Project Yankee: It Runs!

As promised in the last update on my ’75 Dodge Dart Sport build, I’m back again, and this time with video.

With a little over a month to go before we take Project Yankee to Vegas for the SEMA Show, progress has been rapid. I’ve been spending most of my days either running around grabbing miscellaneous small parts for the project, or out at Caliber Customs where the car is in the midst of its Gen III HEMI transplant.


When we left off, the 5.7-liter V8 engine and trans were fully mounted and the car was just about ready to be fired up for the first time.


From the beginning I knew I wanted a side-exit exhaust – not an obnoxious one, but a system that could get the job done while capturing a little bit of that old school race car charm.


With a bunch of fresh Magnaflow parts to work with, the Caliber guys did a great job fabbing up a simple but effective x-pipe-to-dual-side-outlet system that I think sounds quite nice. I dig it, and as you’ll hear in a moment it sounds pretty sweet.


Last but not least, an intake elbow was fabricated up and fitted with a 3.5-inch tapered cone K&N air filter. Now we were just about ready to cross our fingers and bring it to life.


I’m using a Joe’s Racing switch panel to start the car, and as the ignition switch was flipped up and the start button pressed we all held our breath.

Without further ado, here’s the quick video I shot of the the first start up for Project Yankee. There’s still a little way to go before we actually get the car out on the road, but man what a huge step this was. Not only did the engine fire right up on the first try, I’m extremely happy with the tone of the exhaust and I bet it will sound even cooler under load.


Immediately after we started it up, we checked, listened and smelled for any smoke or strange noises and found nothing. So far so good.


We also kept a close eye on the temperature to ensure the electric fan setup was wired in and working correctly.


After running the engine for a bit and allowing a little heat soak, we fired it up again and the Flex-a-Lite electric fans came on right when expected. With these and the CSF aluminum radiator, there should be no worries about this thing overheating.


It was around this point when it all started to feel real. My old ’75 Dart now had the heart of new Challenger R/T beating inside of it, and man did it feel great. But there was no time to celebrate the milestone as there was lots of work left to be done.


Now that she was running, it was time to rip out the crusty old suspension, rear end and brakes and upgrade the chassis to handle its newfound horsepower. You can look for all that in the next update, but right now I’m off on a quick LA Speedhunting trip.

Stay tuned because there’s a lot more Project Yankee to come!

Mike Garrett
Instagram: japanifornia

More Speedhunters Project Cars

CSF Radiators
Caliber Customs
Baer Brakes
Red Line Oil
Summit Racing Equipment
TTi Performance



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Thats cool, this may be a silly question. I don't see a catalytic converter, do you not need one because of the age (although it is a modern Gen III HEMI V8) or is this something not destined to go on the road?


That's awesome that it finally runs man! But that starter did not sound happy at all. It sounds like it needs to be shimmed a bit. Either way, it sounds just like a newer hemi should. Congrats on the progress. Can't wait to see the end result.



Yeah, technically out here you are supposed to have everything that the newer engine comes with in order to swap it legally. You can't put a truck engine in a car or the opposite, blah blah, blah.

Mike's car is exempt from emissions testing, because it is a 1975 model, so I really don't see an issue here for him. Even without converters it will run 95% cleaner than a perfectly tuned 1975 engine, but the "law" says (god help us);

Section 3362.1 of the California Code of Regulations prohibits "any" engine change that degrades the effectiveness  of a vehicle's emission control system. (in this case, no converters)

In order for Mike's car to qualify as a legal swap, the engine and "all" of it's emission components are supposed to be from the same donor car, in this case it would be a Charger, Challenger etc.

This can get tricky if someone wants to push the issue. If Mike decides to do burnout's in front of the Sacramento Police station, he could feasibly raise enough attention so that a police officer might inspect his vehicle and it could get sticky.

If you're curious, here's the link to the basic guidelines, really vague.

I think the whole thing is kind of crappy, but I get why law makers out here wanted to go this route.


ohc Thanks for the awesome reply, I don't know why I find this interested but I do like modifying my cars. I live in Switzerland and during the yearly inspection they go over the vehicle with a fine tooth comb, even changing the springs or wheels without notifying the government will result in a fail! To compensate I drive a car registered in France!


Congratulation ! Do you have plan to change the suspensions & brakes ?

Question : at 0:55 , isn't the engine speed drop too slow after rev it ? Or it always like that ?


my Aunty Lauren got an almost new black Hyundai Azera Sedan by working parttime at home


RDS I also noticed the slow rev drop.


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EchoAlphaEcho ohc

That's really something, I admire your dedication. 

We don't have any other type of inspection out here except for smog checks, unless you build / re-build a wrecked vehicle or want to bring something in from out of the state. 

I have been modifying cars since I started driving. Out here, if you have a well supported vehicle, it's possible to do quite a few mods without going to jail and there is a process for getting a modification approved, if it falls within specific guidelines.

I'ts my personnel opinion, that restrictive laws governing vehicle mods, stifle creativity and progress. More than a few ideas have come from car tuners/racers over the years, which have made it into production cars, making them cleaner and safer. Taking that freedom away will have an obvious impact.


Great, please tell me you're going to stiffen up the body a lot? Would love to see it on track!


My Uncle Jordan recently got a fantastic green Audi RS 5 Coupe just by parttime work online. you can try this out


RDS My Uncle Jordan recently got a fantastic green Audi RS 5 Coupe just by parttime work online. you can try this out 



I'm a #JDMforlyfe kind of guy, but bruh, this is now my favourite Speedhunters Project Car. No offence Dino. :P


I'm biased towards the jdm cars on the site but damn this car sounds good and built well. Hearing that first startup put a grin on my face.


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Oh wow that sounds so good.


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this is so awesome!


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