I've always has a fondness for the Dodge Dart. My first three cars were Darts. The first one was a 1963 Dart with the push-button TorqueFlite automatic transmission. I bought it for $125 the day I graduated high school. Two weeks after I bought it, we had a bad rainstorm, our street was flooded, and the car, which was parked in the street, was completely flooded up to the windows. I was able to drive if afterward, but I had to have the heat on constantly. I guess today I would just replace the radiator core, but I couldn't afford it back then.
A year or so later, my mother bought a car and I took over her 1965 Dart, junking the '63. I drove that car until around 1978, when I bought a 1972 Dart. How I loved that car. With proper care, I could have still been driving it today, were it not for the problem of being rear-ended while stopped at a red light one night, thus bending the frame and totalling the car.
Every now and then, you still see those early 1970's Darts around. Sometimes it's the Swinger, sometimes it's the equivalent Plymouth Valiant. But they are still out there. That old Dodge slant-six engine was practically indestructable.
So of course I had to pay attention when I saw this
the other day:
2013 Dodge Dart: This Is It
This is it — the 2013 Dodge Dart, the new Alfa Romeo-based compact car that'll say arrivederci to the Caliber when it's fully unveiled at the Detroit Auto Show in just two days. But we knew all that. What we didn't know is what it'd look like. Until now.
These images — leaked ahead of its official unveil — show the Dart in all its econobox glory.
Based on Alfa Romeo's Giulietta platform, this spawn of the Fiat-Chrysler merger's going to be Chrysler's first decent attempt at winning over the ever-expanding compact space since the Dodge Neon.
As with the Jeep Grand Cherokee, this "new" car owes its platform to the engineering of a European company. While the Jeep's based on the Mercedes ML platform, the new Dart is based on Alfa Romeo's Giulietta.
Wait. Alfa Romeo? Like the sports car?
A little reading around reveals that the Giulietta is a popular car in Europe. It's solid and well-built. But the other names associated with this have been nothing to write home about. After a brief burst of craetivity, Chrysler cars have returned to suckitude. And Fiat has been a joke in America for decades, and Consumer Reports
' review of the 500 isn't exactly glowing. And then there's that matter of wanting a hatchback, which the Giulietta is and the Dart won't be.
But still....I know I'm not the only nostalgic boomer who's going to be keeping an eye on this new car model...and hoping it can match the reliability of the ones we remember so fondly (and the gas mileage relevant to today).