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Greg's List: Dodge Dart
By Greg Warner

Classic Car Articles by Greg Warner

The Dodge "Dart", which actually started life as a "smaller", full-sized vehicle for 1960 and 1961, then downsized for 1962 and offered as a mid-sized vehicle and it ended up as a compact vehicle from 1963 to 1976, which marked the end of its 17 year run. The 1970 Dodge Dart was available in a 2-door coupe, 2-door hardtop and a 4-door sedan, the convertible models were dropped after 1969. For 1970, the Dart was freshened-up with new sheet metal, front and rear, and the grille and rear end designs were fashioned to look more like their full-sized counterparts. The trunk space was reduced to nearly half the size of the 1969 Dodge dart models and the tail lights were rectangular units set into the angular, wedge-shaped, chrome rear bumper. Engine choices ranged from a 198 c.i. or 225 c.i., "slant" 6-cyl engine to a 318 c.i., V8, 2bbl carbureted or 340 c.i., 4bbl carbureted, V-8 power plant, which produced some 275 hp (the 383 c.i. V8 was dropped after 1969 to keep the Dart from interfering/competing with the new Challenger models in the "Muscle car" arena"). This left the "Swinger 340", as the only true "performance" model in the Dart lineup. The "Swinger" name was also added to all Dart 2-door hardtops except the high-line "Custom" models and the "GTS" package was still an available option.

The "Swinger 340" came with a pair of cool looking, slanted, but non-functional hood scoops, front disc brakes, 14" bias-ply, "Fiberglas-belted" tires (keeping with the "rage" of the day) on fashioned steel "Rallye” rims, beefed-up "Rallye" style suspension upgrades including a 3.23:1 rear axle ratio and the rear 1/4 panel "bumble-bee" stripe and 340 decals. Options included: all-vinyl bucket seats, a center floor-console, a 6000 RPM tachometer, flat-black painted hood scoops and cool hood-pins, a custom vinyl roof in either black or white, power brakes, steering and windows were also available. Oddly enough, the only radio offered was an AM radio!

I never had a Dodge Dart, but I did have a 1970 Plymouth Duster 340 and it was a very quick, fun car to drive. That 340 motor could be tuned to produce some real arm-stretching, neck-snapping, slingshot like "G-forces" when you stuffed your foot into it! I had a blast with that little car and hold fond memories of the days "cruisin" the strip, "red-light" racing (stoplight to stoplight) and sitting in muscle car row at the outdoor theater!

Quiz of the week: What governmental agency was created in 1970 to "protect" the earth (specifically the USA) from polluters and pollutants of all kinds?

Bonus: What was the name of Simon and Garfunkel’s smash #1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 charts?

Answers: the EPA "Environmental Protection Agency", and "Bridge Over Troubled Water"

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