Steve Lowry from Napanee, ON, Canada is another one of our Facebook friends who decided to share his muscle car story with our followers from all around the world. This time you’re looking at beautifully restored 1969 Dodge Dart Swinger with numbers matching 340 Four Barrel V8 mounted to A833 four speed manual. Check out the video and then read the full story below.

This car was driven to Alberta in 1970 by an American Native lad from Idaho. He sold it then to Roy Unser for only $250 because the transmission wasn’t working. Roy fixed the transmission but he only drove it for a few years before parking it beside his barn…for twenty-four years! He was going to fix it up “some day.”

Jim Stevenson, Smiths Falls, bought the 1969 Dodge Dart Swinger in 2000 and he is responsible for the initial restoration. All body panels are straight and original; the car has never been winter driven; has no rust and still has the original, factory undercoating. Steve has the original build sheet, including the impressions from the seat springs.


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Steve’s first car, ordered in late 1968, was the mate to this one except for the colour – and the price. After looking for several years, he was surprised to see this one in Auto Trader in Aug. 2003 in an Ontario “613” area code. His wife, Deb, who lost one of her best friends that week, said to him, “Make a call about that muscle car. Life is too short.” Two weeks later, it was in his garage.

dodge dart swinger 340

Since then, Steve has continued the 1969 Dodge Dart Swinger restoration including re-chromed bumpers and tail light bezels by Cambridge Chroming, restored front grill, replaced the steering wheel with a restored wood grain original by Mike Tarkington, Texas, and removed and had dash bezels re-chromed. And hours and hours of detailing that Hemi-orange!

hemi orange dodge dart swinger

In 2005, Kingston Auto Maxx replaced the exhaust system of the ’69 Dart Swinger with new 2.5 inch stainless steel, Flowmaster 40 series mufflers with an h-pipe. This exhaust system, combined with the Crane Fireball Cam and the 340 Four Barrel motor give the car it’s distinctive, bad-ass sound.

In the winter of 2006, the auto transmission was converted to an original A833 four-speed with Hurst shifter and linkage. The engine was detailed by bead-blasting and repainting components, installing a new Holley 650 carburetor and added new Mopar valve covers.

1969 dodge dart swinger 4-speed restoration

In the winter of 2011/12, a full body-off restoration was done by Jim and Tony Stevenson at Schur’s Custom Auto Body Shop in Smiths Falls. Steve kept all original parts after each improvement of his 1969 Dodge Dart Swinger.

He drives the “Rocket” to lots of car events and has a large collection of plaques and trophies to show for it. Even more important though, he loves telling people the story about his car.

1969 dodge dart 340 four barrel 4-speed

Steve has been the President of the Napanee Valley Cruisers classic car club in Napanee, Ontario since 2006 … quite possibly a job for life! You can see his pride and joy at the Monday night Cruise Night at the Napanee No Frills (May – October), Wednesday nights at the Napanee A&W and at the Napanee Canada Day Show and Shine. Check out Napanee Valley Cruisers on Facebook.


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