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Saturday, January 07, 2012

Yeah, but it's still going to be a Fiat
Posted by Jill | 12:58 PM
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

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).


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Blogger dianedp said...
I had a Dodge dart too!!!
It was the last car my father bought before he died, so I think it was a 1962. It was push button, white with a red stripe on the sides and a red interior. My mother drove it until my second year of college and then it was mine! I drove it for 2 more years, and then bought a Chevy Vega(what an idiotic choice!)

It was then rusting out but was still going strong. My cousin in Brooklyn wanted it and it died a noble death. He opened the door and was about to get out, when a car hit the door and took the door right off the car.

I loved that car. It was a reminder of my dad and the car I learned to drive on.
Thanks for the memories!

Blogger Bustednuckles said...
Ah, the memories.
My Grandfather had a 62 Plymouth Valiant with the push button transmission and my Fathers mother had three 63-66 Dodge darts, you couldn't kill them. After she parked the last one, she gave it to me a a dumb assed teenager who didn't know squat about cars.
I remember pulling the valve cover off and every single pushrod in that engine was bent and it still ran.

My cousin has a 66 Dodge Dart convertible with a 273 Command V8 with dual points and a factory four barrel carb.
It sits under a car port after I spent two grand of his money going through and rebuilding the engine and the transmission.
It was absolutely beautiful when he bought it twenty some years ago and now it looks like shit.
Sitting on four flat tires and a huge rip in the top.

I won't even start in about the 57 chevy that has been quietly rusting away for thirty years.

That guy needs a beating.

I also remember a Dodge Duster I had given to me that was pristine and had that slant 6 in it.
I managed to wreck that one too.
Also had a Dodge Volare Wagon with a slant 6, that was a sweet little wagon, I gave it to a struggling mother who needed a car, I still miss that thing.

For supposedly being a Ford guy, I have a sweet spot in my heart for those old dodge rigs.