1970 Dodge Dart Swinger

Dodge Dart

Chandler Stark

Meet Chandler

Chandler has a bachelors and masters degree in history as well as a passion for classics and muscle cars. His education and historical knowledge makes him skilled at crafting highly detailed articles about America’s muscle cars and automotive history. His love of muscle cars is undeniable, with him seeking them out at every opportunity during his visits to auto shows and car meets. Chandler’s knowledge and enthusiasm towards automotive history make him a great asset to the Muscle Car Club community.

From 1960–1976, the Dodge Dart was a fantastic sports car and muscle car that could hang with the best of them. Dodge originally introduced the Dart as a full-size sedan in 1960, before making it a compact from 1963-on. From the beginning, Dodge stuffed the biggest engines they could inside the Dart, including the early 361 and 413 V8 Wedge engines. These were the muscle cars before there were muscle cars, and they performed and looked exceptional for their time. Eventually, the Dart would get such memorable models as the Demon, Sport, and Swinger, which had solid performance from 318, 340, 383, and 400+ cid big-block V8 engines. Read on to find out all about the Dodge Dart from 1960–1976, including specs, production numbers, engines, and more. 

Dodge Dart Overview

The Dodge Dart spanned five generations from 1960–1976, with the first generation lasting from 1960–1962, and the second generation being the one-year 1963 Dart. The third generation lasted from 1964–1966, with the fourth going until 1969. Dodge produced the fifth generation Dart from 1970–1976, before retiring it. They briefly resurrected the moniker from 2013–2016, but it was poorly conceived and failed to sell.

The creation of the Dodge Dart was due to lots of reshuffling within the Chrysler organization. Dodge introduced the Dart as a replacement for the Plymouth full-size models, which were now being sold independently by the Plymouth brand instead of at Dodge dealerships. In addition, Chrysler also canceled the DeSoto brand, which was the top trim level. The Dart was created as an upscale full-size to fill the void left by the reshuffle. 

The Dart was slightly smaller than the full-size Plymouths they replaced, and there were three trim options available: Seneca, Pioneer, and Phoenix. The car sat on a unibody platform, and Dodge sold more than 300,000 units in its first year. Dodge gave the Dart the powerful 318 and 361 cid V8 engines, the later of which had cross-ram induction intake manifolds that produced incredible performance. In 1962, Dodge gave the Dart the 413 Max Wedge V8, which used two quad-barrel carburetors to make over 400 horsepower. 

The Dart GTS and the End

Probably the most memorable Dart was the 1968 Dart GTS, which lasted from 1968–1970. It used the 340 V8 “Scat pack” or the big-block 383 V8, and was made for racing. There were also limited versions with the 426 HEMI and 440 “Magnum” V8s. Other performance versions included the Dart Swinger, Dart Demon, and Dart Sport. None of them matched the power of the GT — save the 1971 Demon 340 — thanks to emissions cuts and detuning.

Dodge finally let the Dart go after 1976 in favor of the Aspen. They briefly resurrected the name in 2013 for a new compact, but it sold poorly and was prone to problems. Still, the original Darts from the ‘60s and ‘70s are highly collectible, especially those with the more powerful 318, 340, 383, 413, 426, or 440 V8 engines. Today, the Dart is fondly remembered for its iconic styling (in the early years) and outstanding performance, and is still Cherished by many. 

1960–1966 Dodge Dart

1960 Dodge Dart Seneca (Credit: FaceMePLS/Wikimedia)

Dodge first introduced the Dart in 1956 as a show car that had incredible aerodynamic capabilities, but it was not until 1960 that customers would first have a chance to buy it. The Dart replaced the full-size Plymouth sedans, but rode on a 118 inch wheelbase which was 4 inches smaller. They still called it a full-size, but it was a “compact full-size.” Dodge sold three trims of the Dart: the Dart Seneca, Dart Pioneer, and Dart Phoenix — with the Phoenix being the top trim level. 

The first generation 1960 Dart had big tailfins, chrome bezels on the headlights, a horizontal chrome strip from the wheel well to the rear bumper, enclosed tail lights, a grille with vertical bars, and the Dodge name in script on the lower right side of the trunk lid. Available body styles were a two or four-door sedan or a four-door station wagon.

