Charting the Changes: Landy’s Dart, Smaller Gets Bigger

D andy Dick Landy was already a huge Stock, Super Stock and Factory Experimental star when his compact, A-body-based ’66 Dart match racer hit the strip for the 1966 race season. It replaced a successful string of mid-sized Dodge B-Body Hemi drag machines – the most notable of which was Dick’s factory AWB Coronet hardtop – which was sold, painted red, and made to wear Studio Dodge graphics in its immediate post-Landy incarnation.

The downsizing operation from the semi-stock B-bodies to the mostly tube-framed – but still steel-shell-based A-Body wasn’t unique to Landy’s camp. Sox & Martin, the Ramchargers, Gene Snow, Bud Faubel and others also transitioned from larger B-body race cars to hand-built steel-shell A-Bodies for the ’66 exhibition match race season as a means to keep up with Lincoln-Mercury’s fleet of fiberglass flip-top Comet Cyclones. Simply stated, smaller was faster plus the reduced frontal area of the A-Body was a top end bonus on the strip.

Let’s watch the evolution of Landy’s ’66 Dart as it mutated during its one year of match race glory with this roundup of vintage photos. They depict its various stages of development. We’re not sure what happened to Landy’s Dart after he switched to a WO23 SS/B Coronet for the 1967 race season. If anybody can shed some light, we’re all ears. Until then, lets watch Landy’s Dart evolve.

Here’s an assembly shot taken inside Landy’s Sherman Oaks, CA shop. Note that there’s not much left of the stock Dart unibody: Landy went tube-frame on this one for maximum weight savings. The steel rear quarter panels show signs of wheel-house relocation surgery and the entire frontal section (from the fire wall forward) has been replaced with rectangular steel tubing. Same-vintage photos of ’66 A-body Hemi match racers built by Sox & Martin (the Baccaruda…featured last month), Charlie Allen and Bud “Honker” Faubel show similar techniques. The days of stock shell doorslammer match racers were drawing to a close.