Remember when hipsters were called slackers? It was back in the early ’90s and those groovy layabouts, stavting artist, no-visible-means-of-support, Big Lebowski types tended to drive first generation domestic compact cars, usually Ford Falcons, Plymouth Valiants or Dodge Darts. Over the years, the Chrysler-built compacts earned a reputation for enduring reliability thanks, in no small measure, to the legendarily unbreakable “Slant Six” motor that propelled most of them. Even those equipped with MoPar’s small block V8 seemed preternaturally durable.
Dart and Valiant, “A body” cars in MoParlance, were mechanical twins but Dodge’s compact had added flair. Dart styling was just a bit more accomplished, reflective of the look of its larger corporate siblings. Darts was far less generic looking than the efficient appliances that followed in later years. Compact Darts were built from 1962 through 1976 and are warmly remembered. So much so that Fiat, Chrysler’s current corporate overlord, saw fit to revive the name in 2013 and applied it to the current entry level Dodge.
Our gallery includes a well preserved but unrestored ’65 Dart GT in white. The GT model was Dodge’s top of the line Dart offering with bucket seats and three mock “ventiports” slapped on the lower front fenders. We’re thinking that a refugee from Buick moved over to Dodge around that time and brought along this idea.
Of the same vintage is this nice convertible that does a pretty good job of mimicking the hardtop’s roof line in fabric. That huge plastic back window really let’s the sunshine in, no?
We found another convertible, this one a GT, stashed away in an underground garage. It’s a ’69 and underscores how Dart wears its big car looks so convincingly.
What about this just about perfect ’73 Dart Custom four door sedan that’s somebody’s daily driver? Showroom fresh after 43 years!
We would be remiss if we didn’t make mention of the Dart’s swinger model designation introduced in — yes! — ’69. It was a refresh of the basic 2 door body style and energized sales to no end. (Here’s where the key party joke goes.)
There are still quite a few Darts in service these days though despite the fact that hipsters have moved on to bike sharing, smart phone-summoned livery services, not to mention artisanal pogo sticks. Hey man, the Dart abides.
We found this very presentable ’64 convertible for sale in nearby Freeport, ME. It’s priced at under $11K and it’s the last model year with push button gear selection. What are you waiting for??
Check out this commercial for the ’64 Dart, “the new kind of compact in the large economy size.”
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