We couldn’t wait for the Readers’ Projects issue to come out—we have to tell you about Mike Toupin’s ’63 Dodge Dart!
When you think of kickass hot rods, the 1963 Dodge Dart doesn’t usually come to mind. Yet for one PHR reader—Mike Toupin—that was exactly the challenge he took up several years ago. We’ve published pix of Mike’s Dart before, but it’s made tremendous strides since then. We thought it looked so cool, we wanted to share the update with you in Mike’s words:
“Well PHR, this is year three on my buildup of my 1963 Dodge Dart GT. You printed my pictures the last two years; I hope you do the same this year. As you can see from the pictures, I’m almost done. I’m trying to get it finished for June so I can attend the Goodguy’s East Coast Nationals being held in Springfield, Ma. To say this build has been a challenge would be an understatement. Try finding parts, either original or aftermarket to fit a ’63 Dart, and well, there is not much out there. Luckily, my job as a Mechanical Designer allowed me to design in Solidworks many of the custom pieces I needed, which were then fabricated locally. But I guess that’s the price you pay for building something different.
“All work done so far, with very few exceptions, was done by me, including the design, engineering, body work, and paint. Approximately 150 holes had to be welded up from all the removed emblems, mouldings, and door handles. What I tried to accomplish was to quote Chip Foose: “Take the ugly out of it!” which is difficult when you start with a car that was never destined to be Prom Queen, but I’m very happy with the results. I’m pretty sure it will stand out in a crowd, which is what my goal was in the first place.
“All that’s left is installing what’s left of the trim (which has all been powder coated black), painting and installing the heavily massaged bumpers, and installing the glass and interior. If all goes well, I should make it to Springfield. A special thanks to my wife Cheryl for her support, and to Eric and Kevin for helping me out when I got stuck or just need an extra set of hands.”
By The Numbers
1963 Dodge Dart GT
Mike Toupin, 51, Fall River, MA.
Type: 2005 5.7L Dodge Production Crate HEMI
Exhaust: Jeep SRT8 Exhaust manifolds, 2 ½” dual exhaust W/Hushpower mufflers
Fuel Tank: Mopar Engineering 24gal SS fuel tank, W/internal pump
Engine management: Hotwire harness & ECU
Cooling: Custom Northern radiator W/Spal fan and PCM controller
Trans: Dodge 545RFE W/Trans-Go shift kit, Hurst shifter
Rearend: Currie 9” Ford, Detroit Truetrac posi, 31-spline axles
Frame: Rear springs re-located, Mopar Engineering subframe connectors, widened wheel tubs, and HD lower radiator support.
Front Suspension: RMS Alterkation, QA1 adjustable shocks, Flaming River Rack, 1.125-inch sway bar.
Rear Suspension: Mopar Engineering modified leafs, Hellwig 0.750-inch swaybar, KYB gas shocks
Brakes: Wilwood four piston Dynalite calipers and 12-inch rotors at all four corners
Wheels & Tires
Wheels: Billet Specialties Apex G, 17 x 7(Front), 18 x 10 (Rear)
Tires: BFG KDW 205/50R17 (Front) 285/40R18 (Rear)
Seats: 2007 Cadillac CTS-V power & heated
Gauges: Autometer Carbon face gauges