Dodge made the Dart between 1960 and 1976. It was sold in different parts of the world although it spent its first years in North America. Dart is a trademark name that has changed faster than a chameleon changes colors. It has been on different types of vehicles: it has come as a Charger variation, family sedan, and a compact car. The Dart nameplate disappeared for a long time, but in 2013, it was reintroduced as a compact car derived from a Fiat. Today, we take a look at the long journey of the Dodge Dart.
How did it fair in its early years?
The Dodge Dart came as a full-size model in 1960. It had three trims: the luxurious Dart Phoenix, Pioneer and the base Seneca. It came with a Unibody Plymouth platform. It had 5.2-litre engine in the Phoenix models, a 3.7-litre Slant-6 or an optional 5.9-litre V8. A 6.3-litre V8 engine was added in 1961. This was the end of the first generation.
What did the second generation offer?
The second generation was shorter than Gary Coleman; it was only in 1962. During this year, it was offered as a mid-size car. This alteration was made in response to public demand. Just like in the first generation, the Dart was sold at low prices. It was offered on a unibody "B" platform that was quite light. The platform had asymmetric rear leaf springs and Chrysler's popular torsion bar front suspension.
What happened during the third generation?
The third generation was between 1963 and 1966. During this time, the Dodge Dart was offered as a compact car. The original model had a 2,705 mm (106.5 in) wheelbase, but this compact car came with a longer one: 2,819 mm (111 in). The Dart was offered as a convertible, a station wagon, a 2-door hardtop coupe as well as a 4-or 2- door sedan.
In 1963, the Dart was as popular as John Lennon and the Beatles and this reflected in its numerous sales. The sales were much more than the 1962 Lancer. Until 1976, the Dart maintained its popularity in comparison to the Chevrolet Nova and the Ford Falcon.
This generation of Darts could barely provide space for a 273 hp V8. However, the 1967 model was larger in order to accommodate the fire-breathing 340 which was basically a Plymouth Valiant. These models had a lot of power, but they lost the Dart’s tight and nimble feel.
What about the fourth generation?
This was the final generation, and it lasted between 1967 and 1976. From 1967, the Dodge Dart was redesigned to feature a more conventional look and to accommodate bigger V8s. This new body continued for the rest of the Dart’s lifetime. The Dart also came with a wider frame rail spacing and front track as well as revised steering systems. In 1967, the Dart came with the latest dual-circuit brake hydraulic system which prevented a collapse of the rear brakes just in case the front brakes lost pressure, and vice versa. The fourth generation was marked by upgrades and refreshes, mainly in the cabin. It was during this period that the Dodge Demon was offered as an alternative model. Dodge was forced to change tact in the mid-seventies because the automotive industry was becoming more dynamic. The Dodge Dart was losing its presence. The Dart ceased to exist in 1976.
Did the Dodge Dart make a comeback?
Chrysler resurrected the Dart in 2013. This time it came as a compact sedan. It has lived up to its big name with some impressive sales. It offers numerous options and customizability.