Muscle car culture is filled with fascinating stories and legends about special factory-built cars of drag racing’s early years that were designed for drag racing battle. Most of us will never get to see any of these cars, but imagine if you were given the opportunity to actually race one of them.
Kyle Kohr is one of the few lucky individuals that gets to wheel a factory-built racecar in the form of his 1968 Dodge Dart.
Kyle’s father raced before he was born, and put him into a junior dragster as soon as he was old enough to pilot one. Kyle raced in the junior ranks until he turned 16, and that’s when his father turned him loose in a 1968 Super Bee that was powered by a 572 cubic-inch Hemi. Cars are still the focus of Kyle’s life to this day thanks to his shop, Kohr’s Kustoms.
Kyle’s Dart is one of six that Dodge plucked the 383 cubic-inch engine out of on the assembly line, and stuffed a 440 cubic-inch mill in its place so the car could race in SS/EA. Racers like Dick Landy, Bob Lambeck, Ron Mancini, and Charlie Allen received one, and the rest went to dealerships. Kyle’s Dart was campaigned by Charlie Allen in 1968 and 1969 before it was sold, then converted to a 1971 Dart to race in Pro Stock. For the next 40 years, the Dart was a test mule for Chrysler Power Magazine before Kyle’s dad purchased it.
“My dad bought the car and it got passed around to a few of his friends until I got it in 2009. I decided to turn it back to a ’68 with a paint job similar to the one it had when it was first raced. I wanted to restore the car back to exactly how it was in 1968 if I needed to, but I also wanted to competitively race the car. So, the obvious choice was to build an NHRA stocker out of it,” Kyle says.
The car was originally built to race in Super Stock with its 440 cubic-inch engine, however, the 440 isn’t in the NHRA rulebook for Stock eliminator for a 1968 Dodge Dart. With that rule in place, Kyle built the car to race in F/SA using a 383. An engine was found for a great price that was being sold by a well-known racer, so Kyle purchased the engine and went racing in SS/IA. The car ran in the mid to low 10-second range its first year out, but for 2021 Kyle plans on going quicker after some offseason changes.
The immaculate Dart was fully restored by Kyle at his own shop; he built the chrome-moly roll cage himself, the first he had ever done, plus he did all of the sheet metal work. The engine has a set of 906 heads, an Edelbrock intake, and a Carter AVS carburetor on top of it. Behind the engine is a Pro Trans 727 TorqueFlite and ATI torque converter.
Kyle plans on running his killer Dart as much as he can in 2021 at NHRA events. It’s really cool to see a car that could be in a museum or tucked away in a private collection still being used as a racecar. And if you see Kyle’s Dart at an event make sure you take a long look at it because it’s one of the few chances you’ll get to see a legendary car remaining in the wild.