Junkyard Find: 1966 Dodge Dart
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.
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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.
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