Man Drives to Michigan To Get a 1963 Dodge, His Heart Skips a Beat When He Pops the Hood

1963 Dodge Dart 440 12 photos
Photo: Detail Dane | YouTube
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A detailing expert drove to Brant, Michigan, to get a 1963 Dodge Dart that desperately needed to be cleaned up. Two and a half hours later he was face to face with the rat condominium on wheels.
This 1963 Dodge Dart 440 had last hit the street in 1978 or 1979. The owner can't tell for sure. It was a very long time ago. The car has not seen the sunlight in ages.

Ben had other cars he could drive. So, he just let this one rest for a while. Eventually, it turned out to be a very long while. The third-generation Dart 440 had been his first car.

His father bought it for just $100 and he planned for both his children, a girl and a boy, to drive it. Ben doesn't remember the mileage it came with but he wanted the car all to himself.

He mounted the biggest tires he could find at the time. His sister hated it. She said it steered like a tank. So he called it just like that: Tank. And his sister stayed away from the car.

1963 Dodge Dart 440
Photo: Detail Dane | YouTube
Now, Ben wants to see the good old Dodge Dart back on the road. He can't drive it anymore, but his son can. So he is now sending it to detailing for him. Michael is going to see what lies beneath the layer of dirt for the first time.

Towing it out of the barn it sat in for over 50 years is not easy. The car goes up on the trailer with all the filth it gathered in over half a century. And with the tiny intruders that have turned it into their private condo.

The interior is a mess just like the exterior. There is mice poop inside, and there is mold on the dashboard and steering wheel. The cloth on the seats must have been the victim of mice. It was torn apart.

Once he pops up the hood, his heart skips a beat. There are mice in there as well, feeling like home. Nothing seems to bother their peaceful living. There is no rust around that big block V8 engine, but all the cables and wires must have been eaten out by the rodents.

1963 Dodge Dart 440
Photo: Detail Dane | YouTube
When he opens the trunk, he is prepared. He expects some monster to come out and bite him. But there are no mice in there. Luckily, a Coke can and lubricant bottles from 50 years ago, plus a spare wheel, are the only residents of the trunk.

The detailing starts with the wheels and tires before Detail Dane proceeds with the body covered in dirt. Power-washing it fills up the studio with mud. But the sight of the turquoise shade the car is painted in is rewarding.

The bumpers, grille, beltline, mirrors, and pillars covered in chrome look as good as they did when the car rolled off the assembly line on the first year of production of the Dart third generation. Well, except for those rust spots.

When he starts working on the engine compartment, the mice are gone. They probably found a safer home in his shop. He starts vacuuming what must have been the furniture and decor in their condominium under the hood of the Dodge. He needs to rub everything inside and use a degreaser to get rid of the dirt.

1963 Dodge Dart 440
Photo: Detail Dane | YouTube
Hours later, the exterior is clean, and the polishing stage follows. He wants the Dodge to have that "wow" effect on its new owner, Michael. The paint does get part of its natural shine back. It had turned matte over the years.

The interior is a whole different story. It gathered so much garbage and excrement that it looked like a zoo with no keepers. The floor mats were eaten out by mice.

He removes all the seats that come out and vacuums around what is left on board. The vinyl on the seats cleans up nicely. Once the filth is removed, a light turquoise shade comes out. But there are stains on the fabric that, just won't come out. The driver's seat is torn, so it will need more than just tender love and care and degreaser.

He steams away the mold on the steering wheel and dashboard and the cabin starts to look like in the good old days. Days later, the 1963 Dodge 440 is back in Ben and Michael's yard. It's still plagued with rust, it still doesn't run or drive, but at least it's clean, and that's a good start.

Michael is going to take it to a shop to fix all the internals and get it back on the road to make his dad happy and brag about driving a car that is older than he is. Furthermore, Ben, the father, says that the emblem on the dashboard is from a 1949 Dodge that his old man had.

Even after the detailing, there are still mice under the hood. They seem to be the real owners of the 1963 Dodge Dart 440.

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