SMOTY 2016 #2: BRENT MURRAY'S 1968 DODGE DART CLONE

BRENT MURRAY

1968 DODGE DART CLONE

MARCH 2016

VALIANT hardtop bodies have to be perfect to look even remotely straight, so for Brent and crew to not only nail this VF hardtop’s lines but spray them candy apple red shows confidence. “It was a real challenge to get those quarters dead straight,” Brent admits. “I must have sanded them back and restarted at least five times each; it was like Groundhog Day!”

But despite the hard work, a pair of straight guards does not a Summernats Top 20 Elite contender make, even if the shell was Swiss cheese to begin with. Like many builds, it started innocently enough: “It was meant to be a sedate family cruiser but things just grew bigger and better!” Brent explains.

Starting life as a $1000 VF Valiant coupe, Brent was keen on a solid US flavour: “I find the VF guards a little long for my liking; the earlier US Dart/VE Valiant guards visually pull the overall proportions back into line.” A cheap VE sedan was sourced as a donor, but the conversion was far from a bolt-on swap.

Interior-wise, Brent’s Dart combines race and show, centring around aftermarket front buckets and a factory rear bench that match up exquisitely with the dash and door trims, all the work of Harry at Anderson Motor Trimmers.

Of prime importance though was decent motor-vation. Brent has always wanted a big-block under the bonnet, so he started Googling, and before long he had a fresh blown 910hp 440 heading Down Under.

Built by CNC Motorsports in South Dakota, it’s packed with tough parts including a Scat forged crank and H-beam rods, while JE pistons keep compression to a blower-friendly ratio. Most prominent is the Dyer 8/71 supercharger mounted to a Blower Shop intake and topped with a pair of Holley 750 DP carburettors.

A spot in the Elite Top 20 at Summernats 29 and tinware for Outstanding Engineered Super Street validated Brent and his team’s dedication and vision of bringing this US/Aussie hybrid to the masses.

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