troducing a 40-mpg (EPA unadjusted combined) compact by 2012. The rumor was that Dodge would use the name Hornet, from its 2006 Geneva show concept. Hudson first used the Hornet name in the 1950s. AMC revived the name for the 1970 model compact that replaced the American, and of course, Chrysler bought AMC in 1987. The name Dodge chose for its compact, Dart, has a much richer history with the automaker than Hornet. Chrysler dealerships were heavily dualled through the ’50s. Beside Chrysler-Plymouth, there was DeSoto-Dodge and even Dodge-Plymouth.
Chrysler Corporation decoupled its Dodge-Plymouth dealerships into the 1960 model year, which also was the penultimate year for DeSoto. Here’s how it has used the Dart name, so far. What’s in a name? the dodge dart through the years1960: Dodge gets a new low-priced, full-size series to replace Plymouths. Based on the Plymouth floorpan, at 210. 5 inches overall (216. 5 inches, wagon) on a 118. 0-inch wheelbase, it’s smaller than the Polara and Matador, but larger than the new, compact Lancer (188. 8 inches on a 106. 5-inch wheelbase).
Engine options are 318 and 361-cu-in V-8s and the famed 30-degree, 225-cu-in slant six. 1962: Dodge and Plymouth downsize their full-size lines. Chrysler blames Virgil Exner for the way these cars turned out, and uses it as an excuse to fire its design chief. The ’62 Dart is 202. 0 inches long on a 116. 0-inch wheelbase. 1963: Dart name is applied to the second-generation Lancer, available with 170- or 225-cubic-inch slant six engines. Part way through the ’64 model year, the Dart GT coupe/convertible is added, featuring a 273-cubic-inch V-8. 965: Dart Charger presages the upcoming ’66 Charger, originally intended to be Dodge’s turbine-powered production car.
The Dart comes with the 273-cubic-inch, four-barrel Charger V-8 and only in light yellow with a black convertible top or optional black half-vinyl top. 1966: Bob Tullius campaigns a ’66 Dart V-8 Group 44 in early Trans-Am races. 1967: All-new model available with 170- and 225-cubic-inch slant sixes, 273- and 318-cubic-inch V-8s. GTS model launches late in the year with 340- and 383-cubic-inch V-8s. 970: GTS and 383 V-8 options are dropped as the Dart gets a face-lift. All coupes are called Dart Swingers, and the 340-cube V-8 is the biggest option. A 198-cu in slant six, which is the 225 with a shorter stroke, supplants the 170. 1971-’72: Dart Demon two-door is Dodge’s version of the Plymouth Duster. 1973: Dart Sport adds coupe body style to the four-door sedan and two-door hardtop lineup. 1976: The last Dodge Dart is sold, after a one-year overlap with the Aspen.