Junkyard Find: 1963 Dodge Dart

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1963 dodge dart

For the entire time I’ve been on this planet, Chrysler A-bodies have been a constant presence in American wrecking yards, and they’re still quite easy to find today, 33 years after the last Valiant Charger rolled off the assembly line in Australia. I don’t photograph every Dart and Valiant that I see in junkyards, but this series has included this ’61 Valiant, this ’64 Valiant wagon, this ’67 Valiant, this ’66 Dart, this ’68 Valiant Signet, this ’73 Valiant, this ’75 Duster, and this ’75 Dart, and today we’ll admire a non-rusty California Dart two-door that I saw back in December.

The last official year of CONELRAD was 1963, and here we can see the official CONELRAD frequencies of 640 and 1240 kHz marked on this Dart’s fancy factory radio. How much was the optional AM radio in your new ’63 Dart? $169, which comes to $1,296 in inflation-adjusted dollars. Not only that, but you’d be hearing pretty much nothing but terrible hit singles and ugly news stories on that shockingly expensive staticblaster, back in ’63. Think about that the next time you’re enjoying your $300 Bluetooth-enabled aftermarket car stereo.

This car has the look of one that sat exposed to the elements for a decade or two. The biohazardous trunk contents include some icky-looking time-capsule stuff.

The car was running as recently as 1987, when a student commuted in it to the stoniest junior college in California.

If the car had a hood (or at least an air cleaner) during its long-term abandonment, the engine innards might have stayed dry enough to remain unseized. Not that anyone is going to bother with rescuing a tired 170.

Being a two-door gave this car a slight chance of being saved by an auction buyer and restored, but the late-60s Darts tend to be more highly prized. Some of its parts should live on in other A-bodies, though.

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  • Doug-g Doug-g on Apr 14, 2014

    I loved the skating shoe picture and it worked (or so I thought) great for a thread going on with my FB friends. I copied and pasted it. This is how damned involved something simple can become. It went to PMs: [me] 5:23pm Thanks, I have S.O.B. on VHS. Now I have to drag out the VCR, hook it up and watch that movie to see that house... LOL! [redacted] 5:24pm its also in a 1978 edition of architectural digest, lol. i have the floor plans from the edwards reno, but theyre probably indecipherable to anyone esle. it was debbie reynolds house for a very long time...and one of my favorites in BH. [me] 5:27pm I LOVE that movie. The dialog was a bit contrived, but I still use some of it. "If you want to highlight the sins of prostitution corrupt a virgin, not a whore". [redacted] 5:29pm my dad used to work with blake before moving over to norman lear. i havent seen SOB since it opened...i didnt 'get' a lot of it. 5:34pm [me] I have always loved that film. Sort of real life in a way for Edwards. Oh, see you liked your "prize". I found those on one of my car blogs today and was going to put them in Alison's thread about finding her skating shoes. Then, as often happens, they inspired another piece of business. [redacted] 5:35pm good, cause she would not have 'got' it, lol. she's a little "linear" cause her heads going in so many directions, these days. [me] 5:38pm LOL. I sometimes wonder if Alison gets my humor at times, I hope she realizes that I am often kidding about things. Seriously, what a gem she is, her folks hit a home run with her. [redacted] 5:41pm i dont think she has a frame of reference for you, so it may not compute. she tends to link with people who live or lived in the LA she understands. then again, i'm always surprised when she doesnt know certain things we take as givens, such as "Shampoo" being set on election eve 1968. she tought it was just 1975 with a 60s look. dont give it too much thought. ok, its clearly nap time for me -- i'm rambling.

  • Mechimike Mechimike on Apr 15, 2014

    I love that the pushbuttons Chrysler used for the radio presets were the same ones they used on the automatic transmission (for those cars so equipped- I realize this car's a manual).

  • Tassos Honda is bleeding billions in order to keep this loser Acura alive.In the REST of the world, Identical vehicles to Acuras are just called HONDAS. Best example, the NSX! It was NEVER called an "acura" outside the US.
  • Cprescott Very expensive all terrain golf cart.
  • 56m65711446 ALL AEB systems should be tested using a SES executive from DoT as the test dummy.
  • TheMrFreeze Wife and I bought just bought new (to us) daily drivers...both have manual transmissions and neither has any kind of "new" safety nanny technology in it. By choice. That's how we roll.
  • IanGTCS Where I live safety inspections are only required when transferring ownership except between spouses. The ministry or police can in theory pull unsafe vehicles off the road but I haven't heard of that happening. Commercial vehicles over a certain weight required annual inspections and I've seen unsafe ones removed from the road a few times. I'm honestly fine with no regular inspections. A ball joint or bearing can go from fine to goodbye wheel in less time than a year anyways. Can't say I see too many total wrecks driving around so it would be kind of pointless.