1 2 3 4 5
DennisMotorsports New Reader
2/20/17 1:41 p.m.

So it's been a while since I've updated here. Since my last post, I bought a garage (uh I mean a house). It is so much easier to make progress on things in bits and pieces just by being able to work 20 minutes at a time and not feeling like I wasted a trip to the garage.

In December, the NER SCCA rallycross event always lines up with a hillclimb club's yearly banquet, so I brought the WRX swapped Impreza up for some fun in the dirt

Early 2017 always brings the rallycross with NER at Stafford Speedway. We always bring out our "cooking trailer" - a 14 ft box trailer set up like a food truck- and cook a hot lunch for everyone to shake off the February cold. After the event in December, the Subie decided it didn't want 2nd gear anymore, so it removed itself. As such, the car didn't make it to Stafford. The result of this was racing my tow rig. Miles of smiles ensued.

My girlfriend is a Saab nut, so for her birthday last year, I bought her a Saab 9000. I'm impressed with how quick this thing is. Boost is like an on off switch for traction in the snow. This was her first chance to play with it

In the meantime, I am extremely excited and humbled to have been selected as one of 75 drivers to compete in the 2017 Mt Washington Climb to the Clouds! This event means a lot to me, and I have been dying to run since the first time I attended in 1992 (at 2 months old!). To make this event even sweeter, I will be racing my dad's 1975 Dodge Dart Sport, which he raced at Mt Washington in 2001, and under the hood will be the 440 big block engine that he used in his modified to run again in 2011! The car needs some serious work on the suspension before I feel comfortable running it up Mt Washington, so it's now undergoing surgery. First steps were taken over the weekend in weighing the car and disassembling the front suspension. I played around with a time lapse video for the first time. Video is very short, but was a good learning experience and I'll be happy to document this build.


DennisMotorsports New Reader
3/3/17 11:32 a.m.

Just a quick update. Been working on the suspension redesign. Really trying to get it right this time. I can say with absolute certainty, the CAD saved me from at least 3 major setbacks that I would have come across without it. It's kind of funny, I posted this on a classic Mopar Facebook page, and half the responses were that I should have just bought an off the shelf kit. I feel like the whole "it's about the journey, not the destination" is lost on a lot of people who preach it.

My goal is to have the design complete, and all off the shelf parts ordered by the end of this weekend.

Blazer178 New Reader
3/4/17 5:41 p.m.

lucky you with the cad also the boy and I will be at mt Washington too...... just make sure you do a bit of testing before doing a hill climb Butch King #178

DennisMotorsports New Reader
3/4/17 6:22 p.m.

Thanks Butch! Saw you guys got in. Chris's new body looks sweet! Planning on running a few "autocrosses" beforehand

Blazer178 New Reader
3/5/17 7:10 a.m.

cool I am planning on doing some track days and hope I can do both Ascutney and Okemo and am hoping to get the wheel hop out of it plus sccnh is having a 2 day event at cannan motor club before Washington where I plan on doing some more testing.

Ryed New Reader
3/5/17 5:31 p.m.

In reply to Blazer178: Looking forward to seeing both of you guys @ Mt. Washington, if not sooner. David, we should both do well in our class... Not so much! Erik "Polar Express"

DennisMotorsports New Reader
3/6/17 10:08 a.m.

In reply to Ryed:

Hey Erik, we will certainly have our work cut out for us at CTTC! I'm hoping for top ten in class

DennisMotorsports New Reader
3/20/17 9:17 a.m.

Made a fair amount of progress the last few weeks. The design on the K-frame is more or less finished, and I started building. First order of business was to give myself some working space. I used some 2x4 and plywood and made myself a nice 3 foot x 8 foot workbench for my basement.

Then I started piecing together the K-Frame. I made the mounting points out of 2x2 square tube, and bolted them to the car, then started adding tubes and tacking it together.

I got the motor mounts and steering rack mounts in place and tacked together, and I'm waiting on some suspension parts to make the lower control arm mounts, so I pulled the K-frame out to weld up what I have so far.

DennisMotorsports New Reader
3/28/17 2:32 p.m.

More updates: I put together a complete time lapse video of the work done so far since February. https://www.youtube.com/embed/fToIbO0I3H4

I used the lathe at work to make tie rod connectors to mate the Mustang inner tie rods to 5/8" heim joints. Knurling is pretty cool! I am also planning on milling a flat on one or both ends to fit a wrench.

The next step for mounting the suspension was welding on upper A-arm mounts. To get these in the proper location, I had to cut out a section of the factory frame rail. After I welded the mounts in, I boxed the ends of the section I cut out, bent a piece of tube to weld between the plates, and welded it all together. Should be stronger than it ever was

DennisMotorsports New Reader
4/11/17 2:45 p.m.

More progress over the weekend. Got the front suspension just about finished up. Just need to do some calculations to figure out my spring rates, and make some spacers to finish bolting it all together.

I then turned my attention to the inside of the car. The factory master cylinder just couldn't push enough fluid to operate these giant late model brakes, so I pillaged my dad's shop for the dual reservoir Wilwood pedal box he had in his last modified. I made some mounting brackets from 1/8" sheet, and I need to figure out how I'm going to mount them to the firewall. I'd rather weld them in, but I don't want it to be so permanent before I test it out. So I'm thinking I'll weld some flat plates to the firewall and bolt through them for now.

As Mt Washington will be the biggest event I've ever run to this point, I'm going to try to make the car a bit more presentable. Starting with straightening the sheet metal from years of "slight offs" at hillclimbs. My buddy Dan came over this weekend and started taking care of some of that. Regrettably, I did not take a "before" picture, but this quarter hit more than one tree in the past. Looking better already

DennisMotorsports New Reader
4/17/17 10:41 a.m.

