It's surprising, but the compact "pet" of the Dodge Division car family is going into its 11th model year. Yet, Dart for 1973 again is a refreshing, 'just right' car for so many different kinds of people.
"One out of every five compact car owners buys a Dart," said Richard D. McLaughlin, Dodge general sales manager, in reference to U.S. domestic compact sales for four of the past five years.
"Dart is designed to gain even wider favor with engineering improvements and the introduction of a new Sport series this year," he said.
"Over 1 1/2 million Darts have been built and sold since the model was introduced in 1962.
"The car's broad appeal is explained by its economy of price and operation as a compact, its dependability as reflected in continued strong sales -- a 60 percent increase over the past five years to nearly a quarter-million sold in calendar year 1971 -- and interior roominess, and exterior dimensions that allow easy handling. Dart has that combination of characteristics which makes it a classic model in the sense that it is always in style."
The economy Dart and the high-line Dart Custom are again being offered to cover the needs of four-door sedan buyers who like the six-passenger roominess that compares with many intermediate-size cars.
The Swinger and Swinger Special are available for those who favor the dressier appearance of a two-door hardtop.
Though similar to a "hatch back" in providing stowage room through the rear into the passenger compartment, the package with seat and trunk panel up retains the security aspect of a conventional trunk for keeping packages out of sight.
The Sport also has a factory installed, manually operated sunroof option, which replaces the vinyl sunroof.
Equipped with both the sunroof and fold down seat package, the Sport is better identified as the "Convertriple" because it offers "the open air appeal of a convertible, the rear stowage aspect of an economy station wagon, or normal use as a five-passenger coupe," said McLaughlin.
Two other intriguing features are offered on the Sport models -- an electrically-heated back light defroster system, and an "Up and Over" tape stripe, in black or white, which sweeps back, up and around the rear side glass, adding to the car's sporty, youthful appeal. The stripe is available with a canopy vinyl roof.
In addition to the new Sport models, Dart for 1973 has numerous other changes: a new front end design including grille and hood on all models, a new bumper guard system, standard front disc brakes on eight cylinder models, a new front suspension system, a higher capacity heater and improved air conditioning with reheat feature, new sound insulation features, new tire options, new seat options on selected models, and many improvements from new windshield wiper blades and new engine mounts to new exterior paints and interior trim.
Widths range from 69.6 inches in the hardtop to 71.8 inches in the coupe. All models are between 52.8 to 54.1 inches high. Shoulder room is approximately 55 inches and hip room approximately 57 inches.
The Darts have a wider (59.1 inch) front track--the space between the centerline of the front wheels--to accommodate the new disc brakes offered as standard equipment on 8-cylinder models. The wider track also enhances ride qualities. Rear track width is 55.6 inches.
The turning radius has been increased slightly--to a minimum of 38.25" (curb to curb) on sedans and hardtops and 37.35" on coupes.
The basic powerplant is a 198 cubic-inch six-cylinder engine. The 225 cubic-inch six is optional. The standard V-8 is the durable 318 cubic-inch engine, which is a very popular engine with Dart buyers as reflected in the 31 percent installation rate. The 340 cubic-inch V-8 is available only in the Sport 340 model.
All engines have the latest Chrysler Corporation Cleaner Air System refinements to meet federal emissions standards, including induction-hardened valve seats which allow operation on 91 octane unleaded or low lead content gasolines, an exhaust gas recirculation system and an Orifice Spark Advance Control for controlling oxides of nitrogen (NOx) emissions, and an electric assist choke. Engines on California models are equipped specially to meet state emissions control requirements.
A rallye suspension, which features heavy duty shock absorbers front and rear, front sway bar, heavy duty springs, and heavy duty torsion bars, is standard with the Sport 340 engine.
Some of the same equipment is available in the special Dart trailer towing package.
Because of the variety of engine capabilities, there is a selection of three axle ratios--2.76, 3.23, and 3.55 to 1. Four transmissions are available: a three-speed, steering column-mounted manual transmission; the TorqueFlite automatic; and the three-speed, all synchromesh, floor-mounted transmission (in Sport models only), and a four-speed manual (Sport 340 only).
Net horsepower and torque ratings:
|Engine||Comp. Ratio||Net Horsepower||Torque|
|198 CID 6-cylinder||
95 @ 4000
155 @ 1600
|225 CID 6-cylinder||
105 @ 4000
185 @ 1600
|318 CID V-8||
150 @ 3600
265 @ 1600
|340 CID V-8||
240 @ 4800
295 @ 3600
Other engine related improvements include a new design, spool-type engine mount which provides more control over engine movement than the sandwich type mount used previously. It limits the fore and aft motion of the engine during low speed impacts to prevent damage to the cooling system. Engine roll also is limited to a maximum of 3.0 degrees.
Improved performance of the drum brake system on six-cylinder models has been achieved through use of a 1/16-inch larger diameter wheel cylinder in the front brakes. This increases output of the front brakes, making higher deceleration rates possible.
Chassis modifications on all models include larger bushings on the lower control arm struts, larger front "eye" bushings on rear springs, and shock absorbers with a modified valve design. Two-door body modifications include new roof rail and door weather strip.
A sound insulation package, part of the extra cost automatic transmission package on Swinger and Dart Custom, includes full floor coverage of mastic and foam, steering column support plate silencer, C-pillar sound barrier, double-wrapped exhaust pipe, improved muffler, tail pipe resonator, double strap front exhaust support, and a power plant bending damper on 318 CID engines with automatic transmissions. The six-cylinder engine also has a tail pipe resonator.
Ventless glass is being used on Dart hardtops for the first time. This offers improved visibility and less chance of air and water leaks.
All models are equipped with higher capacity heaters. These heaters have an improved instrument panel control, which permits the operator to more precisely control the temperature.
The air conditioning system is improved with a reheat feature to allow the operator more precise control of the outlet air temperature. It also provides warm de-humidified air for de-fogging purposes.
New windshield wiper blades minimize smear and streaking.
Chrysler Corporation's electronic ignition system is standard equipment on all Dart models regardless of engine. This system eliminates the need for breaker points, a common cause for increased emissions due to engine misfiring. And, excluding spark plugs, it is essentially maintenance free in normal use.
Torqueflite transmissions used on 198, 225, and 318 CID engines have an improved vent design to reduce the possibility of fluid loss during fast braking from high speed. All TorqueFlites also have a new transmission fluid filter with 50 percent filtering increase to improve the life of both fluid and transmission.
The front sway bar in the heavy duty suspension package will pass through the suspension crossmember rather than project in front of the crossmember as previously done.
Darts equipped with disc brakes have wheels with a bolt circle diameter of 4 1/2 inches compared to four inches as used previously.
The steering system also has been redesigned to utilize several steering components such as the pitman arm, sector-shaft, and the steering gear itself, as used in the Dodge Challenger.
A D78-14 two-ply polyester tire in black and also white sidewalls is available on Dart as an option. It offers more load capacity than the standard 6.95 x 14 two-ply polyester tire, without the additional expense of a belted tire.
New, attractive bucket seats of full foam construction are an option on all coupes. A lever type seat back release replaces the previous pushbutton system.
High-line models also will offer a new fully-coordinated parchment interior trim to go with the complete range of choices.
While exterior paint popularity has continued to run in greens, golds and blues, new shades of bronze, silver and light green are available in 1973.
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