1969 Dodge Dart GTS M Code 440 - Documented Mr. Norm!
We all know that Mr. Norm is the Godfather of the big block Dart, showing Chrysler how to install a 383 in a '67 model. 640 ""M"" Code 440 powered Dodge Darts were built in 1969 fewer than 95 are known to exist today. About 5%, 33 of them, were sold new at Mr. Norm's Grand Spaulding Dodge.
This M-code, #686 in the 1969 GTS Registry, is significant because it perfectly captures the Mr. Norm's Grand Spaulding experience. The selling price of $3,400 when new included plane tickets for Earl Pappas and his wife to fly into Chicago, IL from their hometown of Baltimore, MD. The factory original invoice ""3-1-69"" is handwritten in the margin, noting the date of delivery to Earl. Earl and his wife flew into Mr. Norm's and drove it home! In early March. Still winter in the Midwest.
This one was optioned out to be the ultimate sleeper, T-5 Copper Bronze, White interior, optional 3.91 rear gear, and full-sized wheel covers with white-walls. It had one job, serving up humble pie to Ford and Chevy guys. The original motor long gone by the time the second when he purchased it, so he commissioned a local performance shop build a proper 440, bored .030 over. He ran 12.50's on pump gas!
Even though it was used as Dodge intended, it also lived a relatively rust-free existence. According to the second owner reported that the car retained all original body panels with only a small pinhole under the gas pedal. The M-Code remained in the Baltimore area until 2006 and to that point, remained unrestored.
By then, the third owner, a prominent Chicago based collector who wanted a '69 Mr. Norm's to complete his collection. It was stripped down to bare metal and treated to the glorious T5 Copper Bronze that it left the Hamtramck Assembly Plant with. Of the many M-Code Darts he owned and restored, this one had the best body of them all. Though restored to stock appearing specifications, he retained that healthy 440 HP mill and rebuilt the 727 Transmission with a full manual reverse pattern valve body. How come? Because it puts you in full control of all that horsepower. It's a formula just too fun to tamper with. Recently, the correct M-code exhaust manifolds were reinstalled to a factory correct exhaust system. A date-code correct 440 intake manifold, boxed and set aside, goes with the car.
Not long after the car's completion, the entire Mr. Norm's Collection was sold to another prominent collector in Canada where it sat in state as part of the collection, still in need of a good shakedown from its zero-mile restoration. In 2018, it sold to the current owner, who tapped the fine folks at Midwest Muscle Car Restoration to finish the shakedown process, addressing some deferred maintenance typically found in garage queens. He also took the time to correct a few cosmetic details made her truly turn-key and road ready. Its sleeper days long over, he thought it fitting for the car to show-off a little, opting to fit the car W18 Simulated ""Mag"" Wheel covers, and T73 Red Streak tires.
Mopar people get it. This is the life these cars stood for, and we live it. We don't buy cars based on what ""the next guy"" might want. Unlike GM stuff, you can tell a Mopar is genuine, even with a replacement block. Heck, even if a Corvette is ""numbers matching"", that doesn't mean its original, or even real. This M-code Dart, and like Mopar collectors in general, doesn't need to impress anyone else.
This car doesn't care what you think of it. No frills, axe-to-face fast, and serving up a fat slice of humble pie to the big ego in the next lane. Why would I buy it? Because I like it. And that is reason enough. You will find this Dart depicted in the Dave Snyder Car Art work, ""Quick and Dependable"". This car isn't simply a Mr. Norm's '69 M-Code. It is now known as ""the"" Mr. Norm's '69 M-Code. When you buy it, you also get a ticket to the 2019 Muscle Car and Corvette Nationals, where this M-Code has been invited to be displayed at the Class of 1969. That said, this car isn't about ""prestige"", it is about preserving real Mopar heritage. No reason you can't be part of the story.