The Dodge Dart is a tricky one classic American car to look back at as the size and shape varies significantly by specific model year. It started in 1960 as a full-sized sedan before changing to a mid-sized multi-body for the 1962 model year, and by the time 1963 arrived, Cleverness had already redesigned it as a smaller compact. That’s three different generations in three years.
Despite Dodge’s initial indecisiveness, the Dart would remain as a compact for the remainder of its thirteen-year run, and the 1964 Dodge Dart GT, which would make the most of the range, would receive a perky V8 to boost its potential over competitors such as the Ford Falcon, Mercury Comet. , and Chevy Nova.
Unlike other high-performance variants of classic American cars, the 1964 Dodge Dart GT was primarily a cosmetic upgrade with an upgraded interior, and the high-performance V8 was actually an additional cost option on top of the GT trim. Let’s break down the full details of the 1964 Dodge Dart GT.
The Dodge Dart GT could have three different engines
Two distinguishing factors separated the 1964 Dodge Dart GT from the rest of the range – consisting of the entry-level Dart 170 and the mid-range 270: first was the fact that it was only available as a two-door hardtop or convertible, and the other involved with the interior layout. In terms of engine choice, buyers could spec their Dart GT with one of three available engines, as long as they were willing to pay extra.
The entry-level engine came in the form of a 2.8-litre slant-six making 101 horsepower, and despite performing reasonably well once up to speed, the initial acceleration was definitely lacking, and Darts with this engine had more than Takes 20 seconds to shoot from 0-60 mph. Next in line was another Slant-Six, this time with a displacement of 3.7 liters and a total output of 145 hp. The $50 option reduced the 0-60 mph run time of the 1964 Dodge Dart GT to 15 seconds. Most desirable of all was the top-of-the-line small-block 4.5-liter V8, which became available as a $131 option midway through the 1964 model year. It made 180 horsepower along with 260 pound-feet of torque, and when paired with Chrysler’s optional three-speed TorqueFlite automatic transmission (as opposed to the standard three- or four-speed manual), the V8 RWD Dart GT could accelerate from 0-60 mph in just 10 seconds in true GT fashion.
The 1964 Dodge Dart GT is a perfectly rounded compact
Sales figures for the Dodge Dart reflected the vehicle’s instant success, and it not only outsold its rivals, it outsold itself with each passing year. After an extraordinarily healthy total of 154,000 units sold in 1963, the 1964 Dodge Dart pushed the bar even further after nearly 200,000 units sold—an achievement that owed at least some credit to the mid-year introduction of the new V8 , which accounted for approximately 13,000 units of the ’64 GTs.
While the increase in power was an obvious upgrade, the 1964 Dodge Dart GT was already a likeable compact before the release of the V8. Why? Well, it was simply one of the best handling vehicles available, thanks to its rear-wheel drive setup and balanced weight distribution. The Dart GT’s handling characteristics were also highly customizable straight from the factory, and owners could replace the standard heavy steering (5.5 turns lock-to-lock) with upgraded power steering for surprising responsiveness (3.5 lock-to-lock), and the GT’s chassis was more than happy to jump into corners. There was also an option to upgrade the standard 2.93 rear axle to a 3.25 or 3.55 rear axle, further improving performance. The 1964 Dodge Dart GT’s suspension came in the form of independent front wishbones with lateral torsion bars and direct acting tubular shocks, and a rear axle with 5-leaf springs and tubular shocks.
The ’64 Dodge Dart GT is beautiful inside and out
No one complained about the fact that the Dart GT is only available as a two-door with a hardtop or a convertible, because that was the sexiest body style anyway. At the front, the 1964 Dart had beautiful round headlamps encased in chrome surrounds encased in perfectly formed front quarter panels. They have a 3-piece chrome grill with ‘Dodge’ lettering above and a sleek but pronounced chrome bumper.
Along its flank, the Dart GT sported a beautiful body-colored hardtop roof or contrasting convertible roof, complemented by a tasteful chrome bodyline that extended from front to rear, as well as whitewall tires and a slightly overhanging rear fender. Finally, the 1964 Dodge Dart GT sported some beautiful round headlights with double chrome bezels from the back that met chrome-lined and winged rear quarter panels, and finished off with a chrome bumper and a chrome strip on the tailgate with the logo of Dodge.
Inside, the GT came with a front bucket seat configuration, with vinyl upholstery and a carpeted center console with a pistol-grip Mopar switch. The three-piece dash showcased metal and vinyl trim, along with multiple gauges and information displays. The door panels were heavily padded, as was the vinyl-trimmed rear seat.
All in all, the 1964 Dodge Dart GT is simply one of the best classic American compact cars ever made, striking a perfect balance between seductive handling, healthy cruising power and glamorous good looks.
Source: Hagerty, Hemmings