission, and a 426-cubic-inch (7.0L) Hemi-powered engine.
The heads were cast-iron and not aluminum to save about $1,000 but did add 70 unneeded pounds. The iron block firing chamber had oversized piston rings for a tight fit and offering 12.5:1 compression, a roller bearing timing chain to reduce stretch thereby enhancing performance, a high-capacity oil pump, two Holly four-barrel carburetors, a lightweight magnesium intake manifold, Prestolite transistorized ignition, dual point breakers for the distributor, and metal core plug wires, and headers lower exhaust back pressure. Other added performance equipment included deeply grooved belt pulleys, heavy-duty radiator, and a seven-blade viscous drive cooling fan (viscous coupling uses a thick fluid to transfer torque/rotation). The race car's suspension was more highly refined than the basic Dart with heavy-duty rear shock absorbers, and the special high-output 135 amp battery took up residence in the trunk.
If you should stumble upon one of these very rare Dodge Dart GTS business coupe hardtops for sale in moderately good condition, it could have an asking price of up to around $250,000 U.S., although a basketcase could be quite a bit cheaper. Home restoration is a possibility, but this is expensive, intricate, intensive, long-term, and a labor of love.
I did run across the website of Mr. Norm,, located in Chicago’s Humboldt Park, who specializes in building better than original reproductions of the ’68 Dodge Dart. He can supply you with a car or you can dart to him with your own vehicle. He can finish the car precisely like the original or fully upholstered like an uptown showroom Dart. The 426 engine is upscale from the factory version and uses aluminum heads. It can be done out to produce 625 or 720 hp with two other lesser ratings also a choice, but this depends on how deep your pockets are.
Chevy Small Blocks 1981 to 1995 Number-8
Four inch bore family
The 350 continued
The LT-9 350 variation is often known by its VIN code as the “M code 350”. This 5.7 liter engine is in the K20 and the K30 pickups as well as step-vans and motor homes on the P30 chassis marketed from ’81 to ’86. The engine has a four bolt main bearing configuration with the factory specs listing it as developing 160 bhp at 3500 RPM and producing 250 lb.-ft. of torque at 2800 RPM when equipped with the Rochester Quadrajet carburetor.
In the 1982 model year the only engine available for the Corvette is the L83-350 with 9:1 compression and is coupled to an automatic transmission only will give up 205 bhp and offers 285 lb-ft of torque. The power option in ’82 is a twin throttle body fuel injected version called the cross-fire. There was no production model Corvette in ’83 and therefor no L83 in that year.
The first of the generation four is the new L98 for Corvettes; this 350 is in show rooms for the 1985 model year. The basic equipment tuned-port fuel injection (TPI) allows this version to produce 230 bhp in both ’85 and ’86 but for ’87 through ‘89 it is bumped up to 240 bhp but with the optional 3.07:1 rear axle ratio (’88-’89 only) the engine will develop 245 bhp. The L98-350 d the option of aluminum heads in 1986 , with “D” ports added for the 1987 models and this head option was available for the Corvette until the end of its run in the Corvette in the 1991 model year.
From January 1987 until 1992 the L98-350 is an option for the Firebird and the Camaro with the basic ‘87 edition producing 225 bhp (168 kW) while offering 330 lb-ft of torque but the power option would put out 245 bhp (183 kW) offering 345 lb-ft of torque with a modified hydraulic roller camshaft. For the 1990 model year the output is increased with the cylinder compression upped to 9.5:1 for the Camaro and Firebird while in 1990 the ‘Vette with the same L98 engine offers 10:1 compression.
In the 1987 model year Chevy, GMC, and all the rounded C/K class of trucks including the four door crew cab units can be equipped with the L05 version of the 350 engine, as well, the recreational Suburban and the K5 Blazer have this engine. Other G.M. products with the L05-350 as an available option from 1990 through to 1993 with the L05 production ceasing entirely in 1996 include the Buick Roadmaster, Cadillac Brougham, Cadillac Fleetwood, Caprice LTZ, Caprice (wagon-an option), and the AMG Hummer H1 for `95-`96. From the 1994 model year until `96 the L05 is replaced by an uptown version called the LT1 in all GM `B`bodies while in the final year the Vortec heads are used in the 1996 G38.
The third generation Corvette – from 1968 to 1982 is patterned after the Mako Shark 11 concept car. For the first time the car is offered with a removable “T” roof. He body and interior were changed in the C2 cars although most of the power train components are the same. A 350 cu in (5.7 L) replaced the 327 as basic equipment but horse power rating stayed the same. The optional big block engine;” ZL1” was all new and all aluminum; it was listed at 430 BHP (320 kW) but reportedly was as high as 560 BHP (420 kW) and would do the quarter mile in 10.89 seconds. In 1970 the small block engine option was the high compression, high revving “LT-1” producing 370 BHP (276 kW). The big block option was the 454 cu in (7.44 L) producing 390 BHP (291 kW). From 1970 through 1972 the “ZR-1” racing equipped engine was available – there were only 53 of these built.