The 1961 Dodge Dart got a face lift with reverse-slanted fins that looked like they grew out of the fenders. The vertical bar grille was now concave with a grid pattern and had quad headlights. The second generation Dart lasted for the 1962 model year. For the 1962 Dodge Dart, the wheelbase was 2 inches shorter and the overall length was 10 inches shorter. The grille again changed with uneven headlights introduced, new tail lights, new feature lines, and the Dodge name in block letters across the hood. In addition, the trim levels changed to the base, Dart 330, and Dart 440.

Third Generation Darts

The third generation kicked off with the 1963 Dart, which moved to the A-body platform. It came in the 170, 270, and GT trim levels, as the 330 and 440 were their own models now. Dodge replaced the Lancer with the Dart as the new compact in the lineup, even though the Dart was actually 4.5 inches longer than it had been the year prior. Dodge also introduced a new convertible to the Dart lineup for the first time, but the styling was relatively similar. 

Changes came in the 1965 Dart, which had a new flat grille and new oval tail lights instead of round ones. This year also saw the Dart Charger, which was basically a prelude to the stand alone Dodge Charger that would appear the next year. The Dart Chargers were basically Dart GTs in yellow that had special black interiors, the “Commando” 273 V8 engine, and Charger badges. 

The 1966 Dart looked pretty much the same externally, and was the last year of the third generation. The first three generations of the Dart sold incredibly well, with Dodge producing more than 1.1 million units from 1960–1966. Still, even bigger things were on the horizon for the fourth generation, which kicked off in 1967.

1960–1966 Dodge Dart Engine Technical Specification

Model YearsEngineHorsepowerTorque
1960-1966225 cid I6 (1bbl)145 horsepower215 lb-ft
1960-1962318 cid V8 (2bbl)230 horsepower340 lb-ft
1960-1961318 cid V8 (2bbl)255 horsepower345 lb-ft
1960361 cid V8 (2x4bbl) (D500)310 horsepower435 lb-ft
1961-1962361 cid V8 (4bbl) (D500)305 horsepower395 lb-ft
1961383 cid V8 (2x4bbl)330 horsepower460 lb-ft
1962-1966170 cid I6101 horsepower155 lb-ft
1962318 cid V8 (2bbl)260 horsepower345 lb-ft
1962413 cid V8 (2x4bbl)410 horsepower460 lb-ft
1962413 cid V8 (2x4bbl)420 horsepower470 lb-ft
1964-1966273 cid V8 (2bbl)180 horsepower260 lb-ft
1965-1966273 cid V8 (4bbl)235 horsepower280 lb-ft
1966273 cid V8 (4bbl)275 horsepower300+ lb-ft

1960–1966 Dart Engines and Performance

For the 1960 Dart, Dodge offered three engines: A 225 cid “slant-six,” 318 cid V8, or a 361 cid V8. The slant-six was so-called because it was slanted towards the passenger side instead of standing straight up. This allowed for easier maintenance on the carburetor and spark plugs, and for the use of longer intake manifold runners, which helped increase power. The 225 put out 145 horsepower, and was the base option for the Dart. 

The next step up was the 318 V8 Chrysler A-engine, which was marketed as the “Red Ram V-8.” It had 9.0:1 compression, and came with either a dual-downdraft carb on the Seneca or Pioneer making 230 horsepower, or a quad-barrel making 255 horsepower in the Phoenix. 

The top of the line option was the 361 D-500 Ram Induction V8, which was from the Chrysler B-series of engines and put out 310 horsepower. It had higher 10.0:1 compression, dual exhausts, dual Carter quad-barrel carbs, and the famous “cross ram induction” intake manifold. This manifold had long 30 inch runners, which were designed to take advantage of pulse reversion and almost acted like a naturally aspirated supercharger. 

In 1962, the 361 dropped one of its carbs and put out 305 horsepower, but was joined by the new big-block 383 cid V8. This still used the D-500 Ram induction manifold, had dual exhausts, and dual quad-barrel carbs, putting out 330 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque, and was only available with a manual transmission in the Darts. 

