The Performance Racing Industry Show is always full of mean machines, and if there is one thing we love about the drag-and-drive scene, it’s the big blower cars that brave souls build and compete with at the events. Iowa, City, Iowa’s Tony Wisman is one such individual, and we thought you should check out his blown and stroked Dodge Dart.
Wisman purchased the Dodge Dart about 12 years ago and started working on it right away. It came equipped from the factory with a 318 V-8, single barrel engine combination, but was just a shell when Wisman purchased it. He replaced the rear quarter panels and the floor, but the rest is all original sheet metal.
“Right after I got the car, I bought the blower because I grew up with movies with blower cars,” Wisman tells us. “My Science Project, Mad Max, Hollywood Nights — those movies all had blower cars and I always wanted one. And the simplicity of the carburetors for me is why I didn’t go with fuel injection.”
Eventually, Wisman put his build in the hands of a shop that did perform some work, but it was taking way too long to complete according to Wisman.
“I got with Brian and Jes [Havlik] about four years ago,” Wisman explains of his decision to turn the build over to Hot Rods by Havliks in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. “Everything was wrong, the roll cage was wrong. They cut the cage out, built the headers, did the paint and body. I decided to do the drag-and-drive at that point.”
The Dart’s body is all steel with exception to the hood and front-and-rear bumpers, and it’s powered by a formidable 440-based block that has been poked and stroked to 496 cubic inches. The big, bold, and beautiful 8-71 supercharger compresses the air and fuel from the 750cfm Holley carburetors and sends the mixture right into a pair of Indy 440-1 345cc Max Wedge aluminum cylinder heads. Wisman said the combo has delivered just under 1,300 horsepower so far.
Transmitting the horsepower and torque to the pavement is a two-speed Powerglide transmission that has been coupled to a Gear Vendors overdrive unit. The ladder-bar-equipped machine uses QA1 shocks in the rear and Viking units up front, and weighs in a 3,426 pounds without driver.
“I’ve only done one drag-and-drive,” Wisman says of competing behind the wheel of the A-body Dodge Dart. “We didn’t start the car until 11:30 the night before registration day at Sick Summer, had some leaks, fixed those, started it again at 1:30 in the morning, drove it a block and a block back, loaded it up and went to Cordova the next morning. It didn’t have reverse and we were still having starter issues, but after we got registered, Jess figured out the transbrake solenoid was the wrong one. We changed that and got reverse, but were still having starter issues.”
Despite the bumpy start to his inaugural drag-and-drive experience, Wisman managed to complete the Sick Summer event in 2023.
“We didn’t touch any tuning, any suspension, and averaged a 10-something that week,” Wisman says. “I’m extremely impressed that we made it the whole week.”
Wisman entered the Modified class and clocked a best elapsed time of 9.88 at a coasting 138 mph.
“I want to get my NHRA license and get the car figured out,” Wisman tells us of his plans for the near future. With a roll cage that is good for 7.50s, Wisman is no doubt looking to improve the performance of his Dart on track.
“We’re hoping to get to the mid eights with this motor and setup. Two weeks after Sick Summer, my wife and I got in it and drove two hours to a family dinner and drove it two hours back,” he says, confirming its streetable nature.