By the late 1960’s the major automotive companies in the U.S. were immersed in the “muscle car wars.” The battlefields for this competition were local dragstips all over the country. “What wins on Sunday sells on Monday” was the motto that drove Ford, GM, Chrysler and AMC to build the fastest factory “hot rods,” the ones we now revere as muscle cars.
At the height of the “muscle car wars” Chrysler dropped the “A bomb,” the A-body car that is still considered to be the world’s fastest muscle car, the 1968 Dodge Hemi Dart SS by Hurst Performance. To compete with the Yenko Chevrolets and the Shelby Fords Chrysler Corporation put their biggest engine in their smallest cars, the A-body Dodge Dart and Plymouth Barracuda. The result was a fiberglass front Super Stock lightweight racer that could do the quarter-mile in 10’s off the showroom floor (with a little tuning.) They resurrected the Cross Ram manifold and added it to the mix to produce the fastest cars in the world. The Dodge Hemi Darts were coded LO23 and the Plymouth Hemi Barracudas were BO23.
This week Arizona Classics out of Scottsdale, Arizona has posted a 1968 Dodge Hemi Dart SS which they say is a real LO23 car. Only 80 of these were built by Hurst-Campbell. It is still a bit of a mystery car as we are told that it has documented owner history and has a rich racing portfolio as well. But they have not yet posted their description. Interested buyers will be able to watch our Cars On Line blog site over the Easter weekend to get the full story. They say it is now street legal.
Most notable about the ’68 Hemi Darts was the fiberglass hood with the huge scoop and lightened body. These Super Stock cars are often referred to as light weights. Hurst stripped these cars of everything including window regulaters and installed lexan replacements for the side window glass. Non-adjustable Dodge van seats were installed with aluminum brackets. The rear wheel wells were pounded out with sledgehammers to accomodate larger tires. They were built for drag racing and included a non-warranty disclaimer. They were shipped in primer only.