1965 Dodge Dart left-rear fender nameplate

Looking Forward to the Past in a Dodge Dart

When the 2013 Dodge Dart returns the Dart name to the Chrysler lineup, it will have a lot to live up to. Will it meet the challenge?

Soon, we will see the new Dodge Darts plying the roads of America and may, occasionally, see a 2013 model cruising along next to a classic like the 1965 Dodge Dart this lucky reporter was able to drive along the endless highways of Wyoming recently. The question is, will the new Dart live up to the powerful precedent of smooth dependability and high economy of the original "compact American car" of the mid-1960s?

Darting Back in Time
Chrysler's Dodge brand introduced the Dart back in 1960 as a replacement for the aging Lancer model when Plymouth split from the Chrysler-Dodge network and the company needed a smaller-car competitor to fill the gap left by the split.

The first generation entered the market in 1960 as a largely unremarkable "not quite as large as the others" car, still carrying on the land yacht tradition of the 1950s. It was, however, a huge success and started an internal war between Chrysler's Dodge and Plymouth divisions, though it caused some problems for Dodge as well, who saw many of its mid-priced cars like the Matador and the Polara flag in sales as the Dart stole their customers.


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