The 413 Max Wedge and LA 273 V8s

For the 1962 Dart only, Dodge offered the big-block 413 Max Wedge V8. Dodge put two versions in the Dart: one with 11:1 compression rated at 410 horsepower and the other with 13.5:1 compression rated at 420 horsepower. It was so called because of the wedge shaped combustion chambers, which was in contrast to the HEMI style. The 413 had dual exhausts with cutouts, heavy duty valve springs, forged steel crankshaft and connecting rods, aluminum and lightweight pistons, a deep-sump oil pan, and high-flow headers. It also used dual Carter quad-barrels on a cross ram induction intake manifold with 15 inch runners. 

Introduced in 1964, the “Commando” 273 V8 was the top of the line option after the 318, 361, 383, and 413 V8s disappeared after 1962. It was from the Chrysler LA series of engines, and produced 180–235 horsepower with either a dual or four-barrel carburetor. 

However, the best version was the one-year-only 275 horsepower version of the 273 LA inside the “D/Dart.” Dodge took the already high performance Dart GT, stripped it down and added 40 horsepower to the engine. This increase was due to stronger Racer Brown valve springs; more aggressive 284 degree-duration, 0.500 inch-lift camshaft; high flow headers, Holley 4160 quad-barrel carb, A-838 four-speed manual transmission with a Hurst floor-shifter, Weber clutch, Sure Grip differential, and 4.86 gears. Dodge did not offer a warranty — or air conditioning — and it was hard to tell them apart from regular GTs. 

1965 Dodge Dart GT convertible (Credit: Greg Gjerdingen/Wikimedia)

1960–1966 Dart Production Numbers

Model YearBodystyleProduction Total
1961Dart Seneca66,100
Dart Pioneer38,600
Dart Phoenix37,300
1961 Total142,000
Dart 33025,500
Dart 44037,800
Dart Station Wagon24,400
1962 Total135,900
1963Dart 17051,300
Dart 27055,300
Dart Station Wagon13,000
1963 Total119,600
1964Dart 17070,200
Dart 27060,400
Dart Station Wagon12,900
1964 Total143,500
1965Dart 17073,800
Dart 27062,800
Dart Station Wagon29,400
1965 Total166,000
1966Dart 17029,800
Dart 27035,100
Dart Station Wagon29,300
Dart GT18,700
1966 Total112,900

1967–1969 Dodge Dart

The fourth generation of the Dodge Dart lasted from 1967–1969. Dodge shortened the length by ½ inch, returned to the concave grille with single headlights, had more rounded sides, square tail lights, and the Dodge block script on the hood. Gone was the Dart 170 trim, as it just reverted to the base Dart, with the 270 and GT trims still available. Little changed for the 1968 Dart externally. Like usual, the GT had better suspension, bucket seats, power tops for the convertible, wide oval red streak E70-14 tires, and an engine dress-up kit. 

For 1968 (actually introduced at the end of 1967), the Dart received a new GTS (GT + 383 V8 = GTS) trim level to go along with the GT. It featured even more heavy duty suspension improvements, reduced curb weight, floor-mounted Hurst shifted four-speed, racing stripes, and a bulged (“power bulge”) and vented hood. The 1969 Dart received a new grille and new window moldings, but otherwise looked basically the same as the year prior. 

However, the 1969 Dart also got a few new memorable trim levels, the Swinger and Custom. The Swinger was a sports performance “economy” car, and the Swinger 340 was the highest performance version with the 340 engine and Rallye suspension. The Custom was the new intermediate level trim, basically replacing the 270 from the year prior. GTS models had a Bumblebee stripe across the trunk lid and on the sides. 

