Home Classic Cars Pick of the Day: 1961 Dodge Dart Phoenix

Pick of the Day: 1961 Dodge Dart Phoenix

Pick of the Day: 1961 Dodge Dart Phoenix


When Chrysler introduced the newly engineered Dodge in 1960, there were two series: junior Dart (with Seneca, Pioneer, and Phoenix models) and the senior Matador and Polara. The Dart was a sales success, stealing thunder from Plymouth’s traditional role as part of the “Low-Priced Three.” However, the facelifted 1961s were curiously designed, and sales suffered as a result. One of those kitschy Dodges is our Pick of the Day: a 1961 Dodge Dart Phoenix two-door hardtop listed for sale on ClassicCars.com by a private seller in Terre Haute, Indiana. (Click the link to view the listing)

Under the skin, there were some great features with the 1960 Dodge, including Unibody construction, the introduction of the Slant Six, alternator replacing the generator, and D-500 Ram Induction 361 and 383 V8s. However, something happened along the way to 1961 as both junior and senior Dodges received a heavy facelift that could be characterized as “unfortunate.” A sad mouth grille and unusual reverse-slant fins did the Dodge no favors (and, over at Plymouth, things weren’t much better).

The Dart was carried over, continuing with three trim levels, but only the Polara remained in the senior series for 1961. The latter featured taillights sprouting from the rear fenders, while the Dart featured slim wrap-around units above the bumper that were so subtle that Dodge introduced clumsy accessory taillights in the middle of the model year to give more visibility from behind.

The early 1960s would continue to be a difficult time for Dodge, but it’s cars like this 78.3657-mile 1961 Dart Phoenix two-door hardtop that allow us to appreciate the 1960s interpretation of 1950s kitsch that the Chrysler Corporation seemed to promote. The seller doesn’t include much information, only saying it’s in “very good condition” and “all original — guaranteed to take you back in time.”

Since it’s claimed this Dart has a two-speed pushbutton automatic, it’s probably safe to say it is powered by a 230-horsepower 318 two-barrel. No big whoop, but the black paint with red interior (note the front seat with variable seatbacks), funky instrument panel and steering wheel, and dashboard-mounted rear mirror hit all the right notes. For $45,000, you could find a car that everyone owns, or you could have this. Ready to be outed as an extrovert?

To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day.



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