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An American Legacy

An American Legacy:

Mr. Norm’s 1968 GSS Hemi Dart

From: Larry and Debbie Weiner

The 1968 Hemi Dart is among the most notorious muscle cars ever to cruise America’s roads and drive-ins. Its thunderous and feared Hemi™ made it the car to beat, on the street or strip.

The Mr. Norm’s GSS Hemi Dart is an American legacy. 

Only a few were built in 1968, and now Mr. Norm is creating a few more, never to exceed the original number. Each vehicle has its own production number and comes complete with build book, production sheet, build order and is delivered by Mr. Norm himself, just as he did back in 1968.

When you think of Dodge dealers who epitomized the spirit and voice of the ultimate high performance Mopar®, there’s only one… the legendary Mr. Norm’s Grand Spaulding Dodge in the heart of Chicago. Known as the “King of Hi Performance,” Mr. Norm revolutionized how performance cars were sold and went so far as to create such vehicles as the prototype 383 Dart GTS and the famed M-Code 440 Dart, both of which were later put into production by Chrysler. 

With this kind of commitment to offering the most powerful Dodge’s in the country, it’s no surprise that Mr. Norm also sold the majority of the legendary Hurst/Campbell-built 1968 Hemi Darts.

Now, for a limited time, a select number of enthusiasts have the rare opportunity to repeat history with the availability of the Mr. Norm’s GSS Hemi Dart.  Built using the finest 21st century parts and accessories, this is the Hemi Dart that Mr. Norm would have offered in 1968 had the technology and products existed. The Mr. Norm’s GSS Hemi Dart exceeds the performance of the original in every category, making it a far superior vehicle. Just like he did in 1968, Mr. Norm is once again revolutionizing the way performance vehicles are created and sold.

Mr. Norm and GSS Hemi Dart at 2007 GNRS


Mr Norms 1968 GSS Hemi Dart Front

Mr. Norm and GSS Hemi Dart at 2007 GNRS


Mr Norms 1968 GSS Hemi Dart Front

The Restoration Process

An American Legacy Reborn

A true frame off restoration involves dismantling a vehicle…every part, every nut and every bolt…so it can be rebuilt to better than factory standards. The process requires special tools and fixtures, an inordinate amount of time, a significant amount of research and unending skill and craftsmanship. Blue Moon Motorsports, the exclusive builder for the Mr. Norm’s 1968 GSS Hemi Dart Program, is well known for its restoration skills. Its staff of 18 professionals brings more than three hundred years of experience in the restoration process, and the company facilities are among the most modern and best equipped in the country.

Mr Norms GSS Hemi Dart Interior 2


Hemi Dart Interior 3

Mr Norms GSS Hemi Dart Interior


Hemi Dart Interior

When an original 1968 Dart is brought into the shop it is immediately dismantled with each part closely examined to determine whether it can be restored or needs replacement. If replacement is the best alternative, hours of research go into finding a like part. When no parts are available, parts are hand made to original specifications with metals of the same alloy and weight.

With the vehicle dismantled, the body shell is placed on a rotisserie so it can be thoroughly cleaned to bare metal with a special water blasting process. This water jet technology uses varying pressure and water specially treated with a rust inhibitor. Paint, primer, undercoating, years of dirt and even old factory fillers are gently removed, layer by layer. The remaining bare, shiny metal is smooth and free from pits that more aggressive media, such as plastic and sand, leave behind. Having clean, bare metal allows the restorer to examine every inch of the vehicle…inside, outside and underneath.

Professional metal fabricators correct original imperfections in the sheet metal by using hand dollies to work the metal to its intended original shape. Replacement parts, if any, are spot welded into place at the factory seams with a finished result so precise that it is undetectable. No fillers are used; instead the metal is hand contoured to the original shape. Once repairs are complete, an epoxy primer is applied to the entire vehicle to ensure that it will be rust-free for many years to come. This begins the prep and paint process.

Mr Norms GSS Hemi Dart Dash


Hemi Dart Steering Wheel Detail

Mr Norms GSS Hemi Dart Dash


Hemi Dart Steering Wheel Detail

Moved into a custom crafted preparation station, the body is hand sanded and primed three times to guarantee a perfectly smooth surface for paint. No ripples, no scratch marks, no imperfections. The preparation process can take up to 400 hours to complete. After receiving the final wet sanding by hand with special paper that is almost as smooth as a piece of paper, the body is ready for paint and taken into a specialty paint booth with exact airflow to ensure even coats of sealer, base paint, intermediate tinted clear and the final clear coats. The body is baked at 150 degrees for thirty minutes; just enough to cure the surface, and then allowed to air dry for 48 hours.

