It’s not unusual for two people, after a number of years together, to acquire a quantity of similar possessions often referred to as “his and hers.” These items can be rather generic or very gender specific. Some of the most common his and her items are; decorative bathroom towels, ceramic coffee mugs, or the ever popular “I’m with him/I’m with her” T-shirts.
I never owned a car of my own before I got married. – Judy Frank
Art and Judy Frank have been married for 45 years. “We met when a mutual friend arranged a blind date,” Judy laughed. “Of course, we were both skeptical about the blind date thing, but on our second date Art proposed, and I said yes. I guess you could say we are a living example of love at first sight.”
Their love of Mopar products is a direct result of Art’s influence on his new bride. Judy was not what you would call an automotive enthusiast; in fact, cars were not a priority in her life at all. “I never owned a car of my own before I got married,” She recalls. “A car was nothing more than transportation to me.” When Art and Judy got married, he was the proud owner of a 1969 Road Runner.
Judy readily admits she knew little about the inner workings of anything automotive when she married her hubby. “I figured working on the cars and doing the restorations was an escape for Art,” Judy grinned. “Something he could do to keep out of doing those normal household chores, like cleaning and cooking occasionally.” When asked about this escape plan, Art just smiles and offers no comment.
Over the years, it’s become pretty obvious that Judy has been converted into an all-out, no holds barred, Mopar maniac. “When Art bought the Coronet I started learning a few things about what makes a car work. When he bought the Dart for me and started restoring it, I was totally in,” Judy smiled.
When Art started working on his wife’s new ride he did so with her in mind. Judy made it clear what she wanted her piece of Mopar muscle to look like; it had to have an overall appearance that exuded neat and clean. No gaudy metallic or metal flake paint, absolutely no spoilers or big stripes anywhere on the car, no hood scoops, or big oversized wheels. When Art finished the restoration, Judy stepped back and readily approved her husband’s handiwork. “The car is just perfect, just what I had envisioned.” Judy stated with pride.
Judy was now the owner of a super clean, no frills, black on black on black, 1974 Dodge Dart. Nothing gaudy or extra to cause any distraction, just a very tasteful red pin stripe, highlighting the classic, upper body line of the car. The chrome wheels and raised lettered tires added just the needed bit of accent. The real bling is under the hood of this ebony beauty. “Judy wanted chrome under the hood,” Art affirms. “And chrome is what she got.”
Judy’s Dart is a 1974 “A” body sitting on a stock Chrysler suspension. The front torsion bar suspension is a modified K-frame with upgraded ball joints and spool-type engine mounts that Chrysler made standard equipment with the 1973 model year. The only addition to the front suspension is an anti-roll sway bar.
The rear suspension is the standard Chrysler leaf springs with an eight and three quarter inch differential with a 3:55 rear gear. The brakes are upgraded single-piston, 4.5-inch bolt pattern discs on the front, and standard drum and shoe on the back. The car sits on 7- inch chrome, Smoothie wheels wrapped in Cobra G/T Radial tires by Cooper Tire.
The 360 Cubic Inch steel block motor under the hood has been bored .030 over and retains the standard Mopar bottom end; The crankshaft and connecting rods are stock Chrysler, the only exception is the oversized flat top pistons to accommodate the .030 bore. The heads are Mopar X-casting steel heads with a standard hydraulic vale train common with the X-casting high performance heads. The intake manifold is a high rise polished Edelbrock Air Gap, paired with a 750cfm four-barrel carburetor from Quick Fuel Technologies.
The ignition system is the stock electronic system that Chrysler offered as standard equipment on all of its engines of this era, and the revised starter motor for faster engine cranking is also bolted to the side of Judy’s motor. The exhaust system is comprised of 2.5 inch Hooker headers and retains the 2.5 inch dimensions through the back of the car. A Chrysler 727 Torqueflite, 3-speed automatic transmission moves the power to the rear end.
Once the seats had returned a family friend Darrell Flannery, designed and fabricated the center console that would sit between the newly redone, black leather buckets with a red “Dart” embroidered into the back of the seats. The dash and instrument package are original with the exception of the added oil pressure, temperature, and voltage gauges installed in the center console.
Main Paint and Body in Akron, Ohio did the paint work on the car, no additional body work, other than prepping for paint, was required. The car is 100 percent steel, and there is no body filler anywhere on the car. When all was said and done, Judy got just what she had in mind – a classic piece of Mopar muscle.
Now, let’s take a look at Art’s car. Art’s ride is very unique in the sense that, according to the Chrysler archives, this very pretty red on red, two-door hardtop Coronet is one of just 83 ever produced. Most of the first generation two-door hardtops had a white or tan interior.
The engine is the original factory 383 cid V8. The engine was bored .030 over and stock .030 Mopar flat top pistons were installed to accommodate the bore. A purple shaft Mopar high-performance camshaft was installed to help with the overall performance. The original 383 cylinder heads were replaced with Mopar 906, 440 steel heads with a standard hydraulic valvetrain. The top side includes a polished Edelbrock intake manifold with a 750 Holley, double pumper carburetor.This 1967 “B” body Chrysler is as close to its original condition as it was when it rolled off the showroom floor. Art paid strict attention to maintaining a complete numbers matching car throughout this particular build. The chassis components are strictly stock Mopar; torsion bar front suspension and standard leaf springs on the back. The front brakesof the car have been upgraded from the original drum and shoe to a single piston disc system. Art made this change to the braking system for safety and reliability reasons.
The ignition is now supplied by MSD. The engine exhausts through 2.5-inch Hooker Headers, coupled to a 2.5-inch MagnaFlow exhaust system clear back to the dual chrome exhaust tips. The power is moved to the 3:91 rear gear through a modified 727 TorqueFlite transmission. Art installed a manual valve body in the transmission to allow him the ability to manually shift gears when he races the car, which he does just once a year at the Mopar Nationals in Columbus, Ohio. His best time to date is a very respectable 13.75 at 102 mph, not bad at all for an old full-size Coronet 500.
The interior in the car is completely original with the exception of the carpet, seats and door panels. The headliner remains factory original. The dash and instruments are completely original and still 100 percent functional, plus Art added additional aftermarket gauges to include a steering column shift light.
The body was repainted by Northeast Auto Body in Ohio, using the original Chrysler paint code for this particular vehicle. All chrome on the car was removed and replated. Just like his wife’s Dart, there is no body filler anywhere on this car. The Weld Draglite wheels and Firestone Fire Hawk tires add the finishing touches to this classic example of not just Mopar, but automotive history.
Today, both cars reside in the warm sunshine of St. Petersburg, Florida where the Frank’s use the cars as occasional drivers. You will find Judy and Art proudly showing off their cars at various local shows and displays throughout the Tampa Bay area. When you come across these cars at one of the local shows, you will notice they are always parked next to each other, just like their owners, after all these years, side-by-side and still looking good.