Special Report: Product Heritage

Dodge Brand Delves into Rich History to Name New Compact Car – the All-new 2013 Dodge Dart

  • Dart name resonates across the board in research, from millenials to empty nesters
  • More than 3.6 million original Dodge Darts sold between 1960 and 1976
  • Dodge brand honors its history while building its future
Auburn Hills, Mich. April 27, 2012 - The Dodge brand dug deep into its rich, nearly 100-year history to name its all-new Dodge Dart compact car. With great historical names like Charger and Challenger already powering vehicles in the Dodge brand lineup, Dodge took its new compact car to research clinics and asked a broad range of consumers what they thought of the Dart name.

“When we went to research, the Dart name resonated across the board,” said Reid Bigland, President and CEO, Dodge Brand — Chrysler Group LLC. “Many Millennials 35 and younger had never heard of the original Dodge Dart, so the name really resonated with the new Dart’s aerodynamic attributes and sleek styling. For other consumers, many people either had a Dart or knew someone who did, and had really fond memories of their experience with it.”

The original Dart had an excellent run. In fact, Dodge sold more than 3.6 million Darts between its introduction in 1960 through 1976. Many of those classic Dodge Darts still live on drag strips today, which give the car a natural link to the brand’s performance lineage. Now with the Dart name, the Dodge brand is honoring its history while building its future as a proud American brand focused on delivering all the latest in innovation, technology, fuel-efficiency, style, performance and value.

“This all-new 2013 Dodge Dart is a Dart for the 21st century with class-leading levels of interior roominess, technology, safety and state-of-the-art powertrains – like the 1.4-liter MultiAir® Turbo,” added Bigland. “And just like the original, the all-new 2013 Dart allows almost limitless customization possibilities, with 12 exterior colors, 14 interior color and trim combinations, six wheels and six powertrain combinations.”

The all-new Dart offers the fuel economy and pricing of a compact car – starting at an U.S. Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of just $15,995 – with interior roominess that surpasses many popular mid-size cars. The all-new new Dodge Dart will arrive in U.S. dealerships in June of 2012 as a 2013 model.

First introduced in 1960 as a mid-sized model, the Dodge Dart would become one of Chrysler Corporation’s most successful compact vehicles and would be produced continuously through the 1976 model year.

When it was first introduced, the Dart was available in three series – the Seneca, Pioneer and Phoenix. All three series were built on a 118-inch wheelbase and came in 11 different body styles. The compact version of the Dart for 1960 to 1962 was called the Lancer.

The base engine available on the Dart was the new 225 cubic-inch Slant Six engine, renowned for its durability. The largest available engine was a 361-cubic-inch Ram induction V-8.

More than 323,000 Darts were produced in its first year.

The Dart was largely unchanged for the 1961 model year. Minor body changes, including reverse slanting tailfins and an overall curvaceous look were put in place for the 1961 model year.

Production of the Dart was slightly more than 287,000 units for the 1961 model year.

In 1962 the Dart received a major styling change. The chassis was shortened 2 inches, to a 116-inch wheelbase. The 1962 Dodge Dart featured a new oval grille with headlamps set at an angle. The taillamps carried the same theme while the sides of the vehicle had dramatic body lines. The Seneca, Phoenix and Pioneer names were gone. The Dart lines were broken up into a base 330 model and top-of-the-line 440 models. While the 225-cubic-inch Slant Six continued to be the base engine, a new 413-cubic-inch Ram induction engine that produced 410 horsepower also was available.

165,360 Dart vehicles were produced in 1962.

In 1963 the Dart received another major change. Totally restyled and riding on a 111-inch wheelbase, the Dart was now Dodge’s compact offering. Available in the entry-level 170, medium-priced 270 and sporty GT series, the Dart was available in nine different body styles, including a convertible for the first time.

Exterior styling featured a concave grille with single headlamps as well as simple taillamps. A small body line ran horizontally low on the body and swept up over the rear wheel well and another body line ran the length of the vehicle at the belt line. For 1963, only six-cylinder engines were available in the Dart line.

In 1963, 34,227 Darts were produced.

Overall styling was mostly unchanged for 1964, but the Dart did receive a new grille. The 170-cubic-inch was the base engine, but the big news in power plant offerings for the Dart was availability for the first time of a V-8 power plant in a Dodge compact model. The 273-cubic-inch V-8 generated 180 horsepower and was an instant success.

This new engine option helped push Dart sales to more than 246,000 vehicles for the year.

The Dodge Dart used the same basic body in 1965 but received a facelift. Sporting a new hood, grille, decklid and new bumpers, the Dart looked fresh and modern. The series were now called the Dart, Dart 270 and Dart GT. A total of 10 different body styles were available for the 1965 model year. Pricing for the models ranged from $2,074 to $2,759. The engine lineup from 1964 was unchanged, with the exception of a four-barrel carburetor offered on the 273-cubic-inch V-8 engine, which produced 235 horsepower.