Two days later, the body, now dry, is removed from the paint booth and wet sanded by hand with 2000 grit paper to guarantee an even clear coat that has great depth and proper hue. Forty hours later, the wet sanding is complete and buffing the vehicle begins. From the sanded dull surface comes a miraculous sheen that will look great for years.

Mr Norms GSS Hemi Dart Dash Placque


Mr. Norms 1968 GSS Hemi Dart LF2

Mr Norms GSS Hemi Dart Dash Placque


Mr. Norms 1968 GSS Hemi Dart Left Front

Up to this point, nothing has been reassembled. This is where the hundreds of hours pay off. At this time, the new stroked 426 Hemi dual quad engine, the driveline, upgraded suspension, brakes and cooling systems, along with all related systems are installed, carefully applying the right torque to all nuts and bolts. From the gas tank to the coil over shocks, the vehicle begins to take shape. New wiring, plumbing and restored gauges are installed. The interior is completely sound and heat insulated. Carpeting is put into place, door and kick panels installed and seats bolted down for safety. With a new headliner and dash pad in place, auxiliary gauges are put into position, five point seat restraints are bolted down and the interior is complete.

On the outside, fenders, doors hood and trunk are positioned squarely, making certain all gaps are even and within factory specifications. Trim and bright work is installed, certified emblems are applied and glass is put into its final position. As soon as the car is placed on the ground for the first time since being dismantled, the engine is fired up and final quality checks are done. Before test driving the new Mr. Norm’s GSS Hemi Dart, a wheel alignment is performed and all suspension components are preloaded and adjusted.

As each restored vehicle is driven for the first time and emerges from the shop doors, sunlight grabs the three stage paint. Time shifts back to 1968 as the most notorious of all muscle cars rolls confidently to its real home, asphalt. This is how an American automotive legacy is born. It’s new, it’s perfect and it’s unmistakably a Mr. Norm’s GSS Hemi Dart.

Mr Norms 1968 GSS Hemi Dart LF Side


Mr Norms GSS Hemi Dart Brakes

Mr Norms 1968 GSS Hemi Dart Left Front Side


Mr Norms GSS Hemi Dart Brakes

GSS Hemi Engines

Every Mr. Norm’s GSS Hemi engine is carefully and professionally prepared using only the finest brand new parts. All parts are hand selected for performance, durability and efficiency. Each engine begins with a new Chrysler 426 Hemi block with a standard bore, but despite the block being new, the block is hot tanked and magnufluxed to ensure its integrity. Every dimension is measured to guarantee we are starting with the best available block with the tightest tolerances.

Each part used to build the motor is the best available, guaranteeing longevity and pure performance. All rotating assembly components are either billet steel, forged aluminum or tool steel, the kind of materials only a Mr. Norm’s GSS Hemi demands. Even better, these engines run on pump gas. It doesn’t get better than that.

GSS All Aluminum Hemi Engines
Every once in a while, great things happen. Mr. Norm’s GSS Program is now taking the Hemi engine to a new level: An all new aluminum block Hemi. This is not the small, modern day Hemi, but a recrafted 426 Hemi made of 356-T6 aluminum…the real deal gone wild. When compared to its iron block counterpart, it simply means better performance, more power, lighter weight, still runs on pump gas and gives the owner pure, unabashed bragging rights. 

Just like the iron block, two configurations are offered: 472 cubic inches and 528 cubic inches. Each engine begins with a freshly made and machined 426 aluminum Hemi block with a standard bore. It is then strengthened to stand up to the most strenuous conditions so you get an additional 35-40 horsepower and a lot more RPM’s. Each part used to build these aluminum block motors is the best available, guaranteeing longevity and pure performance. All rotating assembly components are either billet steel, forged aluminum or tool steel, the kind of materials a Mr. Norm’s GSS Hemi demands. Even better, these engines run on pump gas. It doesn’t get better than that.

There is one catch: These all aluminum Hemi engines are offered only as availability allows.

