Junkyard Find: 1966 Dodge Dart

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin

After seeing this 1968 Plymouth Valiant a couple of months back, I kept my eyes open for an example of the Valiant’s Dodge sibling languishing in one of Denver’s self-serve wrecking yards. Last week: pay dirt!

I think the Dart became a better-looking car for the 1967 model year, shedding most of the late-50s/early-60s styling influence still visible in the ’66, but the basic formula was the same: an affordable compact car that was more reliable than just about all of its competition.

Here’s the main reason that Darts and Valiants lasted so long. Even buyers that opted for the more powerful 273-cubic-inch V8 got an engine that was impressively hard to kill (I’m 99% certain that the great big “Poly 318” engine wasn’t an option in the cramped engine compartments of ’66 A-Body Chryslers, but you Mopar zealots out there are encouraged to fill in the obsessive details of that story).

So, another old Dart gets used up and crushed. Plenty of them are still around, but most are two-doors with V8s these days.

Murilee Martin
Murilee Martin

Murilee Martin is the pen name of Phil Greden, a writer who has lived in Minnesota, California, Georgia and (now) Colorado. He has toiled at copywriting, technical writing, junkmail writing, fiction writing and now automotive writing. He has owned many terrible vehicles and some good ones. He spends a great deal of time in self-service junkyards. These days, he writes for publications including Autoweek, Autoblog, Hagerty, The Truth About Cars and Capital One.

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  • Andy D Andy D on Jul 07, 2012

    I drove a '66 Valiant 200 until 1990. I also had a 50$ '74 Dart coupe for a couple of yrs. My 528e is the closest I have found to the 66 Valiant sedan.

  • Penman Penman on Aug 15, 2013

    I had a 66 GT with rally steering (power steering without the pump) really built up your arms. Had 225000 miles before trading it for "more" reliable Pinto, did not get 100000 before it rusted and fell part. Wished I still had the GT

  • Tsarcasm No, Japan only. Life costs by Rank:#1 - House (150k+)#2 - Education (30k+)#3 - Automobile (30k+) why waste hard earned money in inferior crap => Korean, Chinese, and American cars are trash. a toyota or honda will last twice as long.
  • Tassos In the 90s we hired a former PhD student and friend of mine, who 'worked' at GM labs, to come work for us as a 'temp' lecturer and get paid extra. He never had a problem with GM, came during the day (around 2 PM), two hours drive round trip, plus the 1.5 hour lecture, twice weekly. He told me they gave him a different model new car every month, everything (even gas) paid. Instead of him paying parking, I told him to give me the cars and I drove them for those 90 mins, did my shopping etc. Almost ALL sucked, except the Eldo coupe with the Northstar. That was a nice engine with plenty of power (by 90s standards). One time they gave him the accursed Caddy Catera, which was as fun driving as having sex with a fish, AND to make it worse, the driver's door handle broke and my friend told me GM had to pay an arm and a leg to fix it, needed to replace almost the whole damned door!
  • 3-On-The-Tree I only buy Toyota cars. But if the Chinese cars are cheap people will buy them. They don’t care about the above issues that were stated in this forum.
  • Tassos Ford models are like dumb Hollywood movies. The original is far better than their god damned sequels. This was true of the Mustang vs the II, AND the Capri vs its second gen, and their BEV PORKER atrocities many decades later
  • Jeff I would not buy a Chinese car with the current global situation with Taiwan and Ukraine but I believe eventually China will become the number 1 producer of vehicles globally. Lou brought up a valid point that much of the content of new vehicles has components made in China. Even many of the tires that are sold are made in China. Try buying a small appliance or electronics that are not made in China. Many of the electric motors that go in power reclining furniture are made in China. Many auto parts especially replacement parts are made in China.