I brought out my 1968 Dodge Hemi Dart to Carlisle this year and had to retell the story over and over again, so a member here asked that I put it down on paper, so here is the story as I know it.
The car was purchased by Richard Shipley out of Baltimore, MD from Mr. Norms Grand Spaulding Dodge in Chicago and transported back to Baltimore. Mr. Shipley paid $4600 for it on 6/25/68 according to the sales sheet I have and was signed by Leonard Kraus, Mr. Morms brother and business partner. When the car arrived in Balitmore it was sent over to Jack Arnew for a complete front suspension rebuild, and the engine sent out to be built. It was painted red with a gold stripe at the top and belt line and the roof was painted red with gold "speckaling". Vinyl top moldings were installed to break-up the top and body and Poison Dart was painted on the side along with a pygmy or polynesian man with a blow gun blowing darts onto the lettering. The speed shop that I assume built the engine was lettered on the trunk, Rosedale Speed Shop Baltimore Maryland and other graphics were painted on like Little Richards Auto Exchange, which was his business, and an "atom" looking symbol on the front fenders that I have not been able to find out about yet. Cragar SS wheels were added, then somewhere along the line it got aluminum slots. It was delivered with a 4-speed but got quickly changed to an automatic and ran SS/BA in the NHRA.
Richard only raced it for a couple of seasons then it went to Sam Panuty who advertised it in the National Dragster on September 4, 1970 for sale at $3800 complete race ready with a fresh engine and trans, or less without engine and trans.
It was bought by Joe DeSantis and repainted red and white with Stanton & DeSantis painted on the door and raced in Modified Eliminator. Joe owned it for approximately two seasons then it was sold to Tom Kilbourne who is from Ohio in 1973 and he only had it for a couple of seasons. He built the rear suspension to state-of-the-art specs by adding a track bar to the Dana 60 that was narrowed with short leaf springs, a four link, and wheelie bar mounts for a solid bar. He was planning on racing it in C/MP but was building other cars at the time that were successful so it never got back to the track.
This is where the trail goes cold, we know that it was moved around the country for several years and owners then finally ended-up in Kansas behind a quonset hut stripped to the bone, an old race car put out to pasture.
It was finally rescued by Reed Koepe who runs Reeds Performance in Kearney, NE who put the front suspension back together and got the fiberglass hood and fenders from Jim Kramer. Reed owned it for a short while when I got the opportunity to purchase it on my 42nd birthday 5/2/2010. I have been gathering parts for the last 9 years in anticipation of making it run again, and will eventually paint it back to it's original paint scheme as the Poison Dart!
The engine is currently being built by Bob Riggle of Hemi Under Glass fame. I was helping him out at Mopars at the Strip in 2016 when he sucked a valve on the 69 car a couple months before he rolled it with Jay Leno. As he took off the valve cover and found out he sucked a valve I started telling him I needed a pro to build my Hemi not thinking of him at the time. He stared at me funny as I kept telling my tale, then stared a little harder. That is when I realized that he might like to build my engine and asked him if he would, he said yes!
I delivered my engine to him after the 2017 MATS show and will have an engine in the chassis sometime in the spring of 2018 to install for the first time since 1973!
I took it to Carlisle this year trying to find people who knew the car as it was only raced on the east coast for the first couple of years. I had quite a few people tell me they remember the car, some who worked on the car, and a gentleman that provided me the phone number for the son of Richard Shipley and I talked with him today and will be receiving more pictures and information shortly!