In 1982, I was living back in North Dakota and didn't want to drive the car over the winter, so I found a 1974 4-door Dart that became my "Winter Dart". It only lasted me until 1986. In September 1986, I had a 40th birthday party for me and a 20th birthday party for my Dart, featuring the "Save the Dart" fund. By then, it was in pretty bad shape: holes in the floor, rusty wheel wells, torn roof etc. The next June, I spent $3000 redoing the Dart and it came out looking like a million! But I still needed a winter companion for it. This time, my father found me a 1966 4-door Polara that was the same color as the Dart (turquoise blue). It was a gas hog but I couldn't resist it, so it became "The Dart's Dad." I drove it during the winters until 1994.
In August 1991, when my Dart turned 250,000 miles, I had a group of friends in the car. We pulled over when it turned to 50,000 and had champagne and cake by the side of the road. In 1997 I had a "Dart Vanity Plate Suggestion" Contest and received 137 entries. My top two choices were OBJDART and DART66. I liked OBJDART best but figured it was too obscure for Northern Minnesotans so I picked DART66 because it contains RT 66 within it.
I have a guest book in my glove compartment and anyone who rides in the Dart has to sign it and leave a comment. My favorite one was from my former boss, the late Senator Quentin Burdick (I'd drive him in parades in the Dart). He wrote: "It's real smart to own a Dart." When I'm cruising down the road, guys pull up and ask me if I want to sell my car. My reply? "Buddy, there are only two ways you're going to get this car from me: murder me or marry me." So far, no takers.
I have now switched to Chevy Celebrity wagons and only drive my Dart May-October and mostly around town or within 150 miles of home. Last week, it turned 280,000 miles. For twenty-six years I have been changing the oil (myself) every 2000 miles. I plan to have my Dart as long as I'm here and driving. Along with my dog, it's my best pal. I LOVE my Dart!
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