The last time you could buy a brand new Dodge Dart was the same year moviegoers were lining up for The Rocky Horror Picture Show, newshounds were following the Watergate trials, Peter Gabriel was still the Genesis frontman and Bob Chandler was tooling away in his garage, creating the first Monster Truck Bigfoot. Until now, that is. Yep – the Dodge Dart is back. But this ain’t your granny’s Slant-Six lead sled.
Next year, Dodge will revive the Dart name for its newest small car, replacing the ailing Caliber. It’s designed is based on the Alfa Romeo Giulietta and will hit the streets with a choice of three engines: the Tigershark 16-valve 2.0-liter, a 16-valve 1.4-liter MultiAir® Intercooled Turbo, and a new Tigershark 16-valve 2.4-liter MultiAir® four-cylinder engine. Dodge marketers are billing the 2013 Dart as a four-door sedan that “redefines performance” and “brings fun back to driving” in the compact car segment.
The original Dodge Dart was produced from 1960-1976. Initially, the Dodge suits didn’t like the name and doled out big money to a hotshot marketing firm who came back with a gloriously bad recommendation: the “Dodge Zipp.”
“Um. Nevermind,” the suits said. And the newest Dodge kept its Dart moniker, a nod to the Convair F-106 Delta Dart, at the time a new military aircraft, and the 1960s Space Race craze. The Dart’s GTS muscle version of the late 1960s is the one most revered by fans and romanticized by filmmakers. But the 1970s models’ overuse in TV shows of the era, plus the 1998-2006 That ’70s Show, deemed the collective late-model Dodge Dart “Grandma’s car.”
The world will get its first full look at the new Dodge Dart at the Detroit Auto Show in January. Until then, you can get a glimpse on the Dodge website. But be forewarned that a frustrating teaser is all you’ll see. Thus far, Dodge has released only a series of extreme close-ups of select features. Remember those face-only shots of Marlon Brando’s Col. Kurtz character in Apocalypse Now? Yeah. That’s kinda what you’ll get until January.
So, E3 Spark Plugs fans, which is your favorite Dodge Dart? Will your car buff heart remain loyal to the reverse-finned ’60s models or the angular-edged ’70s Swingers? Or are you waiting with bated breath for the Dart’s new era? Post your thought on the E3 Spark Plugs Facebook fan page. And in the meantime, enjoy this vintage Dodge Dart commercial from 1966 – Join the Dodge Rebellion, baby!