First question that occurs to me is, why on earth would you WANT to? Myself, I wouldn’t trust a Dart to get me to the corner liquor store. But then, some people are just natural-born risk takers, and love taking on a challenge so daunting, so obviously insane, even the Gods Themselves would tremble at the prospect.
Dart Across America: Adventures of Driving a 1975 Dodge Dart 3,300 Miles in Six Days
The 225-cid. slant-six engine is touted for being bulletproof and able to handle all kinds of abuse. That’s one major reason why Erik Jesperson chose a 1975 Dodge Dart as the classic car for his coast-to-coast road trip adventure from Ocean City, Washington to Ocean City, New Jersey. The other solid reason was its mostly clean, rust-free body.
The road trip was arranged after Erik’s friend Josh asked what he wanted to do for his bachelor party before his wedding on December 1, 2023. A road trip across the country had always been on Erik’s bucket list, and he’s not the type to turn down an excuse to buy another project car.
After locating the 1975 Dodge Dart at a dealership, he had the car inspected by a local mechanic before fully committing to the trip. The mechanic came back with good news, simply recommending a tune up and stating the wipers didn’t work and the suspension was worn, nothing that would immediately jeopardize the 3,300-mile six-day drive.
“The Roadkill and Vice Grip Garage type shows have always spiked my interest,” Erik began. “Being a mechanic, I knew if I had the tools and supplies, I could probably make it happen.” Another piece of reassurance came from Josh, who works for U-Haul and had the ability to locate and rent a truck and trailer anywhere in the country at a cheaper rate (worst case scenario, of course). “My fiancé, Kristen, loved the idea of us acquiring an older car that we could use in the wedding as well as take to car shows and cruises together,” he added. That was the icing on the cake. Erik finalized the purchase and worked with the salesperson to pre-order any parts that could be needed for the trip, such as a mini starter, alternator, cap, rotor, fuel filter, and fluids. He packed items like spark plug wires and a few other parts in his luggage before catching his flight to Washington.
Wise move. The old MOPAR PoS did better than anyone intimately familiar with the road-apple abominations might expect, actually; minor annoyances like a broken fuel gauge, a rotted-out heater core, and getting becalmed in Sturgis H-D rally traffic were dealt with, until…wait for it…WAAAIIIT FOR IT…
Gee, didn’t see THAT coming.
Our intrepid duo did indeed make it to Ocean City, NJ in the end, which speaks volumes about their pluck, ingenuity, and good old can-do spirit. Jesperson and his fiancé plan to keep the “car” for some reason or other, which speaks volumes about their mental health, far as I’m concerned. Then again, though, I’ve never been known for being at all hesitant about embarking on high-risk, no-net road trips myself. Remember, I’m the guy who rode a 1971 Shovelhead FLH, replete with apehangers and suicide shift, from CLT to NYC just to see a pretty girl.
TWICE; I did that TWICE. So, y’know, maybe I ain’t exactly the one to be sitting in judgment on Eric and his affianced, eh?
(Via Ed Driscoll)