Sales for the Dart in 1965 totaled 209,376 vehicles sold.

A complete new look was offered for the 1966 model year. New sheet metal was used from front to back. Even though the 111-inch wheelbase was retained, the vehicle had an overall larger look. A heavily sculpted body and larger overall length contributed to the larger look. Series names and engine availability remained the same from 1964, and prices ranged from $2,158 to $2,995.

176,027 Darts were sold in 1966.

The 1967 model year saw Dodge designers roll out an all-new Dart. The vehicle had a much smoother and modern feel to it. While the series was still the Dart, Dart 270 and the Dart GT, only six different body styles were available. The 273 V-8 became the standard model on the Dart GT series, while the Dart and Dart 270 still had the Slant Six as the base engine.

Industry sales were down for 1967 and Dart sales were as well, with 60,092 models sold for the year.

The Dart had minor styling changes for the 1968 model year, including a new, heavy horizontal grille bar, rounded taillamps and single inboard headlamps. The Dart GTS was a new model offering for the year and was targeted at the performance buyer. With a standard 340-cubic-inch engine and an optional 383-cubic-inch engine, buyers could now get a lightweight performance vehicle at a budget price. In addition, the GTS model offered a heavy-duty suspension, a power bulge hood and the choice of racing or bumblebee stripes.

With the new performance options, the Dart sales almost reached 118,000 vehicles sold in 1968.

No major styling changes occurred for the 1969 model year Dodge Dart. Similar to the previous year that didn’t have major styling changes, the trim, grille and taillamps did feature changes to update the vehicle.

The big news for 1969 was an addition to the series lineup. The Dart Swinger 340 series was added as an economy version of the GTS. The Swinger 340 featured a 340-cubic-inch engine with a four-speed manual transmission. Overall, there were nine different body styles available in five different series.

The addition of the performance models continued to drive increased sales. 304,014 Dart vehicles were produced in 1969.

The entire Dodge lineup received a new look for the 1970 model year and the Dart was part of overhaul. The 1970 Dodge Dart sported a new grille, taillamps incorporated into the bumpers and a larger, racked rear window. The Dart wheelbase was still 111-inches, but gone were the GT and GTS models. The Swinger 340 was retained and was positioned to fit into the base level of the performance line of the Dodge Scat Pack. The Dart Swinger 340 still featured the 340-cubic-inch engine and four-speed transmission as well as a rallye cluster, dual exhaust and disc brakes. The base models for 1970 were the Dart and Dart Custom. The 111-inch wheelbase and entry-level Slant Six engine remained for the 1970 model year.

1970 Dart sales reached 188,890 units.

While most of the Dart line retained its basic body structure with only trim and grille upgrades, the big news for 1971 was the introduction of the semi-fastback Dart Demon. The Dart Demon rode on a 108-inch wheelbase and was available in the Demon or Demon 340, the performance version. The standard engine for the Demon was the 198-cubic-inch Slant Six, while a 225 cubic-inch six and 318-cubic-inch V-8 also were available.

Almost 200,000 Darts were sold in 1971.

No major styling or engineering changes occurred for the 1972 model year. The Dart was offered in four series: Dart, Dart Custom, Swinger and the Demon, and was available in six body styles.

224,283 Dodge Dart vehicles were sold in 1972.

A new hood, fenders, grille and improved bumpers marked the 1973 model year for the Dodge Dart. The Demon name was dropped in favor of Dart Sport. A performance model Dart 340 Sport was available while all of the other V-8 Darts had the 318. The Slant Six continued to be the base engine.

Sales continued to be strong with 288,692 units sold.

The Dodge Dart was mostly unchanged for 1974. The Dart, Dart Custom and Dart Swinger continued with a 111-inch wheelbase while the Dart Sport rode on a 108-inch chassis. Minor trim changes were offered. A performance-model Dart 360 Sport was available with a 360 cubic-inch engine that produced 245 horsepower.

The Dart continued to be Dodge’s best-selling model with 390,724 units sold in 1974.

Dart was given a new grille and light treatment for the 1975 model year, which gave the vehicle a fresh, updated look. The Slant Six continued as the base engine offering, along with several available V-8 engines. A mid-year introduction was the Dart Special Edition model.

212,123 Dodge Darts were produced in 1975.

1976 was the last year of production for the Dart. It was available in four models and had no styling or engineering changes from the previous year. The Dart, Swinger and Swinger Special had a wheelbase of 111 inches; Dart Sport had a 108-inch wheelbase.

Just 70,000 Dodge Darts were produced for 1976. Its replacement, the Aspen, was introduced for the 1976 model year.

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