1969 Dodge Dart Swinger
As a follow up to my Olds 442 article I thought I would give you a little more insight into doing your own restoration should you choose to go this route. I met with Mike Jubinski a long time Tehachapi resident and no stranger to building and restoring cars and trucks for street, show, and track.
His newest project is an amazing piece of work, designed and built as a multipurpose vehicle, an award winning show car, race car, and yet suitable as a daily driver. When this project began, Jubinski already had clearly decided the purpose and direction he wanted to take. Before beginning a project of this undertaking, he stressed it is vital to have a clear plan and sense of direction as to the intended use be it show, race, or daily driver. To what purpose is the vehicle being built, Sunday drives around town, the drag strip, or show car?
In this case, Jubinski already had a built 440 V8 and 727 transmission he kept from a race truck he had recently sold. While at a show talking cars, he was offered a 1969 Dart, all he had to do was pick it up in Stockton. While it had no engine or transmission,the vinyl roof was peeling off and he had to rebuild the front suspension to roll it out of the garage, the sheet metal was straight with no rust, it was exactly what he was looking for.
His decision to model it after a 1968 Super Stocker would give him the best of all worlds, a show quality car, a race car, and something he could drive around town. He carefully planned what he would need, how it would fit, and what modifications/fabrications needed to be done to make it happen. He planned everything from engine and transmission position to fuel lines, exhaust routing, and custom radiator mounting. While he was able to do his own mechanicals and electrical he lacked tools and knowledge for some of the fabrication. There were two areas of difficulty he experienced at the time of his restoration. The first was parts, he found even from big names distributors parts often didn’t fit properly and the second was finding help to do the quality of work he wanted.
Through the next 5 years he found John Krueger, a local Tehachapi resident whose help with fabrication proved invaluable. D-Man of Bakersfield was used for the caliber of body and paint work this project required. He is thankful for Ron’s skills at Protech Auto when he needed a custom exhaust system made to his exact specifications. The interior is far from stock sporting a full roll cage and no back seat. Due to the tires he required, the rear wheel wells were “tubbed” (extended inward where the rear seat would be) to avoid having the wide tires extend outside the fender wells ensuring clean body lines were kept intact. He opted for Hunsaker suspension seats typically used in off road racing to provide comfortable support while driving.
Jubinski just returned from the Mopar’s At The Strip show in Las Vegas where he was entered in the TRU street challenge. Cars are judged on show quality, race (11.6 second quarter mile, 115 MPH), and drivability - a 20 mile road course to judge vehicle drivability and handling in normal driving conditions. While the results have not yet been released, look for his car very soon to appear in Mopar Muscle Magazine.
Even with almost every single detail planned for and knowing exactly what he wanted in advance, it was still a five year project. Most people just don’t realize how much goes into a project like this so it’s no wonder many get frustrated and quit. When I asked him about his thoughts on completing his project, I was told he couldn’t be happier and takes tremendous pride in his designs and being able to solve issues he was told couldn’t be done. Of course having the help and support of wife Jill, also a car enthusiast,was a great asset to the completion and enjoyment of the project.