The Dodge Dart was an aptly named vehicle. It was relatively small, fast, and always hit its target with consumers. Darts were available with both manual and automatic transmissions, with two and four doors, and in a variety of body styles. As one of the most popular Dodge vehicles from 1960-1976, the Dart underwent a lot of changes but kept its reputation for extremely dependable operation throughout its lifespan.
The Dodge Dart was manufactured in a number of United States cities, including St. Louis, Detroit, and Newark. It typically used a V8 engine ranging from 5.2-5.9 liters from 1970-1976, though Slant-6 engines and inline engines were also available in some cars. Fuel economy also varied from model to model. Early Darts often had relatively poor economy of 15/20mpg or worse, but, as fuel prices rose, Dodge paid more attention to efficiency. For example, the specially designed Dart Lite of the late 1970s was capable of 36 mpg on the highway.
Over the years, the Dodge Dart has shrunk from a full-size sedan to a compact car as Dodge attempted to market the vehicle to budget-conscious consumers. However, even the relatively larger 1960s darts featured a scaled-down chassis compared to Dodge's other full-size vehicles. Dodge concentrated on reliability and distinctive looks and branding, and, because of this, the Dart enjoyed tremendous owner loyalty. It was one of Dodge's most successful cars during its 13-year run. After 1976, the Dodge Dart was effectively discontinued in the United States, although production continued in some South American countries.
A number of trim options were introduced on the Dart in the mid 1970s, including a Caravan Tan option, which introduced a tan exterior and exterior features in a mainly aesthetic upgrade of the factory Dart. Other trim options included a Convertriple" design. This design included fold-down rear seats, which added some room to the Dart, as well as a manually retractable sunroof.
Because of the dependability and popularity of the Dart, it was used heavily in service industries and specially modified Darts were manufactured as police cars and taxi cabs. It's also a popular vehicle among collectors, who often prize rare trim options like the Hang Ten, a special Dart designed and marketed to surfers. While the Dart had its share of problems - like many vehicles designed in the 1960s, it generally wasn't fuel efficient or especially safe by modern standards-the Dart is heralded as one of the triumphs of Dodge's lineup during the 1960s and 1970s.
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