By Steve Temple/autoMedia.com
Reliving the Sixties in a Revitalized '68 Hemi Dart -
Longtime fans of musclecars fondly recall the heyday of Mr. Norm, the "King of Hi Performance." Norm Kraus, along with his brother and father, started Grand Spaulding Dodge in 1963 at the corner of Grand and Spaulding in the heart of Chicago. After years of specializing in selling used performance cars at this location, Norm believed that selling new performance cars could be the foundation for a successful dealership. Industry naysayers said that a new car dealership using this business model would never succeed.
|Mecca of Mopar Muscle|
|Norm proved them wrong and, in a relatively short time, Grand Spaulding Dodge became the number one Dodge dealership in the world, garnering the admiration of Mopar fans everywhere. Back in the sizzlin' Sixties, it was the Mecca of Mopar musclecars, epitomizing the spirit and voice of the ultimate in high-performance.|
|Mr. Norm not only revolutionized how performance cars were sold, he also developed innovative Dart prototypes that were later put into production by Chrysler, such as the 383-powered 1967 Dart GT, the first of the series of Grand Spaulding Dodge GSS cars, (GSS standing for Grand Spaulding Special). Later vehicles created by Grand Spaulding Dodge during the muscle-car era include the fabled 1968 440 M-Code Dart GSS and the 1972 Supercharged Demon GSS.|
|What was it like for musclecar customers back then? When a new high-performance Dodge was sold at Grand Spaulding, each vehicle was power tuned by re-jetting the carburetor and re-curving the distributor and installing lightweight springs with full advance at only 800 rpm. Then the car's performance was checked on a Clayton dyno to simulate track conditions at 5000 rpm, and the distributor was locked for peak performance.|
|To indicate this special level of treatment, each high-performance Dodge wore the famous dyno-tune, snorting-ram window decal, along with a Grand Spaulding emblem on the trunk lid. These items let everyone know that you were a member of the Sport Club, and driving a special-edition musclecar, a machine that all comers challenged at their own risk. Among the most prized and notorious of these Mopar machines was the legendary 1968 Hemi Dart. Its thunderous and feared Hemi made it the car to beat.|