Wednesday 20 January 2016
The original Dodge Dart is an automobile built by Dodge from 1960 to 1976 in North America, with production extended to later years in various other markets. The Dart nameplate was resurrected for a Fiat-derived compact car introduced in 2013.
The Dart name originally appeared on a 1957 show car featuring a body designed by the Italian coachbuilder Carrozzeria Ghia. The production Dart was introduced as a lower-priced, shorter wheelbase, full-size Dodge in 1960 and 1961, became a mid-size car for 1962, and finally was a compact from 1963 to 1976.
For 1963, Dodge made a last-minute decision to drop the Lancer name in favor of Dart for Dodge's newly designed "senior compact", a marketing term referring to the wheelbase having grown to 111 in (2,819 mm) from the Lancer's 106.5 in (2,705 mm). This longer wheelbase used the same A-body suspension of the Valiant and defunct Lancer, and would underpin all Darts from 1963 to 1976 except the 1963–1966 station wagons which used the Valiant's (106 in (2,692 mm) wheelbase) and the 1971–1976 Demon/Sport which used the Plymouth Duster's 108 in (2,743 mm) wheelbase. The longer wheelbase gave more rear seat legroom than the previous Lancer or the contemporaneous Valiant. The Dart was available as a 2- or 4-door sedan, a 2-door hardtop coupe, a station wagon, and a convertible. Three trim levels were offered: the low-spec 170, the high-spec 270, and the premium GT, which was available only as a 2-door hardtop or convertible. The 1963 Dart has a turning radius of 38.9 ft (11.9 m).
The Dart was an instant market success, with 1963 sales up sharply compared to those of the 1962 Lancer. The Dart remained extremely popular through the end of the Dart's production run in 1976.
Initial engine offerings were two sizes of the Slant-6: a 170 cu in (2.8 L), 101 hp (75 kW) version was fitted as standard equipment, and a 225 cu in (3.7 L), 145 hp (108 kW) version was available for less than $50 extra. The aluminum engine block for the 225 was discontinued early in the 1963 model year. After the start of the 1964 model year, an all-new, compact, lightweight 273 cu in (4.5 L) LA V8 producing 180 bhp (130 kW) with a 2-barrel carburetor was introduced as the top engine option. 1964 was the last year for pushbutton control of the optional Torqueflite automatic transmission, so 1963 and 1964 models were the only compact Darts so equipped. Standard axle ratios in 1964 were 2.93:1 with automatic transmission and 225 engine, or 3.23:1 with manual transmission and 225 engine, or with 170 engine and either transmission. A 3.55:1 ratio was optional. New features included stronger door locks and a refined automatic choke.
In 1965, the 2-barrel 273 remained available, but a new performance version of the 273 engine was released with a 4-barrel carburetor, 10.5:1 compression, a more aggressive camshaft with solid tappets, and other upgrades which increased output to 235 bhp (175 kW). At the same time, the Dodge Dart Charger was offered. The Dart Chargers were yellow Dart GT hardtops with black interiors, Commando 273 engine, premium mechanical and trim specifications, and special "Charger" badging. They were the first Dodge models to bear the "Charger" name. The following year the larger B-body Dodge Charger was introduced, and the "Charger" name was thenceforth associated with Dart models only in the "Charger 225" marketing name for the optional larger 6-cylinder engine.
Other new options for 1965 included upgraded suspension components and larger 14 in (356 mm) wheels and tires. Factory-installed air conditioning became available after the start of the 1965 model year, as well as disc brakes, which required the 14 in (356 mm) wheels to clear the calipers. Front seat belts became standard.
- engine: 6 cylinders
- capacity: 2789 cc
- horsepower: 101 HP
- gearbox: 4+1
- top speed: 147 km/h