Many of America’s most successful companies can trace their roots to basements, tool sheds and spare bedrooms. Like Hewlett-Packard, Boeing, and Apple Computer, Dart Machinery began in humble surroundings. Richard Maskin founded Dart in 1981 in a two-car garage in Oak Park, Mich. In the years since Maskin started his business with desk and a telephone, Dart has become the leader in aftermarket cylinder heads, intake manifolds and engine blocks.
Maskin is well known to drag racing fans as a mechanical mastermind whose engines have won NHRA Pro Stock championships and dozens of national events. Like many successful entrepreneurs, Maskin turned his passion for drag racing into a thriving enterprise.
The seeds were planted when Maskin raced a variety of drag racing machines that ranged from Modified Production Camaros to Pro Stock Gremlins. He developed raised intake runners, offset pushrods, and sheetmetal intake manifolds for his innovative Pro Stock engines in the mid-’70s – breakthroughs that were quickly imitated by rival racers. Eventually Maskin learned how to produce complete cylinder heads from scratch. This hands-on experience laid the foundation for Dart Machinery.
The company’s first products were aluminum Hemi cylinder heads that dominated the Top Fuel and Funny car categories. These purpose-built heads provided the power that ultimately broke drag racing’s 300 mph barrier and produced the first four-second Funny Car elapsed time.
Maskin’s Pro Stock roots were evident in the Race Series heads for big-block Chevrolet V8s that soon followed. In recent years, Dart’s spread-port Big Chief heads have set the standard in classes ranging from Pro Street to Pro Mod. This tradition of innovation continued with the introduction of affordable Iron Eagle and PRO 1 cylinder heads for small-block and big-block Chevy V8s.
The company has expanded its product line to include aluminum and cast-iron engine blocks that are designed to meet the specialized needs of racers and performance enthusiasts. Dart components are developed in-house, manufactured on Dart’s own CNC machining centers, and tested on Dart’s computer-controlled engine dyno.
Maskin keeps current with the continuous advances in racing technology through Dart’s in-house engine program. Dart also supports the sport as an NHRA and IHRA Major Sponsor.
“Our engine program and our daily interaction with leading engine builders and winning racers keeps Dart on the leading edge of technology,” Maskin explains. “We apply everything we learn to produce more powerful and more reliable parts for Dart customers.”
Dart Machinery’s Technology Center in Troy, Mich., houses the company’s administrative offices, the R&D headquarters, and inspection, machining and warehouse operations. The immense CNC machining centers that produce Dart heads and blocks from raw castings are located in a separate manufacturing facility in nearby Melvindale.
Dart Machinery was started with a desk, a telephone, and a dream. Today Dart is the acknowledged leader in producing race-winning components.