1967–1969 Dodge Dart Engine Technical Specifications

Model YearsEngineHorsepowerTorque
1967-1969170 cid I6115 horsepower155 lb-ft
1967-1969225 cid I6 (1bbl)145 horsepower215 lb-ft
1967273 cid V8 (2bbl)180 horsepower260 lb-ft
1967273 cid V8 (4bbl)235 horsepower280 lb-ft
1967383 cid V8 (4bbl)280 horsepower400 lb-ft
1968-1969273 cid V8 (2bbl)190 horsepower260 lb-ft
1968-1969318 cid V8 (2bbl)230 horsepower340 lb-ft
1968-1969340 cid V8 (4bbl) (Scat Pack)275 horsepower340 lb-ft
1968-1969383 cid V8 (4bbl)300 horsepower400 lb-ft
1968426 cid V8 (2x4bbl) (HEMI)425 horsepower490 lb-ft
1968-1969440 cid V8 (4bbl)375 horsepower490 lb-ft
1969383 cid V8 (4bbl)330 horsepower410 lb-ft

1967–1969 Dart Engines and Performance

Dodge carried over the same “Commando” 273 V8 from the prior generation for the 1967 Dart, but also brought back the 383 cid V8 again making 280 horsepower. Only 458 versions of the 383 equipped Dart GTS were made, but they are very collectible today. However, really exciting things were brewing, and the next year Dodge would unleash a plethora of outstanding engines inside the Dart. For many, the 1968 Dodge Dart was the best, due to its iconic styling and incredible lineup of optional engines, ranging up to 440 cid in displacement. 

Besides the six-cylinders and the carry-over 273 “Commando” V8, the least powerful option was the 318 V8 making 230 horsepower with a Stromberg WW3-258 double-barrel carburetor. The next step up horsepower-wise was the 340 “Scat Pack” V8. The “Scat Pack” 340 made 275 horsepower and 300 lb-ft of torque with dual exhausts and premium fuel. It was only available in the Dart GTS (which now meant GTSport), and was the top of the line production engine. It actually out performed the 383 due to its lighter weight and rumored 300+ horsepower rating. 

The Big-Block Options

The big-block 383 V8 pushed out 300 horsepower, but was actually not as fast as the 340 due to its much heavier weight, which hurt performance a bit. Yet, the 383 still paled to both the 426 HEMI and 440 “Magnum” V8s that were limited options. Only 80 of the 426 HEMI Darts were made, and they produced 425 horsepower through dual quad-barrel carburetors. These were drag racers pure and simple and had no warranty. They had a fiberglass hood with a functional scoop and hood pins, lightweight doors and thin window glass, and a somewhat stripped interior. 

From 1968–1969, Dodge also equipped a very limited number of Dart GTS with the huge 440 “Magnum” V8 engine making 375 horsepower. Norman Kraus, a Chicago Dodge dealer, created the first version in 1968, which Mopar made in limited numbers over the next two years. It had stripped options and only used the three-speed 727 TorqueFlite automatic transmission. It ran the ¼ mile in the mid-13s, but could run 12s when slightly modified. 

1967–1969 Dart Production Numbers

Model YearBodystyleProduction Total
Dart 27063,200
Dart GT38,200
1967 Total154,500
Dart 27076,500
Dart GT35,000
1968 Total171,800
Dart Swinger20,000
Dart Custom63,700
Dart GT20,900
Dart GTS6,700
1969 Total197,700

1970–1976 Dodge Dart

1970 Dodge Dart Swinger (Credit: Sicnag/Wikimedia)

The final generation of the Dodge Dart lasted from 1970–1976. Dodge slightly restyled the front and rear ends for 1970, giving them a more aggressive rake, sloped grille, sloped back, and a bumper that had the tail lights inserted. The GT/GTS was no longer a stand alone trim but was only available as an option for the Custom hardtops. 1971 saw the introduction of the Dart Demon series, which was based on the Plymouth Duster A-body. 

Contrary to popular belief, the Demon was actually the base package for the Dart. It came standard with the six-cylinder 198 cid engine, but the Demon 340 had the top of the line 340 V8. There was also the Demon “Sizzler,” which included hood stripes, rallye wheels, racing mirrors, and a special steering wheel. 

Dodge made few changes for 1972, but the 1973 Darts got a restyled front-end and grille which bulged forward. The Dart Demon became the Dart Sport, and the Dart Sport 340 was still the performance version, with the Swinger and Custom continuing as the intermediate and top trim options. 

In 1974, Dodge again switched things up, this time replacing the Dodge Sport 340 with the Dodge Sport 360, which reflected the bigger displacement engine. There was also the new Special Edition Dart, which was basically a luxury version of the Custom. For 1976, the Special Edition moved to the Swinger. 

