The Dodge Dart is a line of automobiles marketed by Dodge from the 1959 to 1976 model years in North America, with production extended to later years in various other markets.

The Dart name originally appeared on a 1956 Chrysler show car featuring a streamlined body designed by the Italian coachbuilder Carrozzeria Ghia that was later modified and renamed the Dart Diablo.

The production Dart was introduced as a lower-priced, full-size Dodge in 1960 and 1961, became a mid-size car for 1962, and then was a compact from 1963 to 1976.

The Dart nameplate was resurrected for a Fiat-derived compact car that was introduced in 2012.

Second generation (1962)

For 1962 the Seneca, Pioneer, and Phoenix trim levels were dropped; trim levels became Dart, Dart 330, and Dart 440. The Polara 500, offered in 2-door hardtop, 4-door hardtop, and convertible styles, was dimensionally identical but not officially a Dart by dint of its "Polara 500" badging. The Polara 500 was not built or sold in Canada, and the Dart models were the same as in the U.S. except that the base model was badged Dart 220.

The Dart and Polara were downsized as part of Chrysler's hasty effort to compete with what company leaders thought would be downsized large cars from Chevrolet.

However, they had overheard talk not of the big Chevrolets, but of the compact Chevy II Nova. This was a basic front-engine compact to compete more directly than the Corvair with the Ford Falcon, Rambler American, and Plymouth Valiant. Chevrolet's Impala and Ford's Galaxie both remained sized in accord with the prevailing norms of full-size cars.

The redesigned Dart was perceived more as an intermediate, like the Rambler Classic or the Ford Fairlane. When Dodge dealers voiced their displeasure at having no true full-size car to offer, Chrysler quickly created the Dodge Custom 880 in January 1962 by putting the 1961 Dodge Polara front end assembly on a version of the 1962 Chrysler Newport body.

The 1962 Dart, like the Plymouth, was on a new lightweight unibody "B" platform, featuring Chrysler's well-received "Torsion-Aire" torsion bar front suspension and asymmetric rear leaf springs. The rigidity gained through the nearly pure unibody platform combined with the suspension's low unsprung weight and near-ideal geometry provided sound handling, braking, and acceleration; the latter especially with the mid-year 415 hp (309 kW) "Ramcharger" 413 cu in (6.8 L) V8 which was aimed primarily at sanctioned drag racing, where it quickly broke performance records.

The Dart's new B-body chassis platform was quite long-lived; while 1962 was the only year for a B-body model named "Dart", the B platform remained in use with only very slight modification and a few new letter designations through to the 1981 R-body cars.

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