New emission regulations came into effect in 1971 and all the ‘vette engines had horse power ratings reduced by about 10% to conform and accommodate the new non-leaded fuels. The exception was the 350 cu in and the horse power remained the same but in 1972 the horse power rating system changed so rather than using “gross” ratings; “net horsepower” figure is used which dropped the ratings a further 25% or so but it is a more accurate figure. The 1975 models had the duel exhaust system left over from the ’74 model year but with a catalytic converted added which made the use of unleaded fuel mandatory to avoid burning out the converter. The floor was changed from fiberglass to metal as protection from the heat of the converter. The horse power rating began rising on succeeding models and peaked in the 1980 model year. The styling changed was slight until the 25th anniversary edition in 1978 although the “Stingray” moniker was changed to one word from ’69 through to ’76.
In 1970 the interior was updated with new style seats and the car had fender flares added; the rear bumper stayed chrome but the front bumpers were changed to a polyurethane material to be in line with the 5 mph (8 km) crash test regulations. The 1973 ‘vette was the last model to have any chrome bumpers used – in the future both the front and rear would be polyurethane. The last year for the tunnel roof with vertical rear window and the last year for the convertible is 1974 and the top would not return for eleven years until an integral roll bar is designed. This is the first year the ‘vette could be ordered with leather seats.
The twenty-fifth anniversary of the ‘vette is 1978 and the car can be had in two tone silver over gray; this is the first year as well the car is used as a pace car in the Indianapolis 5oo. The ’78 ‘vette introduced the fast back rear window and also featured a new interior with a redesigned dash. The 1979 offered the pace car style seats as an option and also offered front and rear spoilers if you would like. The 1980 corvette becomes more aerodynamic and also became lighter as both the body and chassis had unneeded material removed. The standard transmission was offered for the last time in 1981 and would not be available again until late in 1984. For 1982 models fuel injection returned as an option. The last C 3 cars offered an opening rear window hatch as an option in 1983.
The El Camino has slimmed down in for the fifth generation and the “Classic “ is demoted to the entry trim level, then the Black Knight(1978 only), the Conquista, and the Super Sport as the top offer. The “Black Knight” takes the moniker of “Royal Knight” from ’79 to ’83. The V8 power in '79 is available as a 305 cu in small block with a choice of the 150 hp or the 165 hp version but fuel conservation is the order of the day making the 90 degree V6 and the Buick V6 the basic power options.
The 1979 El Camino is slimmer but on the longer wheel base of 117 inches (2,972 mm)and now on its own unique platform dissimilar from any other Chevy product. However the sheet metal is Malibu sedan in front, Malibu wagon bumper and tailgate in the rear, with Monte Carlo doors. The basic engine offer is the 200 cu in (3.3 L) V6 developing 95 hp (71 kW) in most U.S, states but the base California engine is the Buick 231 cu in power plant. There are two V8 offers in ’78 – a 305 cu in with 145 hp (108 kW) and exclusive offer for the El Camino and the wagon is a 350 cu in with a four barrel developing 170 hp (130 kW). The transmission offers are a three speed automatic or the four speed standard.
Minimal changes for the 1979 El Camino on the outside with a different divided grill is the only noticeable change and, on the inside, any transmission you choose is now floor mounted. The newly developed V8 engine is a small block 267 cu in (4.4 L) with 125 hp (93 kW) as an alternate power choice for ’79 although the 350 with the four barrel is still offered for big power.
The new decade brings change for the 1980 El Camino and horse power ratings starting to rise on some of the engine offers with the basic new 229 cu in V6 is putting out 115 hp now while both the V8 engine offers took a slight drop in horse power . The transmission offer is a three speed standard as basic equipment but the optional three speed automatic was the biggest seller in 1980.
El Camino in 1981 has a newly designed horizontally oriented tubular grill and is the biggest exterior change. However the mandate for this year and the next few is to conserve fuel without reducing the power; with the first step to achieving this goal is to add GM’s “Computer Command Control” emissions system to all the El Camino engines. The horse power rating did take a modest drop on the base 229 and the California base 231 engines and the three speed automatic transmission now has a lock-up torque converter to increase highway mileage.
The rectangular quad headlights are mounted outside the crosshatch design grill from 1982 until the final ‘87 model El Camino. Also in ’82 Chevy introduces the higher priced 350 cu in (5.7 L) Diesel powered V8 which delivers 105 horse power; this expensive engine does conserve fuel but has frequent and frequently high repair bills.. The other engine options stayed the same although the base 229 engine is now sold in California as well.
Some Ford Galaxies were meant to be family cars... you know, smooth riding, quiet, fairly efficient utility cars indented to get the family from "A" to "B" with minimal fuss and in comfort. This one, however, is a little different. It's still a pretty comfortable ride, but thanks to it's no-frills package and dual-quad 427 and 4-speed driveline, you get to "B" much faster!