Sunday, August 7, 2016

Cool car the color of Grape flavored Big League Chew

I was riding my bike out to a friends house in Bed Stuy when I encountered this little crumpet:
This is a 1965 Dodge Dart GT in a terrible aftermarket purple. While Mopar became famous shortly after this was built for its outrageous colors (including the very purple Plum Crazy) there was nothing even close to this in '65. If you're going for Plum Crazy this is simply too warm and saturated; a little less red and a cooler blue next time when mixing please.
Pinpointing the year on these cars is really simple as the front changed every year. In '64 the grill was even shorter than the headlights when compared to this ride while in '66 the headlights fit right inside the grill.
I love Darts of really any vintage but this era is particularly cool. The styling is somewhat bonkers with that rear quarter window shape, three portholes behind the front wheel, and overall tub shape to the body. 
Incidentally if this car was ordered with a vinyl roof it would be on the front 3/4 of the top only; that sail panel retained the body color wrapping over the rear. My '72 Duster and '74 Dart Sport both had the same treatment but it started here.
To give some perspective I'd like to point out that this was a compact car in '65. The brochure points out that "Ladies love 'em. Easy to drive and park. Inside? Almost kiddie proof." Take that, gender equality! 
Whoever parked this thing probably decided on the color. I want to call automotive protective services and try to adopt it.
These lozenge shaped taillights are new for '65. They would remain for 1 more year before a major restyling in '67.
You've gotta love this hyper-stylized GT emblem! Not only that but the T is red, white, and blue! Go Team America!
Inside is totally awesome in my opinion. The GT comes with a full compliment of gauges all concave and square. The speedometer is offset because Mopar designers are free thinkers. It sports the optional radio and floor-mounted shifter with console. In the years leading up to this one the automatic transmission was operated by pushbutton! As odd as it sounds they proved totally reliable. The only other car company I can think of offhand that had a pushbutton trans was the Edsel of 1958. Unbelievably the Edsel buttons were located in the center of the steering wheel! Imagine hitting the horn on your new Edsel because somebody cut you off and unwittingly throwing your car into reverse in the process! That only lasted 1 year of course.
The front fender was replaced with a non-GT unit because it's missing its rectangular porthole on this side. That little Mopar Pentastar emblem was only on the passenger side fender so that people walking by it on the sidewalk would notice it! Strange but true.
Whoever replaced the fender had the good sense to keep the GT-specific trim from the top. These pieces are about as impossible to find as any car part so if you're looking to restore one make sure it has all the little GT minutiae.
This, ladies and gentlemen, is the Fratzog! Yes that triangular shaped logo was what the Dodge division used from 1962-1981 (the Pentastar was for any of the Mopar division; Chrysler, Dodge, Plymouth, etc). The name is nonsensical but was coined by the folks at Dodge so it stuck. 
Well we'll just leave this little cruiser where I found it; 5 solid feet from the curb. Darts are really fun cars and totally capable for daily use in modern traffic. At worst it has one of the most legendary motors of all time; the Slant 6. At best it has a very peppy 273 V8 that has plenty of get up and go for such a light car. Regardless the handling and fuel economy are both surprisingly good and I would recommend them to anyone looking for a usable classic.

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