Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Twofer Tuesday returns with a couple of the most faithful steeds ever produced!

First things first; I love these cars. What I mean is that I really, truly love these cars and feel that they might be the most perfectly executed automobiles ever produced. As I was saying . . .
what we have here is a 1975 Dodge Dart in the very attractive color Astral Blue Poly. We can tell it's a '75 due to the very prominent contours of the grill. The year before had a similar overall shape but the turn signals weren't set so deeply between the headlight and the middle prow.
Unless you're under 30 someone you know had one of these rides, or you did, or everyone you know did. Dart and its Plymouth sibling Valiant were built from 1963 ('60 for Valiant) through the '75 model year. After that they became the Dodge Aspen and Plymouth Volare respectively. While just about any engine produced by the Chrysler corporation was available in the Dart at some point through its long lifespan the most famous power plant of all was the Slant 6. Their durability was unparalleled.
Another identifying feature is on display here in the wraparound taillights divided into 4 rectangles. This was only the arrangement for '74 and '75. I love the concave rear window on the 2 door hardtops.
This ride is in pretty good shape considering its age. The bodies are prone to rot, especially the lower quarter panels where water tends to collect once the rubber seal of the trunk wears out. As you can see this is the height of the humongous federally-mandated safety bumper era, but on these models I think it looks fine. The cars themselves are extremely blocky and seem to be trying to fill every inch of space they can while remaining midsize, so I think they fit the theme.
A little rust behind each wheel and some scrapes and rumples on the body only confirm this as an honest daily driver in the city. That rear suspension has been replaced for sure as it's sporting a minor hot-rodders rake.
One last close-up of the turn signal deeply set into the grill. That headlight looks mighty off!
On to a sportier looking cousin:
Alright! What we have here is a 1973 Dart in a slightly faded version of Bright Red. This thing looks ready to challenge folks at the track, or at least at a red light. The front bumper looks to be an aluminum replacement. Whether that's to save weight or just serve as a non-chromed more affordable fix I don't know. The owner is certainly sending a message with the stickers on the windshield.
The Headlight Sentinel is still on the hood. A fiber optic cable ran from the turn signal to this little lens which would tell you whether your bulb was out or notify you if you left it on.
We've got a tough guy steering wheel in effect! I'm not really into replacement wheels like this but the fact remains that there were so many Darts built that it's hard for me to bemoan any customization. The column shift automatic takes a little wind out of the racing sails.
The window trim has been blacked out for extra machismo. However, why would you black out the gas cap? To let people know you've got the most siphon-able ride on the block? Still, the smaller pre-mandate rear bumpers do allow for a continuation of the slanted body line which looks cool.
Ohio plates on a classic in Brooklyn usually mean the car is unregistered and just hiding in plain sight. However, the front and back match so maybe it's legit?
Just a couple of shots showing the taillight setup on the '73. The '71 and '72 had these taillights but the grills were very different. Incidentally the Plymouth Valiant, which was an almost identical twin to the Dart, had one rectangular taillight on each side as opposed to 4 individual units.
What can I say? I like taillight design, especially when distinct like these soft shapes set into the angled bumper. That vertical slot below the taillights is the jack point where your owners manual would instruct you to fit the jack for changing a rear tire.
This red beast is so much cooler than everything else parked on this Cobble Hill street.
I'm not sure how I feel about the rims on this Dart but I guess any rough and ready mid-'70s beast still rolling the streets has the right to wear whatever shoes it wants. This is a basic trim levels ride but they did offer an almost cartoonishly Special Edition that sported body-colored fancy hubcaps, padded vinyl roof, thick bodyside molding running down the length of the car, and a stand-up hood ornament. The most insane feature of the S.E. was the thick shag carpeting included within! I looked at one for sale a couple of years ago that had its original gold shag and few things could be filthier.
The front end of this year looks just like the 1974 Dodge Dart Sport I had in California back in 2006/7. The Sport had the same fastback body style as the Plymouth Duster. Mine was a very '74-looking Harvest Gold with a white vinyl roof. Writing these two Mopars up makes me want another one. Somehow I think I'll end up with one at some point and when that time comes I'll be proud to post it.

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