Mr. Norm Grand Spaulding Dodge
If you think Dodge and Mopar didn’t need specialty dealerships and tuning outfits since they got their crazy power straight from the factory, think again. Despite the powerful 383, 440 and the legendary 426 Hemi engines, there was always room for improvement. So, when 28-year-old Norman Kraus opened his dealership in Chicago in 1962, this is exactly what he had in mind.
Back in the early 60’s, the performance market was not an interesting segment for mainstream dealers. But, Mr. Norm wanted exactly that kind of youthful buyer. When the muscle car era launched, Mr. Norm`s dealership was more than ready. They offered a full selection of performance parts, components and cars. But the real climb to fame was the fact that Mr. Norm did something Dodge thought was impossible.
Mr. Norm wanted to put a 383 V8 engine in a compact Dodge Dart body. He knew it would sell because Dart was a lightweight car and with a potent 383, so it would be fast. However, the Dodge engineering team told him the 383 V8 wouldn’t fit the small Dart’s engine bay. So, he ordered a brand-new Dart and a crate 383 V8 engine. In a few days’ time, a Dodge Dart Grand Spaulding Special (GSS) was born.
Each performance car Mr. Norm sold got a special performance tune. He became the guy to see if you wanted your Mopar to be the fastest car on the streets. The original dealership closed in 1980, but Norman Kraus is still active today.