Even though sales were strong during most of the 1970s, Dodge discontinued the Dart after 1976 in favor of the Dodge Aspen. Sales had dropped drastically that year, and there was not as much enthusiasm for the Dart as years past. There was a brief resuscitation in 2013–2016, but the name has been dormant since. 

1970–1976 Dodge Dart Engine Technical Specification

Model YearsEngineHorsepowerTorque
1970-1971198 cid I6 (1bbl)125 horsepower180 lb-ft
1970-1971225 cid I6 (1bbl)145 horsepower215 lb-ft
1970-1971318 cid V8 (2bbl)230 horsepower320 lb-ft
1970-1971340 cid V8 (4bbl)275 horsepower340 lb-ft
1972198 cid I6 (1bbl)100 horsepower160 lb-ft
1972225 cid I6 (1bbl)110 horsepower185 lb-ft
1972-1974318 cid V8 (2bbl)150 horsepower260 lb-ft
1972-1973340 cid V8 (4bbl)240 horsepower290 lb-ft
1973-1974198 cid I6 (1bbl)95 horsepower150 lb-ft
1973-1974225 cid I6 (1bbl)105 horsepower185 lb-ft
1974360 cid V8 (4bbl)245 horsepower320 lb-ft
1975225 cid I6 (1bbl)90 horsepower165 lb-ft
1975318 cid V8 (2bbl)140 horsepower250 lb-ft
1975360 cid V8 (4bbl)230 horsepower300 lb-ft
1976225 cid I6 (1bbl)100 horsepower170 lb-ft
1976318 cid V8 (2bbl)145 horsepower250 lb-ft
1976360 cid V8 (4bbl)220 horsepower280 lb-ft

1970–1976 Dart Engines and Performance

Through the 1973 model year, Dodge kept the same lineup of engines in the Dart. However, from 1972-on they had to start listing horsepower ratings in terms of SAE Net instead of SAE Gross, which dropped numbers big-time. In addition, more restrictive emissions caused drops in compression ratios, which necessitated detuning and also hurt performance. This gutted the 318 from 230 Gross horsepower to 150 Net horsepower, and dropped the 340 down from 275 Gross horsepower to 240 Net horsepower. 

In 1974, Dodge brought out the 360 cid V8 as the replacement for the 340. This was the E-code version which used dual exhausts, a four-barrel carburetor, and 340 heads, which produced 245 horsepower. This was from the same LA series as the 273, 318, and 340 V8 predecessors. Power dropped in the 360 V8 to 220 horsepower by 1976, the final year of the Dart. It’s unfortunate the Dart did not have a proper send-off with a powerful big-block, and things only seemed to have gotten worse from 1971-on. 

1970–1976 Dart Production Numbers

Model YearBodystyleProduction Total
Demon 34010,098
Dart Four-Door32,711
Dart Two-Door13,485
Dart Swinger102,480
Dart Custom21,785
1971 Total250,420
Demon 3408,700
Dart Four-Door26,019
Dart Two-Door19,210
Dart Swinger119,618
Dart Custom49,941
1972 Total263,368
1973Dart Sport68,113
Dart Sport 34011,315
Dart Four-Door21,539
Dart Two-Door17,480
Dart Swinger107,619
Dart Custom62,626
1973 Total288,692
1974Dart Sport63,518
Dodge Swinger89,242
Dodge Custom78,216
Special Edition12,385
1974 Total243,361
1975Dodge Dart164,434
1976Dodge Dart27,849
Dart Sport13,642
Dart Swinger8,937
Dart Swinger Special3,036
1976 Total53,464

Dodge Dart FAQ

What is the best year Dodge Dart?

For many, the 1968 Dodge Dart was the best year, due to its iconic styling and incredible lineup of optional engines, ranging up to 440 cid in displacement. The best versions had the 340 Scat Pack, 426 HEMI, or 440 Magnum V8 engines.

How long was the Dodge Dart in production?

Dodge made the Dart from 1960–1976, producing more than two million versions.

Was the Dodge Dart a muscle car?

The Dodge Dart bordered on being a muscle car, especially when equipped with the big block 383, 413, 426, and 440 V8 engines. However, it was mainly a high performance sports car that doubled as a muscle car.

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