The Dart Is Back! After a 37 year absence, Dodge is bringing back the Dart for 2013. The Dodge Dart became a separate model for Dodge in 1960. It was an immediate success and a threat to the competition, even to Plymouth. After some ups and downs with with the model, Dodge introduced the third generation Dart in 1963. But sadly, the last fourth generation was sold in the United States in 1976, replaced by all things, the Dodge Aspen. The Dart had developed a reputation of being a solid car and a real value.
The 1963 Dodge Dart was Dodge’s attempt to reclaim the former glory of the Dart and recover from sales disappointment of the previous generation. To start with, Dodge dropped the Lancer from the Dodge lineup and downsized the Dart to a newly designed “senior compact”. The senior compact designation was a marketing term referring to the wheelbase having grown to 111 inches from the Lancer’s 106.5 inch wheelbase. The longer wheelbase would underpin both the third generation Darts and the fourth generation Darts (except the 1963–1966 station wagon and the 1971–1976 Demon/Sport), a thirteen year run, not bad way to save money Dodge. This generation of the Dart was available as a two- or four-door sedan, a two-door hardtop coupe, a station wagon, and a convertible. Three trim levels were offered: the base 170, the 270, and the premium GT. The GT was only available as a two-door hardtop coupe or convertible. The changes worked, 1963 sales up sharply compared to those of the 1962 Lancer. The Dart remained would remain an extremely popular car through the end of its run in 1976.
1963 engine offerings were the slant-6: a 170 cubic inch (2.8 L) 101 hp was standard equipment. An aluminum 225 cubic inch (3.7 L) 145 hp version was optional. The 225 engine was discontinued early in the 1963 model year.
For the 1964 model year, a new 273 cubic inch (4.5 L) LA V8 producing 180 bhp with a 2-barrel carburetor was introduced as the top engine option. 1964 would also be the last year for the pushbutton control Torqueflite automatic transmission.
In 1965, the 2-barrel 273 remained available, but a new high performance version of the 273 engine was released with a 4-barrel carburetor, 10.5:1 compression, and other upgrades which increased output to 235 bhp. A1965 also saw the introduction of the Dodge Dart Charger. The Dart Chargers were yellow Dart GT hardtops with black interiors, Commando 273 engine, premium mechanical and trim specifications, and special “Charger” badging. These would be the first Dodge models to bear the “Charger” name. The following year the Dodge Charger became a separate make on the larger Chrysler B-body platform. Dart Charges became the “Charger 225″. Other options in 1965 included upgraded suspension components and larger 14 in wheels and tires. Later in the 1965 year, factory-installed air conditioning became available along with disc brakes.