Mr Norms GSS Hemi Dart 528 Hemi Engine 2


Mr Norms GSS Hemi Dart 528 Hemi Engine

Mr Norms GSS Hemi Dart 528 Hemi Engine


Mr Norms GSS Hemi Dart 528 Hemi Engine

GSS Transmissions

Mr. Norm’s GSS Hemi Dart program is teamed with Mr. Gasket™ / Hurst™ to remain true to the original vehicles Mr. Norm sold back in 1968. Choosing the proper transmissions and Hurst parts was easy, and choosing the right builder was even easier. Bowler Performance Transmissions has been preparing bulletproof units for three decades and has gained a reputation of setting the standard for high horsepower and high torque applications. Just as in the original vehicle, the 727 Torqueflite automatic and the A833 4-speed are the transmissions of choice. 

GSS Nodular Differential
The Dana 60 differential was the mainstay of all Mopar muscle cars sporting the Max Wedge and Hemi powertrains. It was rugged, easy to build and could accommodate just about any gear and posi combination. Rather than find old casings that have been beaten up over the years, Mr. Norm’s has had new nodular units built that are tougher than the originals. Sporting 4.10 gears and bulletproof components for that “seat-of-the-pants” Hemi launch, Mr. Norm’s GSS Hemi Darts are unparalleled performers. Choose a Detroit Locker™ or Power Lock™ and you’re ready to rock ‘n roll.

GSS Chassis & Suspension
Handling, ride comfort, driver feel, safety and overall performance is not determined by how much power a vehicle has, but by the way that power is channelled and controlled. The Mr. Norm’s GSS Hemi Dart has incorporated the most advanced suspension systems available to ensure better handling, superb high performance ride comfort, exceptional driver feel, ensured safety and power that is put where it’s meant to go…the asphalt.

All unitized body vehicles experience stress and twisting under load. To minimize this unwanted action, Mr. Norm's GSS Hemi Darts are all built with custom sub-frame connectors from Control Freak Suspensions. To accommodate the massive 285/40-17 Pirelli P-Zero ultra performance tires, the rear wheel houses have been enlarged by three inches, and the stock spring mounts have been relocated to new and stronger torque boxes custom made by Blue Moon Motorsports, the exclusive builder for the Mr. Norm's GSS Hemi Dart.

Mr. Norm demanded that the front suspension system incorporates upper and lower control arms with coil over performance shocks. And the whole K-member had to be crafted from exceptionally strong Drawn Over Mandrel (DOM) seamless tube. Teaming up with Control Freak Suspensions™, Mr. Norm developed a front suspension system that eliminates old technology torsion bars, moderates under- and oversteer with a state-of-the-art rack and pinion, and offers light weight coupled with exceptional strength and handling. 

In the rear, Mr. Norm’s GSS utilizes a nodular Dana 60-style differential that is held securely in place by the latest in leaf spring technology. Mr. Norm selected a split monoleaf spring supported by unique traction bars designed to improve overall traction and handling. The fully adjustable traction bars change the pushing point on the car and help weight shift towards the rear while maintaining the correct pinion angle, eliminating any bind whatsoever.

With a well reinforced chassis, the best suspension technologies available, and exclusive brake systems for surefire stopping power, it's okay to wind up the 4.10 gears. The first time you take control of this vehicle, you will instantly know that this Mr. Norm's GSS really puts the power to the ground, in a very effective way.

Mr. Norms 1968 GSS Hemi Dart LF


Mr. Norms 1968 GSS Hemi Dart Right Rear

Mr. Norms 1968 GSS Hemi Dart Left Front


Mr. Norms 1968 GSS Hemi Dart Right Rear

Investor Grade Vehicles

Investment & Market Sustainability
The 2006 version of the Barrett-Jackson collector car auction, which took place January 14 to 22 in Scottsdale, Arizona, set a new world record of more than $100 million in sales. That’s up significantly from what was considered an unbelievable $68 million in 2005. An impressive gain in just one year , but it's indicative of a market that, as a whole, has been doing an 18-month-long version of a drag racer's tire-squealing, smoky burnout. The collector car market has shrugged off the malaise it suffered since the early 1990s, and done it in a big way. At that time, enthusiastic but ill-informed dot-com-style speculators and briefcase brokers, who owned nothing and, in many cases, had no knowledge of collector vehicles, drove up the prices of everything from Ferraris to Fiats. The ensuing crash put hundreds of these wannabe investors underwater and left a bad taste in the mouths of many more.

Things are different today. Most of the recent gains appear sustainable because of the influx into the collector car hobby of baby boomers who are passionately pursuing the aspirational cars of their youth.


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