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The Carchive: 1962 Dodge

Last week, we all agreed that the 1966 Buick range was rather more interesting than its 51-year-on successor. This time, we’re heading back a little further, to see what Dodge had to offer us in 1962.

This brochure, presumably issued as a supplement to a magazine at the time, is among the most gratifyingly wordy of all those in The Carchive. It reads as a treatise of just what the “New lean breed of Dodge” was made of.

Click on the images to make them bigger and more legible

“You’re going to like what’s happened to Dodge”

In an interesting break from what would happen in the future, Dodge sought feedback from notable driving personalities of the time for this piece of publicity bumph. “Champion race drivers Rodger Ward and Buck Baker, ace dragsters Don Garlits and Jack Chrisman, top auto writers Bill Carroll, Max Muhleman and Bill Callahan, economy driver Woody Bell and sports car driver Walt Hangsen”.

A reasonable cross-section. Let’s see what they have to say.

“… I ran their cross-country test – up and down hills, sharp turns, blind turns, rough roads. The works! I got 19.9mpg. And for a full-size car that was  plenty good”

Woody “Leadfoot” Bell, there.

“Quite a bomb”

The words of Don Garlits, after testing the Dart 440 hardtop with its 361 cu.in V8, 3-speed auto and 3.23 rear axle. It put in a 15.4 second quarter mile, with 60 reached in 8.1 seconds. That strikes me as a pretty impressive set of statistics even today.

“Interesting type of acceleration”. The words of Bill Carroll.

“Extremely smooth, and though I could feel the transmission shift, there was no objectionable jerk as in the past from high performance transmissions. Pushed me back against the front seat…”

“We gave that Dart 440 a good pounding. The kind that would break up some cars. But this one was as quiet and smooth as when we first got our hands on it”

Rodger Ward, here.

“It’s a tight piece of machinery without a lot of softness or foolishness”.

Sometimes, you see, it’s best to keep the copywriters on a short leash.

(All images are of original manufacturer publicity materials, photographed by me. Copyright remains property of Chrysler Motors Corporation, or FCA now, should imagine. Strange times we live in)

 

  • longrooffan
  • The Dodges and Plymouths of ’62 looked so much different from their contemporaries that I consider them the “Neue Klasse” of American big iron. Then came the “fuselage” era. Back when car designs were fun.

  • Vairship

    Ah yes, Newberg’s disaster! https://ateupwithmotor.com/model-histories/chrysler-downsizing-disaster-1962/ Sold as “being lighter”, apparently. However, the buying public didn’t like it, and Virgil Exner paid the price.

    • outback_ute

      I wonder how much smaller they were inside?

      Of course the elephant in the room is the styling, which was an acquired taste at best.

    • This is precisely why I love old car brochures. They present with endless hope, optimism and chutzpah, and leave it for experience to determine what the true story is.

  • dukeisduke

    Chrysler downsized the Dodge and Plymouth cars for 1962 based on leaked information from GM, which turned out to be false. The information may have been intentionally leaked, to screw Chrysler.

  • I_Borgward

    Ugh. Out of all the ugly cars out there in the world, the ’62 Dart takes the cake in my book. This is coming from someone who has a soft spot for oddly-styled vehicles. One of the few cars that looks just as bad as a beater as it did new. Everything about this car is ill-proportioned and ungainly. Give me a Pacer, a Subaru 360 or even (gack) a Fairmont, but for dog’s sake, keep the ’62 Dart.

  • StephaneDumas

    Slightly off-topic but when I saw the new 2018 Honda Accord who seem to be a reincarnation of the Crosstour, there’s sometimes I wonder if it’s Honda’s interpretation of the “plucked chicken” Dodge & Plymouth to do their own plucked chicken? 😉