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FROM THE December 2010 ISSUE

Revell 1968 Dodge Dart Hemi

1968 Dodge Dart Hemi
1968 Dodge Dart Hemi 2’n1
Revell No. 85-4217
Model Type: Injection-molded styrene
Molded Colors: White, clear
Scale: 1/25
MSRP: $24.94
Pros: Good fit and finish; excellent detail; it’s a Hemi Dart!
Cons: Not all parts included to build an accurate Hemi Dart
In 1968, Dodge shipped 80 Dart body shells to Hurst Performance, to be transformed into SS/B class drag racing terrors. To do so, they performed all kinds of speed-making voodoo –replacing the fenders and hood with a lightweight fiberglass units, cramming a massive cross-ram Hemi in the engine bay, removing the rear seat, and so on. These “LO23 Hurst Hemi Darts” were sold as race-only vehicles, not intended for (or legal for) street use.

When I learned that Revell was planning to release the excellent GTS kit as a Hemi Dart, I was pretty excited that a Hemi Dart could finally be built without kitbashing – or so I thought.

Revell included many separate parts necessary to build the Hemi version, but they missed some key things that make building an accurate Hemi Dart not possible with just this kit.
The kit box is stuffed with goodies: two engines, two interiors, two rear ends, lots of chrome, and nice decals. The instruction booklet has separate steps for building the different components of the Hemi and the 440 GTS (a rare car itself). Everything is clean, with no flash, and it’s organized well on the trees.

The body looks spot-on and is well done. It’s molded as the GTS version though, so the builder has to perform some body surgery to make the Hemi car. Using cutline guides on the inside of the body, the rear wheel wells have to be enlarged to fit the drag tires. The GTS emblems on the trunk and front fenders and the front side marker lights have to be removed, too. This bodywork would be a challenge for a newbie.

The interior includes a separate bucket (without the rear seat) and a roll bar for the Hemi car. The interior builds up nicely, but I was disappointed that Revell didn’t include a few key Hemi items: the radio/heater delete dash, the lightweight van seats and special mounting brackets, and door panels that don’t have the window cranks molded on. The 1:1 car had belt straps that were used to pull up the lightweight Lexan windows.

The front suspension is accurate, easy to detail, and fits perfectly. A Dana rear end is included for the four-speed Hemi. The leaf springs mount to the rails, so the GTS rear end mounting holes (and GTS exhaust mounting holes) have to be filled in.
The Hemi goes together well, and the magnesium cross-ram intake with twin Holleys is accurate and well detailed. Revell includes a separate firewall, because the master cylinder location on the Hemi car was moved to make room for the engine. The Hemi cars didn’t have power brakes, so the builder should cut off the power brake booster. Don’t mount the battery in the engine bay – they were moved to the trunk.

Hemi Darts were delivered unpainted, so the fiberglass front end/hood would have been raw black and the rest of the body painted with white primer; and they came on 7x14 steelies with itty-bitty tires. I wanted to replicate a Hemi Dart as delivered, but steel wheels aren’t included, so I modeled mine as a racer might have had it at his first track run: I painted the entire car in white primer and installed the kit’s Cragar-esque wheels with the big rear slicks.

Revell released this Dart as a “2’n1” that could be built as the GTS or as a Hemi Dart. Maybe they should have listed it as a Dart GTS with optional parts for a Hemi drag version. It might not be the ultimate answer for an out-of-the-box Hemi Dart, but it sure is the best answer yet. 


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