By 1961, in the fight for small car sales, Detroit was all in. Lancer, a new Dodge entry for 1961 was based heavily on the year-old Valiant. And in a showroom shuffle, the Valiant, previously retailed by all Plymouth, Dodge and Chrysler dealers, was officially badged a Plymouth.
The 1961 Lancer substituted Valiant's Mercedes-like grille for a more conventional, full-width design that bore resemblance to the 1960 Pontiac. Body styles included a four-door sedan, two-door sedan, two-door hardtop, and four-door station wagon. A 170 cubic-inch Slant Six engine, rated at 101 horsepower, was standard and a 145 horsepower, 225 cubic-inch version was available. Transmission choices included a 3-speed manual, or a 3-speed automatic 'Torque-Flite' with pushbutton controls.
For 1962, the Lancer added a sporty 'GT' two-door hardtop model. With pleated all-vinyl bucket seats, padded dash, an optional two-tone exterior paint treatment and full wheel covers, the GT was an immediate success. Other revisions for 1962 included an updated grille texture and new color palette.
This Lancer GT was purchased in 2010 from the original owner's estate.
Before the creation of the Daimler Chrysler in 1998, the Dodge Lancer was the model for the Dodge division and used to denote models three times in its history.
Designating both two and four door pillarless hardtop models in the Coronet, Royal and Custom Royal lines, the Lancer name was used by Dodge from 1955 to 1959.
A two door hardtop version of the mid-level models designed by Dodge in 1955, the Lancer ran in the production line until 1960.
On V8 powered models, a V8 emblem was customized to the side, just below the V in the side trim.
The Lancer name was passed on to a clone on the compact model Valiant which was met with huge success during the 1961 year. Given round taillights with full width grilles, Lancers used a Slant-6 engine.
South Africa introduced a right hand drive version of the Lancer that was sold from 1961 to 1963 though renamed as the DeSota Rebel. Equipped with the same 170 in³ Slant 6 engine, most came with the 3-speed manual transmission. In accordance to South Africican vehicle equipment ruglation, white reflectors were mounted to the front bumper.
Though not meeting sales expectations, possibley due to total resign of Dodge's compact car line, the Lancer was discontinued in 1963.
Re-introduced in 1985, a mid-sized 5-door hatchback version cloned from Chrysler LeBaronGTS and based on the Chrysler H platform.
Replaced by the Spirit, production ended April 7, 1989.
All production and design work was done in Sterling Heights Michigan.By Jessica Donaldson