Sunday, October 19, 2014

Berkeley Street Sighting - 1965 Dodge Dart GT

I've said here before that the Dodge Dart and Plymouth Valiant twins are small potatoes in the classic car world. They're Chrysler's Ford Falcon and Chevy Nova, grocery getters for the masses in their day that mostly came with conventional styling and engineering, and small-displacement engines tuned for fuel economy. Thousands are on the roads today, often the ride of choice for drivers who want a touch of vintage style but a useful back seat, useful trunk and an old car they can actually drive every day. They came with some of the most bulletproof powertrains in the business, like the 225 slant six and Torqueflite three-speed automatic transmission. As long as the body and chassis don't rust out and no one blows up the engine, these cars pretty much just keep going.

This Dart is a 1965 GT coupe, the top-spec model available that year. GTs were equipped with bucket seats and nicer interior details than other Darts. They were offered with the 273 cubic inch Commando V8 in two- or four-barrel carburetor form, the latter good for up to 235 horsepower. If you wanted, you could also get it with a slant six, but what was the fun in that? The '65 Dart GT carried a surprising amount of chrome and stainless ornamentation, including three rhomboid (look it up, kids!) decorative portholes on the front fenders and doors and a forward-raked bright strip that followed the quarter window up the C-pillar and over the roof. This one has a roof rack, a feature I don't think I've ever seen on a car like this before. The two-tone flat black with red color scheme is obviously not factory. There is some shade of tan visible where a chunk of the paint has come off on the hood, though exactly which one it is is unclear. Two golds, two tans and a Beige were offered that year.

This car originally was a consolation prize of sorts. I made a special trip to a hole in the wall Italian car repair shop called Eddins Moto in Berkeley, and it was too late in the day for any customer cars to be loitering on the street. Proprietor Jaan Hjorth had some interesting vehicles on the property but none that would be eligible for the blog. Only this Dart, parked a couple blocks away, was something I could feature in the vicinity of the shop that day. Some cars I encounter are so rare that I'll stop immediately and go full shutterbug on them. With Darts and Valiants, they're common enough that I shoot them on a car-by-car basis. This one was unique enough that it happened to catch my attention. And it gave me an opportunity to use the word "rhomboid" in a sentence for the first time.

1 comment:

  1. YEEEEH JAY! Finally got a right side profile shot of the car in your photo shoot. :)) I love these little Dodge Darts, they are cool customs waiting to happen.