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AJ's Car of the Day '66 Dodge Dart GT Convertible
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Car: Dodge Dart GT Convertible

Year: 1966

What makes it special: For 1963, Dodge made a last-minute decision to drop the Lancer from its model line-up name in favor of Dart for Dodge's newly designed "senior compact", using the same A-body suspension of the Valiant and defunct Lancer that would underpin all Darts from 1963 to 1976.  The Dart was available as a 2- or 4-door sedan, a 2-door hardtop coupe, a station wagon, and a convertible. Three trim levels were offered: the low-spec 170, the high-spec 270, and the premium GT, which was available only as a 2-door hardtop or convertible.

What made it famous: Initial engine offerings were two sizes of the slant-six: a 170 cu in, 101 hp version was fitted as standard equipment, and a 225 cu in, 145 hp version was available for less than $50 extra. By 1965, the 2-barrel 273 remained available, but a new performance version of the 273 engine was released with a 4-barrel carburetor, 10.5:1 compression, a more aggressive camshaft with solid tappets, and other upgrades which increased output to 235 bhp. Other new options included upgraded suspension components and larger 14 in wheels and tires. Factory-installed air conditioning became available after the start of the 1965 model year, as well as disc brakes, which required the 14 in wheels to clear the calipers. Front seat belts became standard.

Why I would want one: It's slab-sided body is simple, but cool as hell. Plus the V8 in the lightweight body made it a budget performance car.

Fun fact: The Dart nameplate was resurrected for a Fiat-derived compact car introduced in 2013.

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