Progress this weekend:

Put the pedal mount brackets to use. The pedal box is rough mounted. Need to get the steering shaft finish mounted before I mount it for real.

Next step was headers. It is very hard to find headers that fit a Mopar A body with a big block, and impossible to find a set that fits one with a custom K frame and mustang steering rack. So enter Jeg's weld-up header kit for a sprint car, a lot of cutting and a lot of welding.


more mockup:

and finished:

16 hours start to finish. Prime rib and beer on Easter Sunday was much needed.

DennisMotorsports New Reader
4/24/17 10:07 a.m.

Another good weekend of progress. My buddy TJ came over and got rid of all the unnecessary wiring that had been added under the dash over the years, and really cleaned it up. Pulled the motor out to finish welding some bracing on the frame rail and suspension pickups. While it was out, I painted under the hood. Gloss machine gray. Light enough that you can see everything, but doesn't get so dirty so quickly like white.

Also painted the K-Frame silver while it was off the car.

Meanwhile, Dan was working hard on the back of the car. The driver's quarter is pretty straight now, and doesn't really need any sheet metal replaced. Passenger side was not so lucky.

Dan started straightening out the top, then cut out a bunch of rot and made a patch panel.

We were up till 3am Sunday in the garage, and back at it by 10. Got the motor back in, and running with the new headers by 5 pm on Sunday. Man this thing is loud, but boy does it sound sweet!


DennisMotorsports New Reader
5/1/17 2:10 p.m.

Well this weekend was the first test of the year for the Mad Max Dart. ADSI Autocross in Quonset, RI was the testing grounds.

The day started with blowing a fuse on the ignition circuit-twice. Come to find out the alternator voltage regulator was on the fritz, and the voltage was spiking to 18+V. Disconnected the alternator and problem solved. It would run at 14V at an idle, so I could charge the battery between runs.

Next issue was that the car started misfiring over 4500 RPM- probabaly related, and I think the coil is going bad. Good thing the 440 has gobs of torque, short shifting wasn't really an issue.

I had the GoPro studying the front suspension, so after the first couple runs, I could tell the springs were coil binding. My goal was the softest spring I could get away with without bottoming out the shocks. 20 minutes later, I had a new set of springs swapped in, and was ready to go again.

Anyway, I got some video of the day and edited it here:


Things I've taken away: 1. Motor mount bolts need lock nuts. 2. Need a brace between shock mounts.

DennisMotorsports New Reader
5/2/17 9:27 a.m.

April is over, so here is the second installment of the Mad Max Dart in the Garage time lapse video! This one covers the last month of work, condensed into less than 8 minutes! Can't thank enough the people who have stopped by to help. I wish they would drink less of my beer though.


DennisMotorsports New Reader
5/8/17 12:16 p.m.

Weekend progress update: Got the old cage cut out, and started on the new one, built to FIA specs, per my class rules at Climb to the Clouds. Main structure is pretty much done.

In the meantime, the new suspension setup has pushed the front track width up by about 3" per side. Which means the fenders wouldn't fit. Enter Dan, my resident sheet metal expert (I'm gonna owe him big time by the time CTTC rolls around). HOLY FENDER FLARES BATMAN!!



DennisMotorsports New Reader
5/9/17 9:24 a.m.

We have T-Shirts! Figured I'd post here in case anyone is interested. My awesome girlfriend designed these event shirts for my race up Mt Washington. Check them out here:

Mad Max Dart T-Shirts!

DennisMotorsports New Reader
5/16/17 11:33 a.m.

Another progress update:

Pictures were posted from the ADSI HPDS Autocross in April. Think I found my traction issue:

Cage is getting close to being finished:

Shock hoop reinforcement was done in two parts. A bar that bolts to each side, and a bar thru the firewall that connects the hoop to the cage.

Meanwhile, Dan was at it again with the sheet metal. He used the side panel off my dad's late model he ran at Mt Washington in 2011 to make a new transmission tunnel. Riv nuts and bolts are much nicer than the self tapping sheet metal screws that held the old one in.

mazdeuce MegaDork
5/16/17 11:46 a.m.

There aren't enough comments telling you how remarkable this build is. I read and I watch and I don't know what to say, it's all far beyond any of the wrench turning I'm capable of. Good luck heading up the mountain.

DennisMotorsports New Reader
5/16/17 12:15 p.m.

In reply to mazdeuce:

Thanks! That means a lot!

TheV8Kid Reader
5/16/17 1:13 p.m.

This is some neat stuff. I missed this one.

DennisMotorsports New Reader
5/17/17 10:11 a.m.

In reply to TheV8Kid:


Also, edited previous posts to fix broken image links

Crackers HalfDork
5/17/17 11:28 a.m.

Those flares are awesome! Kudos to Dan!

DennisMotorsports New Reader
5/17/17 1:38 p.m.

In reply to Crackers:

I keep telling him how amazing his sheet metal work is, and he keeps telling me "I'm just a guy with a hammer!"

NOHOME PowerDork
5/17/17 2:25 p.m.

These fenders are pretty inspired. What are you using to shape tin? You have an e-wheel in the corner?

DennisMotorsports New Reader
5/17/17 2:34 p.m.

In reply to NOHOME:

I wish I had an english wheel. These flares were made with a $35 body and fender set from Harbor Freight, believe it or not.

Body and Fender set

Dan and I spent a long time discussing how I wanted these to look, and he nailed it for sure.

1 2 3 4 5
Our Preferred Partners